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Sleep plan for a 7 year old

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Sleep plan for a 7 year old

Postby jensfirst on Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:08 am

Back story - my just turned 7 year old has never been a great sleeper. Most nights of her life she has woken up screaming for me, and I've always gone to her, laid with her, and often gone back to sleep in her bed with her. Most nights she goes back to sleep but every so often she will be awake for an hour or longer as she tries to get back to sleep. I also lie with her at bedtime, which she demands. So we have some bad habits that are pretty engrained, but fast forward to now and I am beyond exhausted, as I never sleep uninterrupted, and spend at least half my night tossing and turning in her tiny bed.

Here is what we have tried:
She has a twilight turtle she can turn on by herself
She takes a small amount of melatonin before bed
We have tried reward charts
We have tried dad taking over beds - she is very stubborn and although she can deal with dad putting her to bed, she freaks (for hours) if it isn't me who comes to her in the middle of the night

What would you do? I am ready to change this as io am always tired and sick all the time. But honestly I am too tired to change something that is as much my bad habit as it is hers. At 2am if she is screaming for me, and I am tired, the easiest thing is to go to her bed. So I need a plan and I need help.

Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks!
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Re: Sleep plan for a 7 year old

Postby Sunnygirl on Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:46 pm

Take only 1 step at a time or you will be even more exhausted and give up.

Concentrate first on her learning to fall asleep on her own. Bedtime. Falling asleep on her own will actually aid in the second problem - going back to sleep at night.

As I heard somewhere once you are their crutch. For example, as adults, our pillow is our crutch. We can't go to sleep without it, and if we wake up in the middle of the night and someone has taken it away from us, we will find it very hard to fall back asleep wondering where it went.

I think if it were me, I'd start by getting her used to being on her own for longer and longer periods at bedtime before you come in. Making excuses like - just have to wash one dish, etc... When you do come in, don't be in her bed. Put a chair or a thick comforter on the floor if necessary for your comfort - and then eventually move it closer and closer to the doorway over a period of time.
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Re: Sleep plan for a 7 year old

Postby Blacken on Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:27 pm

I'm probably going to go against the grain here, but why not try the opposite? For the next three months, coddle her. When it's bedtime, get in your jammies at the same time as her, brush teeth together, and tell her you will rest with her until she falls asleep. Tell her you will then go to your bedroom for some grown up sleep (cause you snore, or hog the blankets!). Make it fun!
In the middle of the night, when she wakes, don't make a big deal of cuddling with her again. Just do it. Lay with her (maybe in a bigger bed if that's more comfy) and help her feel secure about it. It sounds like she may need some extra closeness, and anything you can do to help her feel secure would be good.

However, that being said, if that truly won't work for the dynamics of your family or personal interests, then do what the previous poster recommended. But stick with it for at least three months consistently, because it takes time to alter a schedule.

Good luck!
"Those who hear not the music, think the dancers mad." ~unknown
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