Things I Don’t Know About Getting My Kids to Sleep

Get the f*ck to sleep

Oh, how I get this book…image courtesy

I know this post should be about the things I know, but this week I am rather perplexed about my children’s new found “issues” when going to sleep. And it’s not just one, nor two, it is all three who, for some reason this week, are usually still awake after 8.30pm.

Seriously, what’s up with that? Don’t they realise Mummy and Daddy need kid-free time each evening? Don’t they appreciate that Mummy would really love to watch an episode of Glee or Beauty and the Geek in full AND free from unwelcome nocturnal disturbances? Is that really too much to ask?

All pathetic attempts at jokes aside, it is really getting frustrating to still have them awake well after their bedtime. And it seems each child has their own reasons for failing to enter the land of nod.

Gilbert Bear has always tended to stay up a bit later but can usually be relied upon to read books quietly in bed until he feels tired. This week he has been disturbed by storms we had earlier in the week (he has a real phobia in relation to storms and thunder and lightning).

Add in his natural anxiety surrounding his transition visits to his local school and I think I know why he is having trouble going to sleep. I just don’t know what to do to relieve his stress and anxiety and get him snoozing (in his own bed) before 9pm!

Matilda Bear has never been the greatest sleeper – she often suffers from nightmares and night terrors – and has always had trouble going to sleep. But this week has been pretty bad, even by her standards, and I don’t know what to do to make things better.

She has blamed the heat for her struggles going to sleep which I can understand – it has been stifling at times this week – but that hasn’t been the case every night. One night she was too busy cleaning up her desk to bother even trying to go to sleep (the joys of the Aspergers child!) while on another night she was too preoccupied entertaining her baby sister to waste her energy on snoozing…

Which brings me to Delilah Bear. From day 1, Delilah has been one of those “good” sleepers. She started sleeping through at the age of 4 months and has always self settled herself. I’ve rarely needed to intervene to get her to sleep or to keep her asleep. She has been so easy!

However, this week she has been more unsettled than she’s ever been.  I know it is a combination of teething (the poor possum is getting all four of her eye teeth in one painful go) and being disturbed by Matilda’s nocturnal activities (the girls share a room). But it’s still hard to see your normally settled 18 month old, wide awake and upset, 2 hours after her normal bedtime…

So, short of reading them “Go the F*ck to Sleep” (which may be slightly inappropriate), I’m sort of out of ideas as to how to get them settled and off to sleep at a reasonable hour. Do you have any ideas to help me reclaim my coveted uninterrupted 7.30pm TV viewing time?

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18 Responses

  1. kirri says:

    Kids – they’re just fun-interrupters sometimes! I always try to remind myself that it is temporary and they will settle back into their ‘normal’ routines soonish. When sickness, nightmares or other factors come into play, kids just get unsettled….I know Im not much help but I do empathize and wish you luck!
    kirri recently posted..Things I know – Listening is therapy

    • Kirsty says:

      Thanks Kirri! I certainly hope that it’s temporary and normal sleep patterns will return soon. I know in the scheme of things it’s not that bad but some nights my patience is waning fast!

  2. Can certainly relate to this at the moment. I think daylight savings has made it harder for Ella to settle of a night. I’ve given her Holly’s little lulllaby dog the last few nights, which she’s been cuddling up to and drifting off to sleep with. That doesn’t happen every night though. Some nights she’s still up at 9pm reading her “friends” books. 🙁
    Kellie @ Three Li’l Princesses recently posted..What would your last meal be?

    • Kirsty says:

      It’s hard when you know they need the sleep but they continue to fight it. Somehow Gilbert goes to sleep late and wakes up early every morning and operates fine,while the girls will tend to sleep in when they’ve had a late night. This is fine on the weekends but not so fine on weekdays when we have to stick to a tight schedule in the mornings. I hope you find some way to settle Ella for bedtime soon too!

  3. Grace says:

    I have no tips for you, I’m afraid…I’m still going through a sleep deprivation haze at the moment. If I ever come out of it, I’ll let you know 🙂
    Grace recently posted..Things I Know…in Random Order

    • Kirsty says:

      I think we all have some level of sleep deprivation, Grace! I suppose this is harder for me to take right now as I was just getting used to having a bit more sleep again, after 7 and a half years…oh well, I knew it was too good to last!!!

  4. Jayne says:

    Have you tried kids’ guided meditation/relaxation CDs? If you have an ithing (pad, phone, pod) you can download some from the app store or even a podcast. My daughter’s favourite one is by Stin Hansen, which can be found doing a search in itunes.

    Good luck 🙂
    Jayne recently posted..Things I Know

    • Kirsty says:

      Ooh, I do have an iPad – I will have to have a look at these. The kids sometimes listen to CD stories when going to bed but I think they get distracted listening to them rather than relaxing. Meditation CDs sound like something I should definitely try – thanks Jayne!

  5. Skyelee says:

    Our Miss 3 is putting us through exactly the same thing at the moment! It is taking between an hour and an hour and a half of returning her to bed to get her to stay there and I am SO over it. I don’t know what has triggered the change, she was always a good sleeper, but my mum says I was exactly the same at this age so I guess I just have to ride it out. No words of wisdom for you Kirsty :-(, but wish you all the best, and soundly sleeping children again soon!
    Skyelee recently posted..Things I Know – The Random Edition

    • Kirsty says:

      Skylee, I know it’s not fun for either of us but at least we’re not alone!!!! Let’s hope our kids all return to normal sleeping routines sooner rather than later!

  6. Ai Sakura says:

    I have given up on my girl being able to sleep through the whole night. We now take each night as it comes. That is all 😛
    Ai Sakura recently posted..Korea 2011: Seoul Animation Centre & Cartoon Museum

    • Kirsty says:

      You know Ai, there is something to be said for having no expectations – that way you can’t be disappointed! I hope you are pleasantly surprised sometime soon and get that full night’s sleep you deserve!

  7. Jayne says:

    It doesn’t take much for them to form new habits, does it? My youngest used to sleep so well until she got older – now she’s awake until long after I am – her imagination runs wild and she’s very restless.

    She’s old enough now that she can use calming sprays and meditation techniques. A drop of lavender on her pillow helps too.

    Good luck!
    Jayne recently posted..Things I Know, M~o~vember

    • Kirsty says:

      Thanks for the support and the tips Jayne. I’m hoping this week isn’t the start of new habits for the three of them…please say it isn’t so!!!!

  8. Marita says:

    What is it about this week? We’ve had a nightmare with getting both girls to sleep, despite giving them both melatonin which up till now had been working very well.

    Bring on a week of good sleeping I say.
    Marita recently posted..Autism Hero Highlights

    • Kirsty says:

      Full moon perhaps? I hope things settle down soon too – after a full-on day all I want to do is have some much needed time out – the last thing I need is endless visits to bedrooms to sort the kids out!!!!

  9. Sara says:

    Is it the moon? My 2yo is sitting on my lap now, watching relaxing songs on Youtube, this usually puts him to sleep within 15 minutes when he’s in one of “those” moods, but tonight he’s rubbing his eyes lots and watching one song after the other and still can’t sleep!!!!
    Sara recently posted..Melbourne Museum and a rant about "disabled" toilets

    • Kirsty says:

      Well at least I’m not the only one suffering – it seems there’s something going on with most of our kids this week. Fingers and toes crossed it will be better for us all next week!

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