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Is there any end in sight??

Posted by muskokamommy (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 21, 02 at 0:51

I don't even know where to begin!! My 4 year old won't go to bed. This has been going on for about a month now, but before that we fell into the trap of letting her go to bed in our room or if we were going to bed early she just came and fell into bed with us and we took her to bed later (or not!)She is up now until 11pm(maybe later, maybe earlier) It's not like I don't know how to remedy the situation, but the process is soooo painful. She is also been challenging everything lately. At least more so than usual. As far as she is concerned, everything is negotiatable!! It's exhausting. I feel like all I do is yell. My DD is what you may call a spirited child. Full
of life and fun and laughter! What a personality. Never a dull moment. Oh what I wouldn't give for a dull moment! She is constantly getting into things and they all make a mess. I guess I could supervise her more closely, but I would have to be following her around constantly. She plays with soap, lotion, shampoo, makeup, powder etc. When I catch her she says she is "Just making a craft Mommy!" I do make her clean up, she must feel it was worth it because it goes on and on. I am trying to keep things out of reach, but where there is a will there is a way.

My good friend has a DD who never challenges her at all. She only has to say no once on most occasions. She is very low key. She just can't believe the things I tell her sometimes. I do think she has more rules than I do, but they are menial things like no going outside without shoes. I guess we will eventually ease back into a more appropriate bedtime. Tonight it took me an hour or more to get her to sleep. She had all these things she needed before she would go to sleep. Of course I could see right through it, but she still ended up in our bed!! I just had to get up to vent. Thanks for listening. I don't really need any help. Trust me I am VERY aware of all that I am doing right and wrong. My DD makes me laugh just as hard as she makes me cry, but does anyone else have any frustrating stories to tell?? Sharon


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Is there any end in sight??

I think some children are just easier than others, just like some adults are easier than others! My oldest son is such a pushover. What an easy child he was when he was little! The problem is, he's now a young adult and still the same way. Doesn't seem to be able to really stand up for himself and be assertive when he needs to be. NOW, my youngest son is like your little daughter! He was the difficult one, very stubborn. Here's the way I look at it: while these children can be hard to raise, look at the bright side! She'll be an assertive adult, someone who is determined and will not let anyone tell her there's something she can't do. I know this doesn't help you much now, sorry. You'll just have to dig in your heels and be firm with her. And keep in mind that somewhere in that little body is a strong, assertive woman just waiting to come out!


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RE: Is there any end in sight??

We messed up. When DD was a year old, DH was hospitalized and we spent a month in the hospital. We missed DD like crazy. So for purely selfish reasons, we started sleeping with her when we got out of the hospital.

Only problem is, once you start, you Can't stop! (not without a lot of pain and suffering :-) )

So what I did was this:
We remodeled DD's room. (She's 4 now). She got to pick the colors for the paint. She picked a beautiful powdery blue. Then we bought stars for the ceiling, and a star nightlight (from Target).

Then I got a bribe (call it what it is). I gave her the Hello Kitty CD player/cassette player from Target. But I told her it was conditional on her sleeping in her own bed. No exceptions.

She's been sleeping in her own bed for a month now. Not a single problematic night. Every few nights, she'll play the procrastination card, calling me a few times. But I have a routine that helps. Two books, then a lullaby she loves, about a bunny (see below). Then it's good night.

DH has almost caved in with her on those procrastination nights. But I told him once we give in, it'll never work.

Anyway, we are now happily enjoying normal bedtimes now! DD loves the stars glowing on the ceiling. She loves playing a little soft music on her own CD player at bedtime.

Cost of paint and CD player? $60
Cost of getting to sleep alone with your husband? Priceless!

Words to lullaby (sung to tune of hush little baby dont you cry):
Hush little cottontail don't you hop
Mama's gonna bring you a carrot-top.
If that carrot-top should wilt
Mama's gonna bring you a clover quilt.
If that clover's buzzin' with a bee
Mama's gonna bring you some dandelion tea.
If that tea spills on the ground,
You're still gonna be the cutest little bunny around.


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RE: Is there any end in sight??

I am just going to tell you my philosophy as a teacher and that has run over into parenting. If you control the little things, many of the big things don't happen.

Hear me out on this!
Recently our area did a big crackdown and driving and auto violations. Tail light out? You got pulled over and ticketed. Not warned, ticketed. Driving fast- same thing. Guess what? the crime rate dropped. What is the connection? Well criminals typically don't obey the law in other areas either. They picked up a lot of people on outstanding warrents because they were stopped for speeding etc. Stop some of the little things and many of the bigger items are taken care of as a consequence.

So- am I saying our kids are criminals. NO!!!

What I am saying though is being strict on some of the little things forces them to realize that you mean business on the bigger things too.

