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Granddaughter afraid to sleep

(29 Posts)
BluebellGran Wed 08-Apr-20 20:10:38

Looking for advice from you grans please. My granddaughter has become very afraid of vomiting and can’t sleep. She is 8 and doesn’t have any health problems but has developed this fear. I wondered if giving her a placebo (pretend anti sick medicine) would reassure her. Any advice please?

EllanVannin Wed 08-Apr-20 20:17:38

I would suggest counselling but this is a bad time for appointments as it is.
A visit to the GP first to explain the concerns about the child as it's a phobia of sorts.

phoenix Wed 08-Apr-20 20:24:11

Placebo might help, BluebellGran at least will no harm! Could even use a vitamin pill?

Urmstongran Wed 08-Apr-20 20:28:02

Poor chicken. No advice really just didn’t want to read & run. Perhaps Google and see if any advice? Or mumsnet? I get where you’re coming from with the placebo. What the heck? A spoon of vitamin syrup that’s mind over matter. Tempting in the short term to calm the sleep anxiety.

Good luck. Other grans will probably be more helpful.

rosenoir Wed 08-Apr-20 20:29:09

Poor little thing, I think a placebo is a good idea.

ExD Wed 08-Apr-20 20:35:14

Get the parents to phone their surgery and ask for a phone chat. Doctors are doing this sort of consultation now and its a very good beginning to getting something done. He/she might well agree with the placebo idea, but make sure she doesn't recognise the bottle/packet of medicine if you're using something you already have in the cupboard, perhaps decant it into a medical looking package, all very ''grown up". You need to keep her trust.
Bless her - I wonder what started that, something she's seen on the TV?

jacq10 Wed 08-Apr-20 20:37:37

Definitely try the placebo but I wonder if she is picking up what's going on in the country just now without knowing the whole story or talking about it with someone. Even just catching sight of some of the scenes on tv just now could be upsetting her - it's amazing how much children are aware of what's going on. Before the restrictions came into force I was helping out with DGs class (10yr olds) walking to and from their swimming lessons and the discussion between them was all about the virus and how it started and most of them were very aware of what was happening.

BluebellGran Wed 08-Apr-20 20:37:59

Thank you Ellen and Phoenix. I’ve suggested using travel bands just to reassure her.
Any other ideas gratefully received.

BluebellGran Wed 08-Apr-20 21:01:40

Thank you all. 💕

Elegran Wed 08-Apr-20 21:24:16

Perhaps what would be useful might be the nausea remedy I used when I was pregnant and felt carsick whenever we were driving anywhere. If I held an apple under my nose the nice fresh smell banished the queasy feeling. You wouldn't be telling any actual fibs by telling her that would help her stomach feel better.

Could it be that she hears talk about "sick people" dying and thinks that "sick" means vomiting? If she is anxious about vomiting anyway (a lot of children are) her stomach will react to make her feel she might be sick, and she gets in a vicious circle. You could also explain that the virus makes people ill, but not sick to their stomach, so even if she caught it she wouldn't vomit - and anyway most people get better, we just don't want all to get it at once, so we are keeping well away from each other so that we all get a turn to stay in bed and be looked after if we do catch it.

harrigran Wed 08-Apr-20 23:32:27

I would give her a small glass of diluted juice and tell her it is anti sickness medicine with juice in to disguise the taste. Auto suggestion can be a good thing.

Chestnut Wed 08-Apr-20 23:49:20

I agree the reference to 'sick' may be her actually meaning (or confusing) illness because of the virus. She may be suffering anxiety. Keep her away from virus information on TV and don't talk about the pandemic in front of her. She needs to focus on other things, so keep her involved in activities which will distract her from feeling anxious. A placebo at bedtime can't do any harm and will ease her mind.

Hithere Thu 09-Apr-20 03:38:35

How are her parents managing it?

Administering medication, even placebo, is not advisable. There is a reason why it is happening and it is best to find that out, not to put just a patch on it (placebo solution)

Elegran Thu 09-Apr-20 08:41:17

If medical-seeming placebos work, then she will grow up believing that if you are too anxious to sleep, you should take a sleeping pill to cure the insomnia. However, the anxiety will still be there. It is far better to get rid of the anxiety that is causing the sleeplessness.

