Bedtime routines or easy(ier) ways to get them to *stay* in bed

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by allhaileris, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. allhaileris

    allhaileris Crumbling Family Rock

    We have tried Melatonin. For a week it was going okay, but then she decided she didn't want to take it, so we took a couple nights off. Then I gave it to her again (3 mg) and it didn't work! 3 hours later she was still bouncing off the walls.

    She takes no medications right now so it's not like something is keeping her up. She gets up around the same time each morning. We attempt to put her down around 8pm (since she's 6). Last night the fight was only 45 minutes, normally it's well over an hour.

    I've been trying to keep her routine going, but even with that she still keeps getting up. Her routine that she seems to like is book (then a fight to keep reading more and more, I do have a limit), the potty and a glass of ice water. I know she'd like a massage, and it helps, but I can't give her a massage all the time. She has a flashlight most nights so she can stay in bed and read. She has blackout curtains now to keep out light and noise.

    We literally have to hold her in her bed many nights. I try to kind of lean on her and stroke her face instead of being mean about it, but more often than I like I have to pick her up and dump her in bed again and again. And if husband is trying to get her down she yells and yells for me, and if I come in she grabs my arm and won't let go. She's been telling me she wants me to sleep in her room with her. I think not!

    husband and I are emotionally exhausted and need those couple hours after she's gone to bed to wind down and spend with each other instead of fighting with her. And I can't just fight with her and go to bed. My brain needs it's own download time.

    Is this normal for ODD? Are there any tatics that have worked well for encouraging your child to go to bed and stay there?

    Of course there are a myriad of other issues, but this is the biggest one this week.

  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I'm sorry that I don't remember all the specifics of your difficult child (please do a profile signature for those of us dealing with age induced memory loss!!!!). You do infer that she just has odd by your ending question.

    I don't think it's unusual for any child (especially a young child) to have bedtime issues if there is not a bedtime pattern or routine. When you have a difficult child who is dealing with any miriad of issues, bedtime routines may be difficult to reinforce.

    Your daughter's issue appears to be more defiance based on the fact that she cannot sleep and perhaps doesn't want to be left alone.

    My only advice would be to speak with her diagnosis'ing doctor about the situation and to also stay firm and consistant on the bedtime routine. My difficult child has a bedtime routine on school nights that I have reinforced and worked on since he was in second grade (he is about to enter 7th grade). It definately takes my time in the evenings, but in the long run he is better rested and he and I have had some nice quiet time to talk and read.

    The reason that I urge you to speak with her diagnosis'ing doctor is that there may be some other health issues that are causing your daughter to be so wakefull.

  3. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    My younger daughter (not my daughter with ODD) had trouble staying in bed at that age. I think, looking back on it that it was anxiety keeping her awake. We did the whole bedtime routine of reading, etc. and then I told her she needed to stay in her bed and I would come check on her regularly. At first, I checked every minute so she wouldn't have time to get out of bed. Then I increased the time between visits. I was able to get to checking every 10 minutes and then not at all pretty quickly.
  4. threebabygirls

    threebabygirls New Member

    My 6 y.o. has ODD as well, and while bedtime is not as big an issue as it used to be, I can still vividly remember the dread I felt every evening. What worked for us was for me to sit right outside her bedroom door. If she felt anxious, she would call out and I'd make some sort of noise (clearing my throat for instance) to assure her I was still there. With her, any kind of eye contact, physical contact (such as picking her up and putting her back in bed), or conversation just reinforced her getting out of bed. So, we'd do the routine (teeth brushed, book, sip of water, potty) and then I'd say good night ONCE. Then I'd park my butt on a chair outside her door. It wasn't long before I moved a couple inches away, increasing the distance every couple of days until I didn't have to sit there anymore. I think maybe just breaking the cycle of the same fight every night helped.
    One piece of advice, do NOT sleep with her or allow her to sleep in your bed. difficult child occasionally would come to our room in the middle of the night and get in bed with us. I eventually let her because it was easier than having an hour-long fight with her in the middle of the night when I was already sleep-deprived. It was hard to break her of that. Now I have a pillow and sleeping bag on my side of the bed in case one of the kids gets up in the middle of the night. They can sleep there on the floor without waking us up, but they usually prefer the comfort of their own beds rather than the hard floor. I can't remember the last time difficult child made a middle-of-the-night appearance. Good luck.
  5. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    OMG! We went through that with difficult child 3! She drove me to the brink, I swear on a stack of bibles I was more sleep deprived than anyone on the planet.

