My 7 year old daughter is generally a happy, funny, intelligent little girl. However, at bedtime, or even the mention of bedtime, she turns into "Mr. Hyde". We moved to a different state about 5 months ago, which was a major adjustment for her, as we moved away from my parents and grandparents with whom she was very close. Also influencing this issue is the fact that for about 2 or 3 months after we moved, she had to share a bed with her 4 year old brother or myself on the nights that my husband is working (he works midnights). I realize that this is a lot for a young child to adjust to, but on all other levels, she seems to do very well. She has made lots of friends, is doing well in school and is helpful and happy most of the time.
The major issues are that she makes excuse after excuse to get out of bed, usually from 8pm at bedtime until sometimes 10 or later. After she does fall asleep, she will wake nearly every hour throughout the night, half of the time she is not even fully awake, but babbling incoherently or crying and whining inexplicably. Sometimes she blames nightmares, sometimes she needs to "go to the bathroom" even though she just went a half an hour previously, sometimes she will just stand there and stammer, seemingly trying to come up with a reason to be awake. Also, every night, after being tucked in, she develops a stomachache and needs to have a bowel movement, no matter that she JUST went to the bathroom. I do not doubt that this is a real occurance as I have seen the results, but I am not sure as to whether or not she is just "holding it" until bedtime or if she really cannot help it. I am at my wits end as she wakes up not just me and my husband when he's home, but also her younger brother who needs even more sleep than she does. I have tried rewarding her when she stays in bed, revoking privileges when she gets out of bed, ignoring her...and now I just scream at her and I am ashamed to admit, I have spanked her at the height of my frustration. I AM NOT A SPANKER!!! Especially not out of anger and frustration!! I just don't know what to do. I've read parenting articles and books that offer solutions, but none seem to address this kind of issue where the child refuses to stay in bed at all throughout the night. I am so exhausted in the morning due to her waking sometimes 7 or 8 times during the night, and I know that she must be feeling the effects as well. Please help me!!