NHM Readers: 5.5 year old not sleeping through!!

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook for help for myself! “I am hoping for your insights and suggestions. Miss NHM is STILL refusing to sleep through. She’s 5.5 years old and hasn’t slept through more than two nights in a row for the past 8 months. It’s worse now than when she was a newborn!?!?!? Mr NHM and I are averaging 4-6 hours sleep a night and with full time jobs, we are both on our KNEES! Has anyone else experienced this and if yes, how did you manage to get your child/children to sleep through?

These were the responses I received. They are in the order of response. 

Thank you to Shona for putting this post together!!!

NHM Readers help NHM!

Vicky said: It depends on why she wakes. Only had a problem when Ella was younger . We did the hand holding and creeping away quietly. Hard to know why she’s waking up . X

Saretta said: My son has only really started sleeping through since he started school in September..but he’s a nightmare to get to sleep at bedtime! We’ve tried everything, some nights he doesn’t fall asleep till 9.30!

Sue said: Agree with working out why she is waking and then maybe trying reward chart if she does sleep through? Once she has gained enough stickers she gets a treat?

Louise Nhm Smith responded: We are going to give that a go. Wish us luck!!! 😀

Gail said: I would agree here. Try bribery !! At least at 5 they understand what rewards mean!! Also the gro clock helps, tells them by colour when they can get out of bed!!

Ghislaine said: Love our gro clock!

Sally said: Lay in her bed once asleep. Observe her breathing… If she jolts awake it could be sleep apnoea…

Louise Nhm Smith responded: Hadn’t thought of that. Thanks Sally for the suggestion!

Sally replied: That’s how we discovered Aimees she would wake so many times a night.. Adenoids were the cause. Another symptom is incredibly slow eating due to not being able to breathe while eating.

Tia said: Following. My kids don’t sleep through. 6yr, 3yr, 8m.6yr old is as bad as the 8m for waking.

Rebecca said: I have heard about people who make a little ‘nest’ on the floor next to their bed, the understanding being that if the child gets scared in the night or wakes and needs reassuring presence then they come through and go in the nest where they can sleep the rest of the night without waking the parents.

Louise Nhm Smith responded: Love this idea. Might try this too Rebecca. Thank you!

Mary said: Apparently clever children don’t sleep.

Heidi said: I slept in Kiera’s bed pretty much every night until she was 6.5. She needed one of us to sit with her while she fell asleep and then when she woke in the night I would just crawl in with her (no interaction, no talking) and we’d both go straight back to sleep. That was the only way I could get enough sleep to survive. She has recently started sleeping through, with no change in my behaviour, I just figured she’s ready to sleep alone now. I found that accepting that’s just how it is has been the only way to save my sanity.

Louise Nhm Smith said: oh Heidi. That sounds so tough. I’m not sure I can cope with another 8 months though!!!!

Heidi said: Thom slept through from half way through year R so I had high hopes for Kiera. It actually took until the beginning of year 2 for her! But I’m not holding my breath about this lasting!

Seriously, accept it and it becomes much easier to cope with x

Zowie said: Look at baby support on Facebook I used them for my daughter and really worked. I was recommended by a friend who used them. X

Lucy said: To begin with sticker charts when he was little then when he got older a marble jar…. Then he was on nothing… Then he went through a stage of being terrified as he could hear noises; so I gave him Ewan the sheep (I know regressing a bit!) but I  told him to press the button whenever he heard a noise and then he wouldn’t hear the noise anymore and it would soothe him back to sleep! It’s helped for nearly two years now! Lol

I’d give him one chance with the sticker in the night… Like reassure him then say ‘if you get up again you won’t get your sticker in the morning’ … When he got a certain amount of stickers 5 to begin with but later 7 when he was used to it he got to go to the ‘treat shop’ and get a sweetie or magazine…. Then when he would eventually fill up a whole chart he got to choose a small toy from the toy shop. Good luck! X

Pat said: JP still wakes in the night at 5 yrs 2 mths. He climbs in with us and snuggles back down

Sarah said: Good luck Louise, it’s so hard & lack of sleep just makes everything so much worse. We always think a completely change can sometimes change a bad habit, so going on a sleepover, or away somewhere, or even just moving some bedroom furniture??? x

Helena said: I can recommend cranial osteopathy highly enough. My son probably slept through the night only a handful of times in 3 years. I took him to see becky Hall in Bramley and it was like a miracle, he immediately started sleeping through the night! My life was transformed! If you need her number, just shout. Good luck with anything you try. Ps it sounds painful but it isn’t at all, just the lightest hand touch.

