My eight year old son Matthew has been having trouble getting to sleep and staying in his own bed lately. My husband works nights, and the nights he is off, Matthew goes to bed and stays there-no problem whatsoever!. The other nights of the week when it's just me is another story. He begs for a later bedtime, and to sleep with me. He keeps coming into my room and waking me up (and I have trouble falling asleep in the first place, so this is a problem for me-it can take me an hour to fall back to sleep.) I tuck him in every night, rub his back, talk to him about his day, put on a Beatles cd, and sing to him . He knows I'm right down the hall, I leave the hall light on, etc. He's not having any problems at school or anything. He is still upset over our cat's death last fall, though We have adopted two cats, whom he loves dearly. I'm sorry to ramble, but again, I did not sleep well last night! When he comes into my room after tucking him in, I give him a hug, tell him I love him and I'll see him in the morning and send him back to his bed. (unless of course he's sick). I don't know what else to do.
If he is really upset about something, I will let him stay with me, but that is difficult as well. He is SUCH a fidgety sleeper, and kicks me continually (while he's asleep). so I don't get much sleep then, either....
I posted about this on another message board where I'm a member, and received responses ranging from "lock your door" "get tough with him" "take away privileges if he gets out of bed." "why don't you serve him snacks in bed if he's upset and stay home from school (sarcastic ). I'm regretting posting the question there. I don't think I should punish him for having trouble sleeping!
"I can't change the world, but I can change the world in me. I rejoice!"-Rejoice by U2
Honestly, sleep really is about being disciplined. Even for those of us who are adults who have trouble sleeping, we have to make sure to not do things in bed but sleep, focus on specific thoughts/non-thoughts, meditate or have tea before bed, etc. We must work similarly with children, no?
The fact he does it when it's only you implies this is a behavioral issue between the two of you. I'm inclined to suggest that you be firmer, and that once he's in his room, he should stay there (maybe read later, but not come out?). Maybe if you set up a specific evening routine to follow, or are more active with him in the evening, he'll sleep easier?
The fact he does it when it's only you implies this is a behavioral issue between the two of you. I'm inclined to suggest that you be firmer, and that once he's in his room, he should stay there (maybe read later, but not come out?).
I'm inclined to agree with this. If he stays in bed just fine when your husband is home, then he's not having sleep issues. You're having discipline issues.
I realize that may be what you're hearing on the other board and maybe dont' want to hear, but given the info we have, I'd say you need to take it into account.
I'd say you need to set limits with him. If he wakes up in the middle of the night and wants to read quietly or whatever, then he can, but he is not allowed to come wake you up unless he is ill or there's an emergency. 8 years old is plenty old enough to understand that concept.
I'm not a mom, but I have experience with this sort of situation. I was the kid who wanted to sleep with her mom. This was years and years and years ago, but I remember being very stubborn about it. I would refuse to sleep in my own bed. I would act terribly dramatic about being alone. I would beg and cry and plead to sleep in my parents' bed instead of my own. I could see the foot of their bed from my door and I would still cry and beg to sleep with them. I don't know why I did this. I wasn't afraid or upset.
If your son isn't have any other behavioral or school-related problems, then I'd say that you won't be hurting him by being more firm. When I was eight, my grandmother bought me a new daybed. I was told that I could only have the bed if I slept in it. No questions asked, no exceptions. I could not ask to sleep with my parents or the bed would be taken away. And you know what? I slept in that bed, and I never asked to sleep with my parents again. It never even crossed my mind. I'm not saying you need to go out and buy him a new bed (expensive!), but I guess what I'm trying to say is that this isn't something that will be hard for him to get over if you are firm enough about it.
My sister gave her kid one get out of bed coupon. She could use it for water no treats or that extra hug or kiss. Then off to bed and not out til morning. At 1st she cried but then new this was a rule. (unless sick) They designed the coupon together. It turned out to be a comfort for both my sister and her daughter. For my sister she knew that after the coupon was used then she could truely sleep. My niece grew confident in knowing she could. "hold out"
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
"We do not know the true value of our moments
until they have undergone the test of memory."
In Memory Of Lessofsarahtolove
I love the coupon idea that is awesome. I have problems with them not staying in bed at times but they rarely just come to my room. Lilly and William will ask occassionally to sleep with me and I usually tell them they will have to wait a day (unless it's been a rough day or one of them is sick) so it let's them know they can do it every once in a while but not all the time.
Mine have all tried that. Determine what is rewarding to him and set up a system whereby he sees positive consequences to his staying in bed.
5 nights that he stays in bed after you tuck him in, he gets to ____ (whatever is rewarding to him-go for a sundae alone with dad, go to a movie, eat at McDonalds, go fishing with a relative).
Next time aroud it's 10 nights in a row followed by a different reward. Then 15, then 25 then 35. At that point he will be in the habit of not getting out of bed and you can drop the rewards and he probably won't notice.
Make a chart and put it on the fridge. It works as long as the reward is something that they normally don't get to do or have.
Just throwing this out there...has something happened that would make him scared? Has he watched a horror movie or did something else happen? When I was 7 or so our house was broken in to and to this day when it's just my mom and I, I do not feel as safe as when my dad is there. Same thing now, I am in an apartment by myself b/c my bf got a job in another state and I have a hard time sleeping most nights. So this may be a possibility. As with horror movies, I am almost 22 and if I watch one I do not sleep at all unless my bf or my dad are there. It's weird but I sleep even better when my older brother and my dad are both home. It's a safety issue. I feel safe and sound knowing everyone is in there bed and if something happens I don't have to worry.
Another possibility was there a car wreck or something happen at your DH's job that maybe he overheard and he's worried about dad coming home? These are all just ideas, but there's some reason that he's doing it. I just brought this up because if it was an issue of behavioral things or something like that I would think that he would still ask when you husband is home, however he sleeps great when he's there.
Personally, I do not like the idea of locking the door. This is just my opinion and I hope I don't offend anyone, but when you are there by yourself and you lock your door and he tries to come in what kind of message is that to him? I honestly feel like there is something else going on and I would say maybe sit down and see if theres anything bothering him.
Hope this helps
SW: 195 CW: 193 Ugh GW: 150
Last edited by Rhighlan86 : 02-15-2008 at 03:01 AM.
These are all just ideas, but there's some reason that he's doing it. I just brought this up because if it was an issue of behavioral things or something like that I would think that he would still ask when you husband is home,
Seriously with ALL respect and not meaning any insult or anything like that ... at 22 and with no kids, I have to say that you're way off base.
Kids know that they can relate to different poeple different ways. They know that each parent is different. Especially at 8. The fact that the kid doesn't do it when his dad is home is ... well ... normal.
The reason that he's doing it (IMO, and based on the information supplied) is becuase he knows he can. If dad were home, he couldn't get away with it, so he doesn't. But he knows mom is a big softie and will be nice about it ... so he does.
What does dad do for a living? Does he have a job where a 8 year old think he might be in danger? He could just be worried about dad when he's away. Has he told you any specific reasons why he wants to sleep with you when dad is away?
You say that your beloved pet passed away last year - an 8 year old can have very vivid imaginations, and death - though it's a natuaral part of life - can be a new and horrifying experience to them - whether it's a pet or person.
I would sit him down and have him explain why exactly it is that he feels he needs the security of sleeping with you at night time
Last edited by tamaralynn : 02-15-2008 at 09:16 AM.
I just brought it up because that is the reason I slept with my mom when my dad was gone. I'm just basing my advice off of what i have learned from 4 years of child developmental psychology and personal experience. It was only ideas and I just thought I would throw it out there because it's a possibility. No offense to anyone.