Childhood Fears and Sleep

"I'm scared of the green guy" she whimpered, hiding under her blanket. It was after 9pm, and once again Gwennie was wide awake in her room. Actually she had been in Rhayn's room, but I told her that she needed to sleep her in own room.

I have tried everything I can think of to get her to sleep in her room, alone. I wanted to transition her to her own room before Natalie came along. It didn't happen because I was so tired and it was too much work. Rhayn had so easily transitioned at 4 1/2. With Gwennie, we've tried over and over to move her into that room.

She was doing ok, sleeping in there, maybe not easily, but she was doing it. Then it changed.

I think it happened right around the time that Will started his new job, but I'm not sure. I had talked to her a few times, I've yelled, and threatened. She lost a Friday Summer Movie because she wouldn't stay in there (follow through with the threat). But it still didn't keep her in there.

She'd slink down the stairs and come around the corner, sometimes after only a few minutes in her room, "mom?" Her voice would be soft. But then I would yell at her to go back to bed. "FINE!" she would yell, "I just wanted to tell you something!" Her eyes filled with tears and she would go upstairs and cry, a loud, dramatic screaming, cry.

Its miserable. Nighttime is not relaxing.

Will thinks she needs exercise, that maybe she just has too much energy. I think she is afraid or something. Last night was the first time she has really told me what she was/is scared of.

I understand stupid, unfounded fears. I have a few. Rhayn was terrified of "dommies" (zombies) when she was little. I was scared of ghosts and mirrors in the night. My cousin had, what we both swear was a haunted, mirror in her room. The dark terrified me, and I never had Gwennie's same problem, because my sister and I shared a room. In fact, I clearly recall as a tweener telling my sister scary stories so that she would sleep with me. I didn't want to sleep alone.

So why am I fighting Gwennie so hard? Why am I trying to force her to sleep alone even though I know how scary it is for her?

What can I do to help her? For now, she is back in my room, on a twin bed pushed up to mine. (Yes my room is turning into a huge bed.) I am ok with this, because for now she seems to need it. Though she wants me to be up there with her, when I want more than anything to have an hour to myself at night.

A possible solution (that I found while googling and writing this post) is Melatonin. I read this article on Medscape.com. It talks about studies done on children with severe sleep disturbances. I don't think that is her problem. But the children were almost all helped by it. I am reading up on side affects, too.

I wonder if her sleep issues also stem from anxiety. If so would an increase in melatonin help her? What about some herbal remedy or placebo?

This is hard.
And by this, I mean parenting.


lvh said...

would it not be possible for her and Rhayn to share a room? J and M shared a room from the time they left Colorado until last Dec when they moved into this bigger house. J kept thinking how much happier she would be when she had her own room again. But now all of them are rethinking that maybe the two girls should be back in the same room again. I shared a room with both my sisters until Jack got married then I finally got my own space.

Amie said...

I thought of the sharing thing too...or of course changing bedtimes/awake times. Or looking at her diet--does she drink caffeine, eat chocolate, or eat near bedtime? Try warm baths before hand? Nightlight? Playing soft music or white noise on a stereo in her room? Nyquil? Benadryl? Tequila?

We have the opposite problem of the kids getting up too dang early--5 am, yeah right!!--and we finally realized it was because {doy!} the sun is up that early, thus, so are my children. Blinders went in the windows!

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