    ALL of her issues were based on anxiety and basically wanting to be a PITA (pain in the um, azzzz).

    First, I got her a doll to sleep with. The room might possibly be too dark for her. A really soft night light might help. Then, routine. Up, potty, brush teeth, and a sippy cup next to the bed with tap water (ice water might "sensory her up"). Book, prayers (at the end of the prayer, she gets to tell God what she's thankful for from the day) and then bed.

    Sounds great right! Still drove me nuts!

    Wanna know what worked? I put her in charge! I went to Target and bought a cheepo disney princess alarm clock (I think it was $5.00 bucks) and told her that SHE was in charge of getting us up in the morning. If she wasn't well rested, she might not hear the alarm clock and then everyone would be late. "This is a big job, do you think you can handle it? It means that you would have to be in charge."

    Haven't had a problem (except when the idiot school showed kindergarteners "Monster House" at lunchtime) since.

    Good luck hon, I know she drove me up a tree with this one!

  6. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh the bedtime battles. I remember when my difficult child was up until almost midnight most nights. husband and I were exhausted. We lived that way for many years. We did the consistent bed time rituals, read, massaged, baths, everything but for him nothing worked. The only thing that finally worked for him was to take medications. Clonidine really helps him to fall asleep.

    Hugs to your weary heart.
  7. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    This was a problem here too! And with the ODD and the tremendous anxiety..well, it was rough.

    He would drop over exhausted before he would go to bed!

    After so many different attempts, we found one that worked for him / us.

    Bedtime snack. Tuck him in and put on a movie in his room.

    Now we would not allow easy child to ever have a TV in his room. That was because he would of never come out. LOL, we put one in difficult child's room to KEEP him in.

    Good Luck.
  8. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Sleep became one of our biggest challenges. As long as he was in a crib, he was a doll to put to sleep. Laid him down and off to dreamland he went. From the time he learned to climb out of the crib until now, he has difficulty settling down to fall asleep. It took us an hour every night. One of us would stay with him after the rituals were done. He could self stimulate with any thought in his head. First the foot would wiggle then all of him would be a ball of restless activity. If we cued him to relax and did some relaxation exercises he would settle. Usually poor husband fell asleep before difficult child. It was a frustrating experience.
    He still has periods of almost hypomania at sleep time. It is usually a red flag that his days are not going well. Not sure which comes first.
  9. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Weighted blankets sometimes help with this. My difficult children never used one, but their bio father's mother created one that worked great with bio dad when he was a youngster.
  10. allhaileris

    allhaileris Crumbling Family Rock

    Yes, I do need to create a siggy. I will get to that soon, I promise!

    It sounds like maybe it's kind of normal for this age. I have no idea how to tell if it's anxiety. I don't know what to look for.

    Last night went well, but I was trying to avoid having a meltdown. She took a bath (for some reason she's anti-bath the past few months, normally she loves them), and did a light massage. I was brain-tired and told her I was too tired to tell her a story so she told me one :) It was cute and I could rub her arms and legs while she talked. She really enjoyed the massage and particularly liked it when I stroked her palms and fingers. I let her read for a little while and went in a few minutes later to tell her good night and she asked for a few more minutes. I ended up doing this twice and the third time I just turned the light off and told her good night. I think the fact I gave her that extra time without fighting helped in the long run. What's 10 minutes extra of being up compared to an hour of fighting.

    I will try the snack. Sometimes I do that and it seems fine, but I'll make more of a point. The ice water is fine in my opinion because it is summer and there is no AC in her room. I never ever sleep in her room, and the only time she's allowed in mine for sleeping is if husband is out of town.

    And we've always been anti-TVs in bedrooms, but the past year I've thought a lot about letting that go for her. But I would need to go in and shut if off and tell her to go to bed. She's never once in her life fallen asleep to the TV unless she's sick and would of fallen asleep without it. I think what might be better is if we get a little boom box to put CDs on, play a mellow CD that will shut off automatically.

    She has a nightlight most nights (bulb is burned out currently), and/or a flashlight. She's never complained it's too dark, and really, she's a good little Oaktown girl and can deal with outside noise and light well. Falls asleep and stays asleep. I will put in a new bulb and see if that helps, or something (princess lamp, etc).

    Thanks all! TIme for more trials and errors.