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Sleep routines and destructive behaviour

(33 Posts)
Paul2706 Sun 10-Feb-19 13:01:27

Hello to all I am at my wits end and running out of ideas I have two granddaughters aged 4 and 2 respectively. They live with me and my wife 24/7 due to marriage breakdown and d's post natal depression. D visits kids a few times a week and kids seem to enjoy the visits. However lately they refuse towill sleep in their bedroom which eir results in a battle of wills lasting all night us putting them back in their room they get back up and if not they just destruct what they can.
We are both surviving on about 4 hours sleep per night and are desperately seeking any tips to break the cycle professionals have given advice but when it don't work they pull out so this is a last resort anyone any ideas will be more than welcome.

BlueBelle Sun 10-Feb-19 13:33:15

I m afraid I may be taken to the cleaners here but when my kids went through bad sleep periods I took the path of least resistance and either popped into bed with them or they with me I realise this wouldn’t work for everyone and perhaps goes against heath visitors doctors advice but it always worked for me it’s usually down to fear, needing comfort, or some destructive thoughts all made worse by the ‘battle of wills’ It didn’t lead to me having children in my bed for the rest of my life it was just that for those periods I got my sleep and kids got their comfort

They may love seeing your daughter but it may upset them and unsettle them they are very young to be parted from their mum and dad, well done you for looking out for them but don’t make it a battle please, it ll harm all of you

Farmor15 Sun 10-Feb-19 13:43:00

I’d agree with BlueBelle - sometimes sleeping with the children is the easiest option- means everyone gets some sleep. It might mean either you or your wife sleeping in room with them, or else bringing them into your room. Mattress on the floor or camp bed if you don’t want them in bed with you.
Even children who haven’t been separated from parents can go through periods of night waking, and being scared.

stella1949 Sun 10-Feb-19 14:44:56

I agree with the other posters - these children have had a very upsetting time of it. Who knows what goes on in their heads, and at such a young age. I'd either move into their bedroom with them, or let them sleep in with you - either in your bed or on mattresses on the floor. They need reassurance and this is the way to give it to them. They've been left by their parents - maybe they are fearful that you'll disappear too.

wildswan16 Sun 10-Feb-19 14:48:58

They must be pretty confused at the moment and that may be disturbing their sleep. I would suggest one of you sleep in the same room as them with the door shut so they can't escape. That way at least one person gets a good night's sleep.

Also, make sure they have lots of outside playtime/walks if possible so that they are properly tired. Plus a good bedtime countdown routine - exactly the same every night with calm bathtime and storytime.

M0nica Sun 10-Feb-19 14:50:09

They must be feeling very disturbed and upset and this can make children very clingy, but I can see that you too need your sleep.

I think some kind of co-sleeping may be the best thing for the time being and then start putting them to bed in their room and saying they can come into your room, but not until you go to bed, with luck they will be so asleep when you come up they will start sleeping through.

The final stage is staying in their own bedroom. If they come into your room, do not speak to them or kiss or cuddle them, just take them back to their own bedroom and put them into bed and keep doing that until they get the message. This may result in you having a week or two of sleepless nights, but choose your time for doing the two of you do it, night on/night off.

You have my very sincere sympathy, you have a difficult problem, but it can be contained over time.

Katyj Sun 10-Feb-19 15:32:51

Your doing an amazing job .The little girls must be so confused .I agree with the other posters, don't make this a battle, have you got room to put the girls bed at the side of yours, I did this with my son it saved me getting in and out of bed, I just used to reach out and touch him when he stirred , much easier.Then of course, he was much more settled through the day, because he had slept well, and so was I. Hope everything works out for you all.

Feelingmyage55 Sun 10-Feb-19 16:29:38

These children must be so upset. As adults, I think all problems seem more difficult during the night and it will be the same for your grandchildren. They need reassurance and comfort. Co sleeping is almost certainly the answer. As they become settled, they will sleep alone - perhaps sharing a bedroom with one another once this stage is reached. You are wonderful for looking after them and caring so much. I hope you can look after yourselves as well.

EllanVannin Sun 10-Feb-19 17:25:51

Separation anxiety is the reason for the children's behaviour.
In a way it's normal but when it shows itself as a real disorder the only route is professional help.
It's very distressing for both the children and also care-givers as it affects the whole family.
Perhaps your next port of call would be the GP to explain these problems, plus the effect it's having on your own health and hopefully you'll be guided from there.

Urmstongran Sun 10-Feb-19 17:50:59

Poor babies.
Poor you two.
Poor daughter with depression.

Already some sound advice on here and more to follow I bet.
You are both doing such an amazing thing for your family and I wish you all the best going forward.

BlueBelle Sun 10-Feb-19 17:53:06

I m so happy I thought you were all going to jump on me

Please do comfort these poor little lives hold them tight till they sleep they are little for such a short period of time and you ll all have a good night

Telly Sun 10-Feb-19 18:39:54

Have a look on Supernanny on You tube. Basically she seems to say after putting them them bed, usual routine etc. If they get up you put them back to bed. Again. And Again. Doesn't matter how long it takes you have to be persistent, don't engage in discussion, or give them milk etc. after the normal routine. It seems to work for her.