Better to detach in her mind the "sickness" that is illness from the "sickness" that is nausea, and/or to explain that worrying makes your stomach worry too, and squeeze your food up, so if she gets rid of the worry, her stomach won't be so worried and she won't feel sick (sick as in nauseous) Keep it at a level she can understand and accept, of course, and don't give her more to get anxious about!

Then give her some NON-medical remedy to make her feel that she is in charge of her feelings (and her body's reactions) - perhaps deep breathing, the kind that involves the stomach muscles and counteracts the knotted sensation brought on by fear.

Ae there any simple yoga exercises that would help?

Alexa Thu 09-Apr-20 08:50:23

Elegran, what a good idea! It was some time before I got used to 'sick' meaning something other than vomit or nausea. This may because I was Scottish, there are regional usages.

Is Bluebellgran's grand daughter perhaps a little Scottish girl?

Elegran Thu 09-Apr-20 10:01:24

I also wonder whether her parents are anxious too, and that anxiety rubs on on her? Children are very sensitive to the feelings of the adults around them, even (or even more so) when they don't really understand what is going on.

Daddima Thu 09-Apr-20 10:04:02

What do her parents want to do?

FarNorth Thu 09-Apr-20 10:08:06

Check up on what she sees online, as well as TV reports.
Even with a child filter on a device, inappropriate stuff can get through.

Calendargirl Thu 09-Apr-20 10:29:05

I think as others have said, the word ‘sick’ has become confused in her mind.
If her parents explain everything to her, calmly and no drama, it should help her surely. And keep her away from worrying news updates.
I would not have thought counselling should be necessary at all if she trusts what her parents tell her.

Saxifrage Thu 09-Apr-20 10:42:20

I think it is particularly hard for young children at present. I have GCs aged 4 and 7. They have had nightmares and pretty difficult behaviour for last few weeks. They are coping with their school, all their friends and all their close relations suddenly disappearing and any explanations will be rather difficult to understand. Telephone and video is not a very satisfactory alternative. The 4 year old had a nightmare about her parents and sister getting on a bus and she was left on the pavement. It is not surprising she should be wondering who will disappear next! I think it is probably good if you can get them talking about how they feel and sympathise with their feelings.

ValerieF Thu 09-Apr-20 13:30:56

I would be careful about 'pretending' by giving placebos too. Has she had a lot of vomiting phases? When did it start? After schools closing etc. I feel she is probably worrying herself over talk of virus and how many 'sick' people have died. Is she living with you? (someone may have suggested this) If so, talk to her, reassure her, ask her what she thinks would make her feel less sick. She will eventually overcome the fear. Nothing is normal these days so even letting her sleep in your bed might help in the short term? Above all limit screen time especially news programmes.

Get her more active during the day if she is spending lots of time in doors. Playing games in garden. If no garden then fitness videos on utube or indoor fun games and then reading books before bed? All things you may have tried but am sure she will get over it if she is normally well and happy child.

EllanVannin Thu 09-Apr-20 13:55:25

I feel that anything like using wristbands would be too much like an autosuggestion if you understand----a reminder of why the child is wearing it ? If you get my meaning.

Hithere Fri 10-Apr-20 13:26:11

Who remembers Robin William's "the birdcage"

That movie is so hilarious, one of my favourites.

At the beginning of the movie, the buttler gives one of the main characters a placebo to make him feel better when that main character felt panicky. The main character calms down and goes down to perform.

While it is funny on movies, it is not a real solution

Daddima Fri 10-Apr-20 13:35:42

I wonder if * Bluebellgran* is the wee one’s main carer? If not, I’d find a lot of the suggestions here quite interfering if I were the parents, but maybe they’d be glad of suggestions, then they can make the decisions.

M0nica Fri 10-Apr-20 13:41:38

What about a ginger biscuit, almost all of us probably nibbled them in pregnancy to stem the awful morning sickness.