Sep 23, 2009

HELP...ADVICE for the needy

Help!? Any suggestions or advice is greatly appreciated. I don't ask for help/advice often (if ever) but I am at a total loss here.

Ella (my 3 yr. old) has ALWAYS slept perfectly through the night...just recently in the last month or so she is NOT SLEEPING! She fights going to bed like nothing I have ever seen. And then she is waking up about 10 times a night. 8-10 up and not sleeping. Then up again at 12, 2, 4, 6...we are not sleeping, it is worse than a newborn. She has had her big girl bed since January and has done fine. We have a very "routine" night (bath, show, books, teeth, prayer, bed). we try talking (reasoning with her, doesnt help). She is such a busy body (hmmm...where did she get that from) and its hard for her to calm down...naps are basically non-existent in our home as well.

So we have tried nightlights, no lights. Door closed/door open. Special sleeping toys, body pillow. Spray bottle for if she is scared. Black mail, being sweet, etc. we are told NOT to sleep with her or let her sleep with us (and we saw that on Nanny 911) and we have tried many other things. We just don't know what to do. Has anyone else gone through this. Any suggestions, we are willing to try anything. We are getting close to benadryl just so we can get some peace and sleep (we are exhausted!), but haven't gone to that extreme just yet. HELP?! (excuse the spelling please...)

My cute little pill...


  1. Been there and still doing that. Though it is getting better. I may sound mean when I say this, but the only thing I have found that works is punishment. When I tried everything else I realized that he was getting out of bed because he can, not because anything is wrong.
    I will walk him right back to his room, put him in bed and tell him that is he gets out he loses something (tv privileges, favorite toy, no play group, etc.). I say it in a rather stern voice so he knows I am serious. If he gets up then I follow through with my punishment in the morning. I remind him why he is in trouble when I do it.
    When I put him in bed the next night I ask him if he remembers losing whatever privledge it was and tell him that is will happen again. Eventually, he gets it and now only gets up to potty or if he has a bad dream.
    p.s. Sometimes their sleep routine is off and they need the benadryl for a few nights if nothing else helps. It is the adult equivalent of taking ambien and many adults take that. At least that is my opinion.

  2. Ummm when you figure it out let me know cause I'm about to kill Riley and I have done the benadryl. I figure Colby's on enough meds to kill an adult so a little benadryl in Riley isn't going to hurt her any. I agree with Stef. Sometimes they just get off and need it. In my kids it seems to be a chronic condition. I think I drank to much caffeine when I was pregnant with them! But since I didn't drink any with Jahnna I know that can't possibly be it. I am dreading putting Riley in a big girl bed and hope she doesn't figure out she can climb out at least until she is 5 or 6! ;) Good luck and let us know how it goes.

  3. I put a sleeping bag next to my bed. You want to hang out with me, go ahead, you're just doing it in the floor. (Be aware so you don't step on someone.)

    You can have them pick out a toy they'd like. Even buy it, but they have to work for it. Get a chart and add stickers when they stay in their bed all night. Have a set amount of times they have to do it. If they goof one night then, it starts over.

    Good Luck!

  4. Natalie gets that way whenever David comes home for a while and then leaves to go back to the army. When she wakes up, I go in her room and repeat a version of our bedtime routine, but she does not get out of bed, then I pray with her, say goodnight and go back to bed. She usually gets over it in a week or two.

    I have heard some people say that they put a nightlight on a timer and tell the kid you can't get out of bed until the light comes on.

    Also, Natalie was doing that when we first moved to this house, we figured out that she was getting thirsty in the night, so now she sleeps with a water bottle.

    Good luck!

  5. Kinsey has done that off and on throughout her four years. Is your girl wide awake when she comes in, or is she screaming or still groggy? Kinsey had terrible nightmares from 18 - 30 months and would wake up and scream inconsolably for at least an hour at least once a night...she was having night terrors and we had to do this special theatrical performance to fix that one. Now, she just hates going to bed unless she looks forward to something for the next day. Like, we'll put her to bed, she'll say something like, "I'm not sleepy" even though the eyeballs are barely staying open. So we'll go over the day, talking about what we did and how much fun this was and that, and then I'll make a small plan to do something fun with her the next day, usually something like "lets make some cards tomorrow" or paint together (so I feel like its a bribe, but not a toy or something...its special time and I should be doing more of that anyway) and she gets excited and calms right down and passes out. Its like she doesn't want to go to sleep without knowing whats gonna happen the next day, like she feels insecure. I have also seen a nanny 911 where they make special flowers that stick in a pot and say there's three of them. She has to give you one every time she gets out of bed for a drink or to come see you, and when they are all gone, no more getting out of bed. Then, you eventually take one away, and another, or if one or two is fine with you, thats great. That also means you all have to be awake enough to remember to take a flower (or whatever you decide to make them be.) I dunno. Its hard, but stick to it! Now she sleeps like a pro now that we figured out what's really bothering her and now its our son's his issues are gonna be totally different, what do ya bet!

  6. I haven't had a problem yet with Logan, to that extent at least. But my sister in law had major sleep problems with her toddler and she ended up having to put a lock on the door from the outside and just leave her son in the room. After a few nights of trying to get out, he realized that he wasn't going to and started going to sleep again. A little harsh right?! Hope you find something that works.

  7. The waking up at 12, 2, 4, and 6 sounds like she is waking up after each REM sleep stage. Sleep usually runs in 90 to 120 minute cycles so the 10 PM makes sense too. It's not too unusual for me to see patients wake up a little before or after REM.

    Stef is correct that sometimes it is helpful to "reset" the sleep routine with ambien, but, benadryl sometimes has the opposite effect in kids and can make a child hyper. If Ella has taken benadryl before and has not become a little more hyper, it is probably worth a try.

    Night terrors are a parasomnia disorder and kids usually grow out of it. The best thing to do with night terrors is to do noting at all. Night terrors aren't associated with a dream and because of the lack of a dream the child usually comes to wakefulness feeling disorientated and will fall back to sleep on their own. This has been happening to Matix for maybe over a year now and I don't even intervene anymore. He's a bit odd though since it happens during naps and not at night. I've been meaning to bring it up with my medical director but keep forgetting.

  8. Wow thanks everyone...I asked on Fb too and have gotten tons of advice and input...we are still trying things and giving them time to see if they I will keep you all posted...THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Don't give her a glow worm. Leila was waking up in the night and we thought it would help, but apparently she rolled on it while sleeping. Now she hates it. She says " it happens in the night and it's eyes are looking at me!"

  10. Had this problem with Jordyn. We tried the sleeping bag thing, and I don't suggest it. THen that is another habit to try to break. We ended up making a chart. She only got a sticker if she slept through the night. After a week or so the habit seemed broken and we got her new toy. Luckily she didn't go back to old ways. All my kids had night terrors around the age of 3 where they woke up crying, but not really awake. Isn't being a parent so much fun?!?!?!