26 September 2014

Why won't she just go to sleep?

We are in the midst of a bedtime issue with Little 1 and it is driving me crazy. I can't say it is a new issue as it has been going on for quite a while now and it comes and goes, some weeks it seems endless and then suddenly she doesn't do it for a while.

She just won't settle down and go to sleep at bedtime. 

She is very well behaved, she does her teeth and has stories (we alternate which one of us reads to each of them every night), she has a wee and gets into bed, we usually have a little chat as she is full of questions then I say it is time to go to sleep, she asks me to sing her 3 favourite nursery rhymes and I do, I say goodnight and pop on her light show. She has had a winnie the pooh lightshow that plays a lullaby and projects a picture onto the ceiling since she was a tiny baby, it is on a timer and only lasts 5 minutes, she has to have it last thing every night, it comes on holiday and even to Nanny's house for sleepovers. she may be almost 5 but if it gives her comfort at bed time then who am I to take it away, after all it only costs the press of a button and a pair of batteries once in a while. There are quite a few steps in our bedtime process but it has evolved over the years and missing out one of the steps upsets her and it is just not worth that, it doesn't take long.

Once we have said 'Goodnight' and left the room, it begins, now I don't mean this to sound terrible she is actually a very good girl, she does not get out of her bed, nor get any toys or put the light on, she just chats in her normal voice for ages usually anything from an hour to almost 2 on a really bad night. The lounge is below her bedroom and we can hear her talking as well as tapping the wall and wobbling the rail on the side of her cabin bed while she chats.

Mostly we leave her to it hoping that she will stop when she has had enough or just drop off but it usually takes around an hour or more for this to happen, she will also call loudly 'Mummy, Mummy' over and over getting progressively louder until I can not ignore her anymore incase she wakes Little 2 who just falls asleep as soon as her head hits the pillow now that she no longer has a daytime nap. Many times I have ignored her calling in the hope she will just give up and go to sleep, she has just continued calling and eventually got upset that no one came and I have ended up having to stay a while and give cuddles to settle her so that tactic isn't going to work with her.

When I answer her calls and get there all she wants is to tell me something or ask a question, 'How many sleeps until Christmas, Easter?' Whaaa I don't know, it's months away, 'Can we go on holiday to Wales again Mummy?' Yes, one day, 'Do you think our baby will like peas? 'Er I hope so'. I answer the question, don't linger and say goodnight and leave again hoping I won't have to go up again but I usually do around 5 times seems to be average, if Daddy goes up he is sharply reprimanded and told to fetch Mummy as she wanted to tell me something not him, so he rarely goes up anymore. 

It is so tedious and getting rather annoying now, it has been happening for months. Over the summer I thought that maybe she wasn't getting tired out as she wasn't going to preschool anymore and as it was so warm and light outside that maybe she really couldn't get to sleep because she was too hot or it was too light (she has a blackout blind and lined curtains so her room isn't that light anyway). I thought that when she started school she would be tired and it would stop but it hasn't it doesn't seem to be getting any better at all.

Now she is tired, school is tiring her out and going to bed late makes her rather grumpy from around teatime, there have been lots of tears this week and plenty of grumpiness, I have got cross a few times too as she is so tired and just won't stop talking and settle to sleep, I've gone up and told her off but it hasn't helped. A couple of nights ago we had a little chat about how important it was for her body to get enough sleep so that she could learn and be able to fight bugs, it seems to have helped a bit as she has been chatting quite a bit less and dropping off in around 40 minutes the last couple of days and I'm sure the sticker chart I made helped a bit too but I'm not convinced it will last.

She goes to bed about half seven once stories etc are over so I don't think I am trying to put her to bed stupidly early or anything like that and falls asleep around 8.30-8.45 usually but I'm sure that is too late for a 4 year old. (Is it? anyone?) The thing is she wakes up at 7am every morning, happy, bright and breezy (mostly) so she must be getting enough sleep but her grumpy mood later in the day says otherwise!

