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6 year old will sleep well every where apart from our house

CatsCoffeewithasideofbuffy's picture

My stepdaughter is 6 years old. She loves being with us. I love her, we have a great bond but there's one issue. She has us up throughout the night, she has done this every time she stays over. She doesn't do this anywhere else. She stays with her grandparents, friends house, her mothers with her partner, no problem sleeping at all.

She's stayed with her dad, my partner, on her own without me there and she slept through. What am I doing wrong? 

We have tried everything. Rewards systems, decorating her room, clock in her room, a good bedtime routine. She will not sleep. 

She's stopped getting in bed with us but now she will go into the bathroom and sing loudly and turn all the lights on at 3 in the morning.  

Has anyone had the same experience? 

Winterglow's picture

She's doing it because she can and because she wants to take her father's attention away from you and onto her. How is he disciplining her for this carry-on? Youi can't just let things like what she's doing go and not drive the message home that it has to STOP!

CatsCoffeewithasideofbuffy's picture

He said he was very disappointed with her this morning and he took her tablet away and made her apologise. I've just started a new job and I'm so tired. We've been trying to get this sorted for a long time time. Nothing seems to be working. 

Winterglow's picture

Frankly, he shouldn't wait until the morning. Discipline needs to be immediate. Disappointed in her? How about telling her that she will not carry on like that and that every time she does she will lose something that she values (and keep confiscating things until the message sinks in). The tablet was a good start but does she know for how long it will be gone? Or how to earn it back?

tog redux's picture

What do you think her goal is? Does he get up and deal with her, or do you?

I'd add rewards to the mix - if she gets up and wakes you up, there are consequences, but if she stays in bed (or gets up to pee without making any noise) then she gets a small reward (not monetary necessarily - privileges, or time spent with you or her dad might work). 

And get some ear plugs.

Left out mama's picture

It is totally an attention thing. She wants to make sure she is the center of attention and will go to great lengths to get what she wants.

my SD has done this. I was sick in bed and just wanted to sleep. My SO went outside to get some yard work done. He told SD9 that I was not feeling well and if she was not going to go outside, then she needed to find something quite to do. Less than 5 minutes after he left, she came to my bedroom door and started calling my name and asked my to get her breakfast. I told her she knew how to pour a bowl of cereal and told her I did not feel good and she needed to let me sleep. I also reminded her that her father had just told her this. (I knew immediately she just wanted to make sure she was the center of attention. Didn't matter if I was sick... I needed to pay attention to her and only her. My needs be damned).

she walked down the hall... about 5 feet and started "dancing" which is really her just jumping and stomping her feet as loudly as possible and signing at the top of her lungs. I came out of my room and flipped out. I told her "you wanted my attention, well now you have it!!!" Her response was "oops I forgot". I told her maybe I needed to have her dad remind her... I went out to get him and she ran to her room. He came in and was pissed... he knew she was being disresptful and he doesn't put up with that. He called for her to come to the kitchen and she came skipping out of her room saying " my daddy!! I love my my daddy!" That was honestly one of the angriest I have been with her. She typically tries to push things and can be really selfish but this was a new level. 
Her father laid it out very clearly that he was not impressed and wasn't buying sucking up. He also told her that since she could not be respectful of me, had ignored his earlier instructions that she was not going to be allowed to stay inside and instead was going to be outside doing yard work with him. DAD FOR THE WIN!!

she never did that again. 

SlowWorm's picture

From what you write, she does not show abnormal disruptive or attention-seeking behaviour towards you and her father during the day. If that is so then it seems highly unlikely that she is doing this out of a malicious and conscious desire to disturb or annoy you, or to gain attention. First, if she was motivated by that, then she would do equivalent things in the daytime, and second, she would have to be forcing herself to stay awake until 03:00 to do it, which is very unlikely in a six year old. (I recall long ago as an 11-year old at camps, trying to keep myself awake long enough for the older kids and adults to have all turned in so I could sneak out to get up to mischief without getting caught. I never did manage to keep myself awake long enough, and that would only have been until some time before midnight, never mind 3 in the morning).

It seems more likely that something is either stopping her from sleeping or is waking her up again. It might be that whatever this is also makes her fearful, or that simply being awake when no-one else is is frightening to her in itself. Either way, for a frightened six year old awake at 03:00 to do things like getting in her parents' bed, turning lights on or singing (which gets rid of an opressive silence) is not that unusual. 

I would imagine that you have already asked her if something wakes her up, but she may not know whatv it is, or it may be something a six year old lacks the language to describe, or she may think if she tells you, you will laugh, will be angry or will not believe her.

There are lots of things which might be waking her. It could be something psychological, it could be a noise from outside which you are used to and sleep through but which disturbs her, it could be a light from outside that somehow disturbs her at a strange hour, it could be something she often eats at your house which has a delayed effect upon her, it could be that the place where she sleeps is hotter or colder than she is used to, that the bedding is washed with a laundry liquid or powder which sets her itching after a few hours exposure due to an odd allergy, etc, etc. 


Left out mama's picture

 Nope sorry. The type of detergent used is not going to  make her wake up and sing loud enough to wake everyone up. It's attention because at daddy's house this trick works

Thefatherismyfamily's picture

Yes it's an attention seeking thing. Ignore it completely for several nights until she stops doing it. Getting mad at her only  gets her the attention she is craving.