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I'm at my wits end!! Help!

My DS is just a few weeks shy of his 5th birthday. He's always been a difficult child to put things nicely. Very smart, but one immature behavior after another. Of course eventually with age the behaviors fix themselves, but then a new one seems to develop. Lately it seems we have made great leaps and bounds when it comes to controlling his anger and interacting with peers, but oh my goodness have we digressed at bedtime. DS goes to preschool every other day (3 days a week) so on school night his routine is dinner, short playtime, bath then bed. On non school nights its dinner, a longer playtime, and then bed. For the longest time we had no real issues, a fussy night every once in awhile that would end around 11pm or so. For about the last week DS has not gone to sleep any earlier then 2am, even though he's been put to bed in the same manner as always. We've tried rewards, we've tried punishment, we've tried allowing him to sleep in mommies bed, we've tried enforcing his bed. The problem is I can't be up enforcing any bedtime rules till 2am when he has school the next day, the kid has to sleep. And my stubborn child does not learn from going to school sleepy, the next night the struggle will start all over. One night this week he got himself so worked up in the bedtime struggle he actually hyperventilated and vomited. At that point I caved and laid down with him in his room, but I can't do this every night. I have no idea where to go next. If we didn't have school I'd take the cry it out approach since I'm fully aware I'm in a power struggle with my 4 year old, but I can't do that since he has to be up for school. I've had several talks with him about things that may be bothering him, his vocabulary for his age and cognitive abilities are phenomenal and he's never had issues with telling me what's wrong. But lately its just the petty things, he wants a drink, he wants a movie, he wants a few more minutes to play or just isn't tired even though his eyes are red and puffy. Is this just a growth spurt thing that will wear itself out? Any have any idea how to get him in bed and asleep before 2am? I don't want to move his bedtime up to like 5pm, since that seems ridiculous, but I feel like I'm running out of other options.


Asked by ba13ygrl1987 at 11:58 PM on Jan. 6, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (4)
  • Call his doc. My daughter did this starting at age 2 or 3. They gave her clonidine at night to help her sleep. It has worked wonders. She asks for it at bedtime now because she knows she needs to sleep. If you don't like the idea of prescription meds, you can always try meletonin. Ask your doctor for the correct dosage. My daughter has behaviors such as this and she was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. She is 6 yo.

    Answer by ashisamom at 12:07 AM on Jan. 7, 2011

  • Could he have ADHD? What time does he get up in the morning? Does he still take a nap? If he still takes a nap, cut out the nap and see if he goes to bed earlier.

    Answer by amessageofhope at 12:34 AM on Jan. 7, 2011

  • What is his normal bedtime? You could try Melatonin to help him sleep, it's a natural sleep aid. My children do the "I want a drink" and other stall tactics as well. We tell them that they don't have to sleep, but they have to be quiet, and they typically fall aslepp right after that.

    Answer by MeandMyBabes at 2:54 PM on Jan. 7, 2011

  • Thanks for the advice ladies, I made a call to his pediatrician to schedule his yearly well exam since his birthday's so close, so I'm going to talk with his Dr. about this bedtime concern as well as a few others I wonder about. I've worried about him possibly being bi-polar, his father and both his uncles have this diagnosis, but I didn't think it could be diagnosed this young. Up until now his pediatrician has always felt my concerns weren't any out of the ordinary, I just had a very active, healthy, stubborn, boy who suffered slightly from "only child syndrome". But lately I'm starting to wonder if something else isn't playing a role in his behaviors. His bedtime right now is 8pm, and he watches a movie in his room till 8:30pm or 9pm depending on whether there is school the next day. Then I go in and shut it off and its just laying in the dark after that.

    Comment by ba13ygrl1987 (original poster) at 3:09 PM on Jan. 7, 2011