easy child#1 will NOT stay in his bed!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MoonDancer, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. MoonDancer

    MoonDancer New Member

    This is where I say that easy child#1 is "almost a difficult child"....

    easy child#1 will wake up sometime between 1AM - 3AM crying. We've been struggling with this issue since he was a baby. We had the baby monitor set up and husband would always answer his cries because I can't hear the monitor. I finally convinced husband to remove the baby monitors two years ago, because husband needed to get sleep! But that's when easy child#1 started just crawling into our bed in the middle of the night. Now that he's starting kindergarten tomorrow, it's absolutely annoying and is no longer cute.

    We've done everything we can think of from rewards to bribes. We even tried "the Nanny" method, where we would silently escort easy child#1 back to his bed each and everytime he got up until we would hope he'd finally learn. We gave up after spending 6 nights in a row fighting with him for two hours. He'd wind up SCREAMING, waking up the entire house and sending all the dogs howling. We'd try to console him, but he'd wind up just passing out from exhaustion of fighting us. He can be just as stubborn as we are, if not more!

    This has gotten dangerous for husband because he is a truck driver. Would you want a sleepy trucker driving a big *** truck on the same road as you? Now I'm afraid to go to sleep, because I want to intervene before easy child#1 gets into our room. I can't hear, so I have to stay up like a watchdog to catch him.

    husband & I have a bedtime routine that we do with all the kids. Showers, jammies, read a book, small talk, ILY's, hugs/kisses, fives, goodnight, sweetdreams, and we walk out. Just like the girls, easy child#1 goes to sleep almost right away.

    I've got thoughts on maybe a type of sleep disorder? He doesn't sleep walk. husband & I have asked all the "whys" and everytime it's a different story that seems like made up excuses. He doesn't seem to be scared of anything. He's not having nightmares or night terrors.

    He demands to have the nightlight, heaven forbid that it burns out in the middle of the night. He doesn't like the silence, so we got him a radio. At first we were able to just put it on the one hour timer, but then he'd wake up when the radio shut off. Now it's on all night. But he sleeps fine when he crawls into our pitch-black dark and silent room. He has a security blanket and a stuffed animal that he likes as well.

    I don't allow my kids to have caffiene, so I don't think it's that. I also don't allow junk foods in my house, so it isn't an issue with sugar hyperactivity (as my mom would say). I think scientists have busted that one anyway? easy child#1 eats good at supper time, so I've ruled out hunger.

    easy child#1 gets pretty cranky sometimes because of this sleep issue. I stopped the naps last year because then he would be up all night, even if it was just a 45 minute nap.

    If anyone has ANY ideas or suggestions on why this might be happening, or what I can do - please please respond. I'm so sleep deprived now that I've got zombie beat.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2008
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    What does easy child 1 say about it? Does he have any idea why he's doing this? Even if he can't articulate it precisely, what he does say may give you some insight.

    Does he get too cold? Too hot? Need to use the toilet? Maybe it's anxiety combined with being a light sleeper -- he wakes up and then gets too scared to go back to sleep?

    Have you tried any incentives for him to stay in his own bed? X number of nights in his own bed all night and he gets a prize?

    Some parents try to adapt to the behavior and just put a small sleeping mat at the foot or side of their bed so the child can come to their room without disturbing them. We've done this with easy child/difficult child 3 because of bedwetting issues, nightmare issues, or whatever reason she just can't go back to sleep in the middle of the night. Sometimes just knowing she had that option was enough for her.

    What does your pediatrician say?
  3. 4sumrzn

    4sumrzn New Member

    Well, we've been there and still there! difficult child will be 8 this year. We have tried everything there is......night after night.....no sleep after no sleep:faint:

    We have always agreed that the children will NOT sleep in our bed. The only time it has happened is if they are REALLY sick & they don't remember anyway. The only time difficult child has slept in her room is if she was in her crib as a baby (still slept very few hours) OR if my Mom is here & sleeps with her (2 times a year for a night). She will go to sleep on the kitchen floor (hasn't happened in awhile), on the couch (she prefers) or anywhere that we are! We gave up. Decided to pick our battles.....we are not going to win this one any time soon :( She does go to sleep rather quickly & we know she needs it. We will continue to give it a shot. Lack of sleep IS very important....especially with the job that your husband has!

    Now, she comes into our room every night....normally between 1-3. Sleeps on our floor.

    We've talked about knocking down the wall between our rooms.....double the size of our room !?!?

    I wish I had an easy answer for you, but I don't. We have struggled for years with it!
  4. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    OMG! I went nuts with this with difficult child 3! Turned out she had wicked anxiety due to the outbursts/tantrums/fits that difficult child 1 was having. I tried all of the stuff that you did and then some.

    I gave her a job.

