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My almost 5 yr old is giving problems at bedtime

Our daughter went from her crib straight to a big girl bed.  She has always done well with bedtime, and we have a set routine that we do nightly. She has never been allowed to sleep with her dad and me, and bedtime has never been an issue before.  Jillian will be 5 yrs old on Feb. 21st, and is an only child, and too smart for our own good. This problem arose  about 2 weeks ago after she said she was frightened by a TV commercial on the Disney Channel for an upcoming movie. Now the easy bedtime routine has become a nightmare and no matter what we do it doesn't seem to help.  We say extra night prayers for Jesus and guardian angels to watch over her, and spray "magic" spray which is febreeze spray to keep her fears away and protect her room from anything scary or bad.  It took us over 3 hours to get her to stay in bed and finally fall asleep. She was up at 6:00 am crying in our room wanting to get in bed with us. Other nights she wakes up during the night and starts the crying process stating that she is scared and she wants mommy.  She begs for me to sleep with her or allow her to come get in our bed.  Since we have never allowed this, I'm not sure where this is all of a sudden coming from?  This broken sleep is making all of us horribly cranky and tired.  I cannot get her to take a nap either.  Please help....what do we do?  My husband and I want to be consistent and solve this problem ASAP.  Any ideas and advice will be greatly appreciated.
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973741 tn?1342342773
Kids imaginations become very vivid and I do believe they actually become scared.  They want their parents comfort and that is natural.  BUT . . . we all need our sleep.  I'm super firm on bedtime issues.  My now 6 year old never slept with us but became really good at putting off his bedtime.  He would get tired and cranky.  I would point out this every time through out the day saying------  when we are tired, we have bad days.  We need to get our sleep.  I'd act out being grumpy or clumsy or something and say, oh, I didn't get enough sleep last night.  We need to get our sleep.  My kid really got that correlation which has helped a LOT.  He plays in his room for about 5 minutes and then I say, Okay.  Time for bed so we can have a good day tomorrow.  

It wasn't always like that . . .  So here is what I would do.  I would be empathetic but keep conversations of her being scared to a minimum and don't go overbourd with the sympathy thing because it feeds the problem.  Get her a nightlight and a fan (to mask small noises that might wake her during the night).  Have a nice bedtime routine and then be firm.  Go to bed.  If she gets up, keep all conversation to a minimum.  Say it is okay, you are fine.  Go to bed.  And walk her back.  Never ever let her sleep with you or you will perpetuate the problem. Even at 6 am, back to her room.  I'd also give up the naps.  That is just me.  I had my kids napping until this school year----  My son was 5 and his brother was 4 when we gave it up.  My 5 year old didn't need it every day and on days he that he took one, night time was harder.  He goes to bed much earlier now that he doesn't have the nap.  just my opinion.

So good luck.  I'm sure it will blow over!!!  You'll all be well rested soon.
Helpful - 0
968908 tn?1274871115
I think what may of also added to her fears is that both yourself and your husband has endulged the fear with sprays etc... saying that the spray will keep anything scary away from her has only fuled this belief that there are scary things in the dark and they can get her.  I totally understand why you would do this, so she will feel more protected but in truth you are saying to her that monsters exsist.  

So how to help her, well it may help a great deal if when you take her up to bed if you keep the bedroom door fully open, with both the landing light on and put a lamp in her room so she has a nice soft light so she isn't laying there in the dark.  Also once you have read her a story etc, take a chair and sit in her room, do not engage in conversation with her, if she talks to you tell her its time to sleep.  Then stay in her room until she falls asleep.  Then each night after put the chair slightly closer to the door until after a few days/week you are sitting out side the room, while outside the room close the door slightly so she can not directly see you but so she know's you are there.  Then start to break down the time that you sit on the chair, so night one 20mins, night two 18mins, night three 15mins and so on..... by the time you have got to the stage where you no longer are sitting outside her room she should have settled back into a secure night time routine and feel safe and secure once again.

This technique is proven to work and is used by child psychologists in their practice for children with bedtime anxiety.  Let us know what happens if you decide to try it out... all in all it should take a couple of weeks to complete, some parents feel this is a long time to endulge their child in this bedtime routine but i tell them that it would be far better to complete this than have thier child in a complete state of terror each night which in severe cases can last for months and turn into a habit.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I do not know about spraying febreeze at bedtime....would give me a headache:)

Anyway, kidding aside


Once my sone starts to fall off the bedtime vagon, we go ahead and draw a schedule - divide a piece of paper by 6 squares and doodle a "step" in each one

We had snack - playtime - bath - game before bed - reading - bed or something along these lines.....

Worked magic, I could not beleive how easy it made things.....

Of course, it only applies to getting in bed

Middle of the night - be firm and put her back, I've started with giving my son a hug, proceeding to holding his hand, then moving a foot away, and now if he wakes up - I can put him right back in bed, give him a kiss and - he is snoozing....


be prepared to invest a few sleepless nights into this (sounds like you do not sleep anyway)

Good luck
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
My 5yr old has done 12hrs solid since the day she was born but all of a sudden in the last 2-wks she has come into my room between 1am & 3.30am to tell me something (bad dream, can't sleep etc) and wants to get into my bed... I took her back to bed last night at 1am (I forewarned her of this before bedtime) and then I couldn't get back to sleep until 5.30am! Not sure how much longer this can go on but im determined not to give in.. Any ideas?
Helpful - 0
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