Oct 5, 2009

My Name is Katie and I'm a 4 Year Old Insomniac

Ok, so she's not really an insomniac, per se, in that it's not that she can't sleep, it's that she won't sleep.

It's affecting her sister's ability to sleep (Katie plays and dances and so forth instead of sleeping), it's affecting her behavior (much poorer when she doesn't get enough sleep).

She has a CD player with a quiet lullaby CD. She has a water bottle next to her bed. We have a regular bedtime routine. We don't let her stay up; she gets scolded/yelled at/etc. if we catch her playing/dancing/etc. instead of lying quietly in bed.

Any ideas??

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Anonymous Harriet M. Welsch said...

You've come to the right place. We are a house full of insomniacs. First of all, keep that routine in place. It helps, even if it doesn't seem like it's helping just at this very minute. The next step is to give her something to do when she's not sleeping so that she's not tempted to do something more distracting. With AJ, we talked through some things he could do if he couldn't sleep. The rules in our house are that he has to stay in bed, lying down, under the covers, with the lights off. We taught him to count sheep, to try to list his favorite sports stars in order by their numbers, to try to name all the states, to imagine he was in his grandparents house walking around and looking at things, etc. You'll need to pick things that work with her interests. Also, if she's got a lot of toys in her bed, you might try to get some of them out of there. We let AJ have his blanket and one stuffed animal (the rules have since relaxed) when he was having trouble turning off the play switch. Good luck!

11:14 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Allow me to say what you've been thinking: duct tape.

1:05 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

In other news, my refuses-to-sleep boyfriend (who was the poster child for difficult children) recommends a couple things:
1) A rewards system works well for some children. "If you go to sleep when you should, then we'll allow you..." more playtime/a sweet in your snack/whatever would appeal to her without crossing a line.
2) Letting her literally stay up all night - no sleep AT ALL. No sleep the next day, either. This is less feasible because you have other children that she disrupts while she stays awake (and that you'll probably suffer for it), but this worked for Jonah (at least, for his more youthful years), because he found he REALLY disliked being dead-tired all day.

1:10 AM  
Blogger Jade said...

I was going to say... Mommy Dearest used straps in the beds for her kids....

I like the counting sheep idea. I wonder if she has an active enough imagination, if she should make up her own story in her head, similar to Harold and the Purple Crayon. Stay in bed, under the covers, lights out, but lay with her eyes open staring at the ceiling and imagining a story like Harold does? She might get lost in her fantasyland and drift off.

I'm not terribly patient (duh) and when Gayle tells me she "just can't sleep" I tell her to lay there and pretend to sleep. Lights out, stay in bed, no noise... she generally drifts off to sleep shortly.

2:24 AM  
Blogger Greta Adams said...

Coming from someone who is and has always went through this all i can say is if she is like melana nothing you do will work....

melana runs on 4 hours (if i am lucky 6) in a 24 hour period...and i didn't say the sleep was a straight sleep :(

Melana has always been like that since the day she was born....

i spoke to the peditrician about it and she said unfortunately some kids don't require a terrible amount of sleep ( umm hello but i do!) so i put her in bed at 9 every night and i am up and down the stairs until 12 she ususally falls alseep at about 130 and up again at 4..and she is up the rest of the morning....

but melana is fine on that little amount of sleep....every so often she comes in from school and crashes but that is few and FAR between....

i can't offer advice but i know exactly what you are going through... she stays in her room though..she has never wandered around and got into anything.

4:03 PM  
Blogger smileymamaT said...

Well I sure am glad you've already got some advice, cause I have none. I think I did the scolding/yelling thing (I'm tired! Go to sleep already!!) till they were all a little older and just went to sleep because they were tired (like, age 9, sad to say). In fact, I STILL have the older two pop out of their rooms sometimes at 10 pm just to "say goodnight to the cat" or whatnot... heh heh... they are still driving me crazy... so yeah. I think the best thing would be to maybe take advice from these folks that have younger kids right now... :)

1:56 PM  
Blogger graymama said...

A weighted blanket helps to focus my guy's late night energy, so he can fall asleep. I also do reiki on him before he goes to sleep.

We took all "hard toys" out of his room, so now if he can't sleep, his options are a few stuffed animals and books. If he talks, he loses those options.

I hope you can find something that works! Mamas need their sleep!

6:38 PM  

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