    I picked her up a Cinderella alarm clock at Target ($5.00 - she was totally into the Disney Princesses - difficult time for me, I'm about as much a tomboy as they come!). I set the clock and the alarm and told her that it was HER job to get everyone up for school/work in the morning. When her alarm woke her up, she had to come straight in and wake me up with a kiss on my cheek and tell me it was time to get up and then we would have our own special "snuggling" time.

    "Now, if you're not in your bed to hear the alarm, EVERYONE will be late for work and school. Do you think you can handle this? It's a big job! and you can earn a dollar a week if you do a good job."

    Mooooohahaha! I had a solid nights sleep for about 6 weeks. Then some rocket scientist at her school decided to show Monster House to the kindergarteners and all was lost!

    BUT, it was 6 weeks of glorious sleeping through the night!

    Give it a shot!

  5. BestICan

    BestICan This community rocks.

    Hi, this is *exactly* what my difficult child did/does, too. Early Kindergarten was the absolute worst, worst, worst! It's mellowed out from there. My difficult child was able to articulate it - basically it was different fears every night - gorillas coming through the window, mummies coming out of the toilet, and on and on.

    His therapist worked with him by validating his fears and giving him some coping mechanisms, which he tried and helped a bit. I know this sounds horrible, but we also paid him a dollar a night for sleeping in his bed - it became tied to his allowance. That only worked in the short term.

    We also bought a big lego set, put it at the top of the closet, and told him he could have it after he slept in his bed for a month. This worked - until he earned the set, then back to his old ways. He said he was really miserable during that month but he wanted that set!

    What ended up working in the long run was putting a mat on the floor next to our bed. He can slip onto the mat and fall asleep and we don't even notice it. He does this maybe 2x a week at this point.

    I actually just asked difficult child what coping mechanism works best for him and he said, "I have two people in my head - the scared boy, and the reasonable boy. The reasonable boy says to the scared boy, 'Come on, difficult child, You're so tired you even think you're seeing something scary - obviously you need to go back to sleep!'"

    Does your easy child wet the bed? Mine did until very recently, and when he stopped wetting, the night fears became better too. I am quite convinced that these issues are connected.

    Just a gentle heads up: I wouldn't really expect this to get better with Kindergarten starting - that's just a lot of stress to absorb, and it's likely to come out at night.
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    OH boy did we fight this with Jessie. And husband fights it with thank you. At this point, on the nights thank you gets up (usually knee aching because he walks funny - totally different issue) he curls up on the couch on top of husband. If thank you comes in to me I get up, get him an advil (per the orthopedic specialist), read and snuggle in my bed with-him or take him back to his bed - thank you's choice. But when he goes to husband, husband will rub his knee for 15 seconds and go back tosleep - NOT giving him the medication the doctor told us to give him, and thank you jsut sits there. It makes for a bad day because his knee will hurt all day. He has the sensory stuff and really can't always tell you where it hurts, he just knows he is miserable. THAT is driving me nuts. But if I don't know, I can't help. husband has the CPAP and even with-o it won't wake up even if thank you is crying.

    JEss was my "family bed" child. Until about age 11 she preferred to sleep with someone. Once we got a king size bed and convinced her NOT to sleep sideways, it was fine. She started the night in her bed, but would end up in our bed by 11 pm. As long as we all got sleep it wasn't a huge deal.

    NOW we know that part of her sleep issues were Wiz threatening her or choking her in the middle of the night. Then it was panic attacks and PTSD from the abuse by Wiz. During that we just cuddled her, even gave her 1/2 a xanax at times - WITH permission from her pediatrician and psychiatrist!! maybe 10 or 11 times over 3 years did we give her xanax. It was that or the ER.

    Is there a compromise you can come up with to let everyone sleep? My husband had strong feelings about kids sleeping in their own beds - UNTIL he was a stay at home dad and responsible for getting up with them in the middle of the night. (this was mostly because I was working a lot of nights and not home.) Then he didn't really care WHERE they slept, as long as they slept.

    MAybe a mat or cot in yoru room, or if the bed is big enough, crawl in with you as long as they don't disturb you or anyone else in the house?

    While I was getting ready for my surgery and then recovering, Jessie was a wonder. If thank you had a nightmare or needed something and husband wouldn't wake up, Jessie would have him snuggle with her. Seh would check with me and then give him advil if he needed it and then cuddle him to sleep. A real sweetie about it. Even now they have "slumber parties" where he will go into her room in the evening and they read to each other or get the computer and watch a movie.

    I hope you can find some ideas here to help. And no, I don't want to be on the road with a trucker who is sleep deprived. That is a major concern int he trucking industry, from some conferences I organized.
  7. MoonDancer

    MoonDancer New Member

    Okay, wow.

    No bed wetting issues. I limit fluid intake after dinner, but he has a sport type sippy cup next to the bed. It is always the same amount in the morning that I poured in the night before. So not bathroom or thirst problems.

