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Getting a six year old to sleep!!

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  • Getting a six year old to sleep!!

    DD is 6 (almost 7), which means I have had nearly 2500 nights trying to her to go to sleep.

    I don’t think she has ever just fallen asleep of her own accord. If left to her own devices she would still be awake at midnight.

    Her bed time is supposed to be 8pm. If she goes to bed at that time I spend the next hour or more going back and forth for long conversations, tears, drinks etc. Some nights I just let her watch tv with me (if she isn’t going to sleep I might as well watch tv without getting up and down) and then she goes to bed around 9pm and then usually asleep by 9.30pm.

    Over the years I’ve tried lying with her, letting her read quietly, ignoring her, yelling, everyone getting upset, etc.

    She never seems tired and gets up fine in the morning. Doesn’t matter how much sport or activities she does in a day she is still never tired.

    I think she does have a trouble settling her thoughts down and she is often asking quite complex questions, going over things that happened that day etc.

    Any thoughts on getting her to her to sleep earlier.

  • #2
    No suggestions but I'm finding it hard to get my ds (6) to settle. I have to lie with him for an hour to get him to sleep.


    • #3
      If she's not tired the next day she's probably getting enough sleep, maybe she just needs less than most?

      I can relate though. The only difference is that with DD1 the sleep battles come and go, and she does feel it the next day if she takes ages to fall asleep.

      I can't offer advice because i haven't found anything that works, but just tonight I read something which I'm going to try.....:

      It's a two-pronged approach basically - work out what's causing them to not want to sleep and address that, then break the negative sleep association.

      On the first, are your expectations of how much sleep she needs excessive? At this age some kids apparently need less than 10 hours sleep in a 24 hour period. It could be as simple as that. If they're fine the next day, then they've had enough sleep. Are they watching tv programs which aren't age- appropriate? Maybe it leads to stress or big thoughts they can't turn off in bed. A new sibling is apparently classic - I think that's the case with us, dd1 wants one on one attention and gets it through bedtime drama, so I need to find a way to give her more one on one attention at other times.

      On the second point - they get used to bedtime being frustrating for everyone concerned, so it's like a subconscious sleep association for them. Ie, I'm tired, let's start the drama because that's the routine. So this article said to get them to go to bed late for a few days, but spend the 1-2 hours before bed in dim lighting, doing something quiet. The idea is that they go to bed without drama, are super sleepy because they're staying up extra late, so they stop orchestrating the drama. After this, bring their bedtime forward by 15-30 minutes per day until it's where you need it to be. (But again, make sure your expectations are realistic.)

      I haven't tried any of this yet but tomorrow is another day. My 8mo baby is going through a sleep regression too so nights are hard right now.


      • #4
        You’ve described every single night in our house. I do lie with them to get them to sleep. There’s a surprising amount of questions about piercings from my 8yo 🤷‍♀️


        • #5
          Getting a six year old to sleep!!

          Maybe she just needs help falling asleep.

          You could try melatonin. My youngest (7 years old) has it to help her go to sleep. She struggles and has done for a few years. See a gp first. You can’t buy it over the counter here but you can buy it from America online [emoji848]