What on earth goes on in that little head of hers when she gets into bed I don't know, but it seems to be a lot of thinking, I think that this is probably the reason she can not get to sleep, too much going on in her little mind. It started months ago, before school and before she knew about the baby, both of which she loves so I'm certain it is not those things bothering her. It is a shame that she is not yet able to read to herself as I am sure this would help her feel tired and give her something to do in bed if she wasn't ready to settle. 

I have never been the parent to an almost 5 year old before, does anyone have any ideas. What time does your child go to bed? Do they lie awake for ages?


  1. This sounds very familiar to what happens in our house - although our oldest is 3. She won't fall asleep without one of us in her room and if we leave her she shouts so much that I worry she will wake our other daughter.

  2. Monkey does this, at 2 1/2 he foes to he'd at 7.15 and will chatter away to himself for nearly 2 hours some nights. Again he is a good boy and doesn't get out of bed, just chats, sings, counts and amuses himself. Sometimes we are convinced he has gone off only for him to then start counting again! He naps a lot still in the afternoon so we think that may be why, but don't want to discourage the naps until after baby as I am shattered in the afternoons! This post makes me wonder though if it will continue as he gets older! Our theory is as long as he is happy up there we leave him to it and wait til he drops off to sleep... But if its making her tired later in the afternoon I am not sure what to suggest! Best of luck and hope you find something that works!! #pocolo

  3. Would love to offer you advice, but both mine are very late to bed/sleep. I've seen http://www.littlesleepers.co.uk for advice, or http://www.relaxkids.com for relaxing CDs just to help their minds switch off. x

  4. Wish I knew what to say. Our twins have recently stopped all day time naps so they're out like a light at 7pm. One sleeps in her cot in our room all night, but she wake once or twice asking for a dummy etc, the other is always in bed with us. Anything to get some sleep! They're nearly 3. Maybe try some longer quiet time before, no TV, maybe sing songs etc. Thanks for linking up to the #binkylinky

  5. so very familiar i think all children go though these different stages and then you get a moment of rest from it #binkylinky

  6. I really do sympathise with you. I have regularly been through this with Grace and still do sometimes. She has never been a good sleeper and still rocks in her sleep. I have tried hot milk and a warm microwavable teddy with lavender to help her - that kind of works but I think she is destined to be a bad sleeper - like me! I hope you find something that works. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo :) x

  7. Oh goodness that is hard - and hard for you if you aren't getting any down time yourself. I've no helpful suggestions I'm afraid just lots of hugs and fingers crossed it gets better soon :)

  8. I'm not going to be much help with a baby and two year old but interested to see what others say about helping to sleep - I feel like a zombie most days ha #sharewithme

  9. Hello there, I was very interested to read your post as our three and half year old takes a very long time to go to sleep and is a pretty terrible sleeper too. He takes about an hour to nod off at least, and I think he is over-tired at times and head is just full of questions and ideas. So although he is younger, you are not alone, I just wonder if it because they are experiencing and learning so much during the day that it takes them an age to process it at night! Really like your blog by the way and I hope things get better for you soon x #sharewithme


  10. Let's Talk Mommy10 October 2014 at 21:23

    Sometimes overtired can keep them awake and wiggly around in their beds. It's hard to know exactly what time is right as I think every child is different. My son is 3 and he still takes 2 hour naps and sleeps from 7pm -8am every night but my friends 3 year old doesn't need a nap and doesn't go to bed until 8-7am so I think it's what your child needs. If she is grumpy you probably aren't putting her to bed too early. I think it sounds like you sitting her down talking to her about the important of sleep and treating her like a big girl and a sticker chart is fantastic and especially at this age. I also think it takes a week or two to retrain your body to sleep at a certain time. If she has been so used to going to bed at 8:45 it will take her awhile to readjust to 7:30. Keep up the great work momma it will all come into place. Be consistent that's what makes the best progress. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

  11. Glad it seems to be getting better (from the comments). My six year old used to go to sleep as soon as his head hit the pillow, but has suddenly started taking much longer to drop off. I did think perhaps as he was getting older he needed a later bedtime, but in fact I think he is just needing a gentle slide towards sleep rather than a plunge.


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