PECS Sun 10-Feb-19 18:44:22

Oh I back the idea that the girls sleep in a big bed with a grown up and one grown up goes to a child's bed. Worked for us when ours were tots! At least we slept! They were not still sleeping in our beds all night when they got to school age!

aggie Sun 10-Feb-19 18:47:38

I hate Supernanny , poor browbeaten children

trisher Sun 10-Feb-19 18:53:30

My kids slept in our bed off and on for years. They would pop through announce they had had a bad dream and jump in. I can't function without sleep so it was the best option. A friend with 3 children close together had a double bed and a single pushed together, when all 3 waned to be in the bed someone would roll over into the single.
Just do whatever you find best. I can't stand to hear children crying so I never could do the leave a child to cry method.

Grannyben Sun 10-Feb-19 19:43:23

I've actually enjoyed reading this post. Two little ones who needed help, grandparents who have stepped up and supportive replies to the posters request for help.
No one can function without sufficient sleep, especially as we get older. So, do whatever you need to do to get through it. I wouldn't hesitate to co-sleep. It won't last forever and you will be able to face whatever the day throws at you if you've had a night's sleep.
Pat on the back to you both, I think you're probably doing an amazing job

trisher Sun 10-Feb-19 20:20:11

I just thought it might be good to look at past times. I shared a bedroom with my brother from birth to age 7. When my aunt who was a teenager stayed she slept in the same room in the bed with my brother. When I stayed at my GM's I shared her bed. My mother's uncles and aunts slept in 2 double beds in a girl's room and a boy's room. They only got their own bed when they left home. I think we sometimes forget how recent children sleeping alone is.

Paul2706 Sun 10-Feb-19 21:18:02

Thank you all for the advice and tips we have tried the putting back to bed but they just get up again hence our lack of sleep we are doing the Co sleeping though it is frowned upon by health professionals it works in part they sleep for 4 hours roughly then all hell hits about 6am and youngest just scatters whatever she can find lol we do what we do because the fathers took off after the births seems to be common nowadays but maybe I'm biased but thank you everyone makes the job easier now to try and grab some sleep!

Iam64 Sun 10-Feb-19 22:14:31

Paul, I’ve just caught up with this and I’m so,pleased to see your response to the advice to just get on with it, let the little ones climb into your bed if they need to. I’m not Adan of the super nanny approach and I don’t see How letting asmall child. Ry herself to sleep, calling this “self soothing” is anything other than cold and unkind
There is an army of grandparents in our country, stepping in to care for grandchildren and supporting their adult children - thankyoun

Paul2706 Mon 11-Feb-19 13:57:58

Thank you all once again I actually managed 5 hours sleep last night tidied up the bedroom and got the 4 year old to school with a minute to spare grin

Iam64 Mon 11-Feb-19 14:02:30

Great ! Most of the families I know with children under five are lucky to get 5 hours unbroken sleep. I don't know any who haven't fallen by the wayside in their determination to keep children in their own beds - co sleeping is the norm.

PECS Mon 11-Feb-19 14:14:14

Glad to hear things might be on the up! Tiredness can make everything else 10 times more difficult.

Little ones need 'dog training' !
Lots of attention when doing the right thing and hardly any when they do the wrong thing. When your little ones are throwing/ breaking things try hard not to respond. Difficult I know! But when they are playing or using something well you need to give them a hug or smile and say how good they are. Give over the top praise to turn the tide!

Children crave attention.. any attention and your DGD may have learned that up to now they only get it with bad behaviour. You need to show that they get attention for just being them & doing nothing and also by doing good things. hope that makes sense. Good luck!

MadeInYorkshire Mon 11-Feb-19 14:20:20

I will probably get jumped on to, but when my eldest was able to get out of her she was a nightmare - she also had colic until she was 17 months old. I was living in Scotland and my husband stayed in London all week, so I was absolutely shattered and also pregnant again! Thin we had a book called Toddler Taming which advocated the tying up of the door handle so that she could open it a few inches and see out, but not get out ... it took about a fortnight of being consistent but she did get the message and I got some sleep, eventually! You could try that and also make their room a bit more toddler proof?

trisher Mon 11-Feb-19 14:31:43

I am in the process of trying to convince my DGS that I cannot and will not get up at 5am. I find I need an early night when he stays, put him to bed exhausted at 7.30pm and go to bed myself about 8.30pm. He has been known to sleep until 7 am but often wakes in the night and comes into my bed. He was awake at 5am the other morning and I cuddled him talked quietly and sang and he did settle until 6.20am. I was so grateful for the extra hour.Paul you have my admiration and sympathy I don't think I could manage to do every day (or should that be every night).Do you have anyone who would take them for one night so that you could have a break?

BlueBelle Mon 11-Feb-19 15:21:32

Yes you will get jumped on madeinyorkshire I think that is a hideous idea not only completely harsh but the thoughts of safety issues if there was a fire the child couldn’t escape
Can you imagine the images and thoughts in a small frightened child s head who found the door locked (albeit with a couple of inches open) that is so cruel if I was that child I d scream all night
Paul please don’t consider anything like that they need love, care tenderness and security keep them in your bed until they want to go in their own it will get less and less as they grow but do it in their time please