2.07.2008

Bedtime Troubles


My five year old is going through a bedtime regression. She use to go to bed fine after her nightly routine, but recently she throws HUGE tantrums. She claims she's afraid of the dark, or needs water, or wants someone to come sleep with her because it's not fair that mommy and daddy get to sleep together. Nothing in our routine has changed and we've tried everything (a lamp, a night light, a bedtime water bottle, even locking her in)! Any ideas on what might be causing this and what else we can do?

I am soooo sorry. Kidney stones is my excuse. But, you probably talked to a sister or a friend and already got better advice then I could give (isn't that the genius of community) but in case you haven't here is a thought.

I feel like this idea is true with adults as well as kids. Somehow, we can all get focused on our fears or sorrows and the more we focus the bigger they feel. So, no doubt, she is really feeling afraid or worried. But, instead of trying to fix the thirst or dark. I would try from a totally different angle.

I would get her favorite doll/stuffed animal or even get a new one (preferable a baby or young animal), and then tell your daughter that this baby doesn't like to go to bed. In fact, the baby doesn't know how to go to bed. I would start the dialog in the morning and keep it going all day. Help her mother the baby. And then before bed, take your little one AND the doll to get water, turn on the light. And have your daughter tell the doll all of the reasons it is ok. She will become the authority. She will be the one taking care of the doll. Sometimes, it just takes a different focus...

Another thing I always say, is, "You don't have to go to sleep. You can stay awake all night. You just have to lie still. But, certainly don't close your eyes." You could let her listen to a cd of lulluby music so she can focus on that instead of her fears.

A final idea. You can tell her that you can't sleep in her room, but that you will miss her so much that you will sit outside of the bedroom door. And really do it. Do it for a week or two. She'll get up and out of bed and see that you are really there and it will help build the confidence. It takes a little while - but it is worth it when the sleep routine is back to do-able!
Painting by Sharp: Blanket Bull, Crow Papoose 1908

2 comments:

hannah m said...

I love the way you think, Ang.

lynette said...

Thank you! This is the one angle I haven't tried. I'm starting it tonight!