Teacher's don't say 'ok just this once you can chew gum'. Teachers will pick an easy thing to see and enforce- no gum chewing, when I see it, you spit it out. They are consistant. Teacher's who do this (pick any rule) usually find that they have less problems because then when they say 'no talking back' or "fire, get outside' or whatever- the kids believe what the teacher says and generally do it.

I try to carry this through with my kids. It's a lot easier as a teacher to do it when the kid leaves at the end of the day than as a parent when you are with the kid 24/7. But the general rule is the same- Take care of the little things and many of the big things will work themselves out.

Dealing with it matter of factly and calmly also helps. I tell my son to pick up his toys. I tell him again and warn him that if he's not doing it when I count to three or the timer rings that I will pick them up and he won't be able to play with them. He doesn't pick them up- I just go over and pick them up and say something like 'these are mine now and I'm going to take them for a while.' When he cries I just say "I can understand your upset and maybe next time you will do what I ask'.

So how does that all tie into a going to bed situation? I think maybe enforcing some of the little rules and then telling her she's goign to stay in bed if you have to carry her back there every time she gets out of bed might help. It is just an idea based on how I think parenting works based on how teaching works and child development classes teach. What do I know? I have a pretty easy going kid and it can't all be good parenting. (although I like to think so).

The other thing I think works well in situations like this is not punishment or discipline but being very matter of fact when she doesn't do as you want. When she does do as you want- like stay in bed 10 minutes- praise her. Again very matter of factly- good job sweety, you stayed in bed 10 minutes. I liked that. Come on, I'll walk you back to bed and you can aim for 15.

Sometimes I just give my child permission to do what he wants to do and it takes away the excitement. I'll even set a timer for my kid- when this timer goes off, you can go get a drink of water and then it's back to bed for you. He gets in bed and waits for the timer- the timer goes off in ten minutes. I tell him great job and he gets the water. Because he knows what is expected out of him - he drinks the water and runs back to bed. He knows if he does't jump back in bed, he'll never be given permission to get out. Soemtimes he asks for the timer again. So I set it for 20 min. and tell him- when it goes off you can come get a hug. Usually he's asleep before too long and I just turn the timer off. If he gets out of bed before the timer rings- I walk him back in there and tell him that I'm sorry, but he didn't stick to his part so I am not going to set the timer and he can't get water or I'm going to reset the timer and we can try again. This takes the control of how he gets out of bed away from him and gives it back to you- you control when she gets out of bed. Eventually you can extend the time she lays there and soon you can take the timer out of the situation. The novelty is gone from trying to get out of bed and sleep with mom.

You lay in your bed for 10 min. and when the timer goes off you can come lay in our bed for five minutes, then it's back to bed for you.

It's an idea that has worked well for some situation both in the classroom and with my own child.

Also remember, no one graduates high school still sleeping with their parents. This too shall pass.

Ginger


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RE: Is there any end in sight??

You will just have to be consistant. Some days you will be tired and just want to give in, but you can't if you want to get your daughter back in her bed. Say she wakes in the middle of the night and is sick or scared or something like that, maybe you can give in here or there but if it becomes a nightly pattern or something, stop it because she's using it as an excuse to get what she wants. A few days of being consistant with your rules and not giving in will change things. Also try re-evaluating the routine you have now. Maybe it's just not working. Maybe your daughter naps during the day and it makes her not tired at night? Maybe she's going to bed too early? Try changing things and finding a good bedtime for your DD. Our 3 year old goes to bed at 10:30-11pm everynight and sleeps until 9-9:30am every morning. He also takes a nap in the afternoon around 2pm. For him this is what works. He can't go to bed at 7:30-8pm like other kids his age may. I don't work so there is no need to have him up at 5am in the morning and this works for us. We also like that we can do family things in the evening and early night and not have to worry about missing his bedtime or not being able to attend say a carnival because it's his bedtime. He plays hard at night and wears down and sleeps good then.

I was thinking also, that maybe she's been harder to deal with because she's not getting enough sleep? I know when our DS, 3, sleeps with us for any amount of time at night, we're all getting a restless night's sleep. He sleeps so much better and is more rested when he's in his own room and in his own bed. So she may be cranky and that's what is causing the problems.

I also have to add that your DD is probably going through a stage at this point. Kids get more vocal and try you more in the 3-4 year old age and up. A lot of it is just that they are testing you and the boundaries. It's an important time to stick to your guns. Our DS is usally a sweet and loving boy but in the past month or so we've seen many fits. He'll yell or scream or back talk and he didn't before. We've learned to punish him and not do what he says if he doesn't ask nicely. Others who've had kids said it's a stage they go through around this age. We just can't let him think that we're going to tolerate his new behavior or it will continue.


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