    The "Monster House" movie intensified the issue, and it has been banned FOREVER in this house. I think the lot of us could sue the creators on that one for not labeling it PG-13....But that is long past over, and he hasn't complained about the like for a long time.

    easy child#1 doesn't really complain about nightmares or bad dreams. The nightlight sqelches any "monsters" in the room ideas. He doesn't complain about the temp of the room or covers either. I've asked all those questions.

    We've done certain bribes - like I allow him to keep my favorite stuffed cow as long as he stays in bed. (Don't laugh.) It worked for maybe 3 days, but he still has my cow. The only thing that kept him in his bed the last two nights was he wanted to keep his play date with his best friend. But now summer is over, I can't put that one in play anymore.

    I like the "job" one. I think he might comply to that one. He does like to feel important. He always feel left out when the girls help me with housechores. (Yet, when I do include him - he complains and doesn't do the work anyway. Typical.) Maybe this will be a job he'll like.

    I had to chuckle at BestICan's difficult child's two people. That was adorable.

    Our room is pretty crowded with the furniture as it is, and we already have a dog sleeping in their beds on the floor on each side of our bed. With husband getting up in the dark at 4AM, he'd step on anything at the foot of our bed. So that's out.

    The only other thing I can think of is separation anxiety type from his twin. I had to strip tie their cribs together at one point, and he slept better like that. They shared a room until they were almost 3 years old. We had to put them in separate rooms when he started waking easy child#2 at 2AM and they'd be having a good ol' time playing around. Especially when they got into their toddler beds. easy child#2 now shares a room with her Sissy (difficult child) and the girls sleep fine in their own beds all night.

    Yes, I figured that the issue might worsen with the stress of starting kindergarten and a new school. Oy vey.

    I never really drank coffee on a regular basis until now. Dunkin' Donuts coffee rules!
  8. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Up until the time I was about 10 - 11 years old I had nightmares. I never had to get in bed with my parents, but I would go to their room and knock on their door and tell them I had a nightmare and was frightened. I remember to this day the very last night it happened. I woke up from a nightmare, went downstairs and went to their door. It was locked. I knocked and my dad said in his voice that meant business, "What?" I told him I had a nightmare. He said "Go back to bed!" I knew he was mad and I was more afraid of his anger than I was of a nightmare. I never went to their room again. I didn't sleep any better, and still don't sleep well. But I never went to their room again.

    Your son is getting your attention on a one on one basis every night. I don't think you are doing him any favors by interacting with him. I think that either you sit him down and tell him that he's not a baby and you need your sleep so he is going to have to get through the night, and/or you lock your door and tell him to go back to bed next time.
  9. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    A child can have anxiety without nightmares or bad dreams. If the "Monster House" movie intensified the situation, there's a good chance you're dealing with fears that come alive in the night when the imagination can run wild.

    If you don't want to be awakened at night, you may just have to clear out some furniture (or a dog or two) to make space for a sleeping bag on the floor for easy child 1. Some kids need the closeness of their parents to feel safe and secure at night. As long as my kids didn't wake me up, I never had a problem with this kind of arrangement. They got sleep and we got sleep, which is the major objective here. And they do outgrow this behavior -- we rarely have a child in our room now.

    You might also want to ask your pediatrician about Melatonin, a natural substance that can incude sleep, or Benadryl, an allergy medication that is sometimes used to help kids sleep.

    With kindergarten looming, it is likely to get worse before it gets better. Good luck.
  10. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    OK, Let me share with you what worked for me.

    I gave Tink a sticker chart. every night that she stayed in her own room, she got a sticker. At the end of every week, if she had 5 or more stickers, she'd get a slurpee. After a month or so, it went up to 6 or more stickers. After a couple more months, she had to stay in bed every night to earn her slurpee on Saturday.

    A few months after that, she no longer needed the bribe.

    A dream catcher also works. Every night before bed, I'd take the dream catcher and "shake out" last night's bad dreams in to the garbage.

    One thing I heard about (but never had to implement) is exactly what you described, walking them back to bed wordlessly every time they entered the room. But it can take more than 6 days, it might take a couple months or longer! I also heard about a lady who gave their child 3 circles cut out from green construction paper, symbolizing green lights. That meant he had 3 opportunities to leave his room throughout the night. With each time leaving the room, he had to hand over a green light. After the last one, mom gave child a red circle, symbolizing a stop light. The child knew that he was not to leave his room anymore until morning. After time, it was dropped down to 2 green lights, then 1 green light.

    Don't know if any of these would work in your situation, just brainstorming.

    Best of luck.
  11. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    The radio may be disturbing his sleep, whether he realizes it or not. Have you tried having it on "white noise" instead of actual music? Putting a baby gate up in front of his door to remind him that he needs to stay in bed? Get Hubby some headphones or heavy-duty earplugs, some for the other kids, too, and just keep taking him back to bed.

    Miss KT didn't wander too often, only when "I dreamed of tigers". Once I walked her back to her room and did a "tiger check", she was pretty good about going back to sleep.