Wendy said: We get about 5 nights a month where he sleeps through. He generally goes to bed easily around 8, sleeps like a log from 9 – midnight (can put washing away in his room without waking) then wakes up sometime between midnight and 3. Two main reasons for waking up are being lonely and monsters (even though he knows they aren’t real and if they were they’d be like Mike and Sully). No amount of exercise or school makes any difference. We’ve tried warmer duvets, moving the bed, different rooms, reward charts. We just end up with one of us sleeping with him, sometimes in his bed, sometimes ours. Generally the effort needed to get him back to sleep on his own in his own bed is more than we can manage after nearly 6 years of broken sleep. So no advice just you’re not alone. I have been considering relax kids though.

Louise Nhm Smith responded: wow, sounds just like Miss NHM. Except she was a great sleeper until she turned 5 years old. We have a lot of the lonely and monsters stuff and lots of needing cuddles. At 4am in the morning, after two hours disturbed sleep, it’s draining. I am also considering Relax Kids and have been speaking to Kath about doing a class for both children and adults at the same time, so I’m maximising my time! Kind of sad, but nice, to know we aren’t alone.

Wendy replied: Been like it since he was born, took weeks to move him 6 inches from the bed to the Co-sleeper. Dropped his naps by 19 months. All the advice I’ve seen assumes the child is waking up between 8 – midnight or isn’t going to bed properly at all, nothing deals with waking in the early hours. Nothing tires him out. His brother sleeps through till 6, always has done, similar personalities, energy levels and intelligence just one sleeps the other doesn’t. Lots suggests it sorts itself before they turn 7.

Karen also replied: Louise, Alex went through a phase of being scared of the dark and monsters under the bed and so I asked him if he had tried saying hello to the monsters and ask them what they want. He looked at me a bit surprised and then asked them and apparently they wanted to be friends and were hungry. It then became a bit of a game about what they would want feeding each night, but as this was just as we were going to bed it was fine. It obviously wouldn’t solve all your problems but might be worth a try to see I felt it helps with the monster part? Xx

Jessica said: Before i put my two pence in… can I ask; Do you have a strict bedtime routine? And when she wakes up, how do you deal with her? x

Louise Nhm Smith replied: Yes, very strict bedtime. We put her back to bed three times and then on the fourth time it’s just too much and we switch beds

Tina said: I am mean in the middle of the night, you wake me up and I’ll give you a singing teddy! It works well, I give them the button and tell them to play it enough times until they fall asleep. I’m too tired at that point to be kept awake by it and kid is no longer lonely 🙂

Kathryn said: We’ve got a BT monitor that puts stars on the ceiling and plays music. You can put each on remotely so prevents you having to go in and engage with them. The stars are useful as the take the darkness away a bit. You can apparently play your own music through it if there is something that would comfort her tho never tried that x

Cerys said: You probably don’t want to hear that my youngest only stopped coming into our bed regularly in the wee small hours when he was 11. Luckily for most of that time he climbed in without waking us. Dad did comment that A was “too old” to co-sleep, to which I replied that he was in his 40’s and co-sleeping. Why do we expect our children to sleep alone?

Libby said: Our youngest turned 5 last month and I can’t remember when she last slept through the night. She just climbs in with us at about 1am and to be honest I no longer really notice. I can’t have her crying in the night waking the other children up so for us as long as we are all asleep I don’t mind where it is. I have never heard of an 18 year old being in with mum and dad so I am sure one day they will sleep through. Just do what feels right for you.

Claire said: Just a thought – is she in reception year? Maybe that’s unsettling her and she needs the extra reassurance. If it’s any comfort (probably not) my eldest was about 7 before he slept through the night, and the youngest 2 are now 9 1/2 and 6 – they wake up occasionally too. Good luck. Infinite patience, and it will get better xxx

Louise Nhm Smith responded: She’s in Y1, which is why we are a bit baffled by it as we didn’t have this in YR. Although I am thinking that it’s linked to Mr NHM working “normal” hours now he doesn’t work shift anymore. Thank you!

Claire replied: My youngest was 6 on 31st Aug so she’s just started yr 2. Could be the change in dad’s hours, could be that the school are asking her to ‘work’ more instead of ‘play-work’. Has one of her friends moved away? Or a new teacher? At that age things that we think are nothing important can seem huge xx

Vikki said: When I stopped working shifts with the ambulance service my 2 kids, 5 and 2 spent the next 3 months getting up in the night to check I was still there. It was such a change for them for me to be at home it really threw them ! They went back to a normal pattern, they just get up early between 5.30 and 6 !!

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