Help with sleep for my 8 year old

Melanie - posted on 01/02/2012 ( 7 moms have responded )

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I need some suggestions about a good sleep routine for my daughter. School for her starts early, so her school bus comes at 7:45. In order to have time to get ready in the morning, she wakes up at 6:45.
She has her own alarm clock, and gets as much ready the night before as she can. All she needs to do is get dressed, (clothes have been picked out the night before), eat breakfast, put her lunch in er backpack (made the night before), brush her teeth and do her hair.
Even an hour and there are days she is close to missing her bus, and she says it's bc she's tired.
I know at age 8 she needs around 10 hours of sleep. Which means she should be in bed around 8:30. The problem is, it takes her forever to fall asleep. Sometimes well over an hour. Even if I let her stay up til 9:30, in hopes that she will fall asleep quickly, but to no avail. We tried that for a few months and it just meant she didn't fall asleep til closer to 10:30 instead.
I'm just not sure what to do, she is so tired in the morning and dragging her feet but yet she won't fall asleep early enough to get a good nights sleep.
Any tips to help us out?

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Linda - posted on 01/17/2012

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Hi Melanie, I had the same problem with my kiddos so here's what worked for us. First, we cut out all sugar, red dye and caffeine. That seemed to help but takes about a week or so to really see the effects because it takes time to work out of their system plus get them over the "withdrawal".

Next, we put a schedule in place that doesn't change even on weekends. At least an hour before bed (you can figure out the best time for it by using what time she wakes up and calculating the number of hours she needs to sleep), make sure she's eaten dinner, bathed and washed up for bed. Then give her a quiet activity - reading or reading to her. At bedtime, prayers (if you pray) and/or tucking in, then use soft music or some other white noise to soothe here, block out random household noises and allow her to relax. Talk to your pediatrician about using Melatonin to help her fall asleep. It should be taken with dinner to allow time to get into her system and work.

It takes a little time but it can work. My 10 yr old was struggling with falling asleep and staying asleep. We implemented the routine, use melatonin, and play a soft instrumental cd at bedtime that I put on repeat play during the night for him. He now falls asleep within 15 minutes and stays asleep.

I hope these suggestions help you. I know how frustrating and concerning it can be when your child doesn't get enough rest. Their schoolwork, behavior and growth can suffer. I wish you the best.

Jill - posted on 01/16/2012

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hmmm..... my daughter does the same thing at night. it doesnt matter what time we put her to bed, she doesn't fall asleep until 9 or 9:30. my daughter is a slow mover in the mornings too but it's mostly b/c she can dawdle if she knows she has plenty of time to get ready in the mornings. what motivates her is if she can get ready, bag packed, shoes on, coat nearby, etc, then she can watch cartoons or play her DS until it's time to catch the bus. if she's not ready in time, she doesn't get to do that. most of the time, she never gets to the tv or DS but she's not running out the door, either.



have you asked your daughter what she thinks would help? many times it's mind over matter. if you keep saying you cant go to sleep, you wont. if you keep saying you're tired, you will be. i'm wondering if the alarm clock could be the culprit? if she knows she's not going to fall asleep for an hour after she crawls into bed, it's hard to decipher when that is if there's no clock present.

Brenda - posted on 01/07/2012

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I found something quite unusual to work for our 8 yr old. I started giving him grape seed extract every morning to help with his concentration and found he had an easier time going to sleep at night after taking that a few weeks. I was surprised at the results, nothing seemed to work before, bath, reading, dim lights, many nights he would still be saying "can't sleep" at 10:30. Now, most nights, I let him read in bed from 9-10 and he's asleep by lights out time.

Jacqueline - posted on 01/05/2012

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I have a 7 year old daughter myself. Thankfully I don't have any issues getting her to fall asleep once in bed. My suggestion would be a warm bath with lavender oil which is both soothing and relaxing. Keep lights in the house dim after a certain time in the evening to represent wind down time or bed time. Make sure tv's and any other noisey electronics are also toned down after a certain designated time frame. All of this will set the mode of relaxation. Soft lighting in her room to read a bed time story or discuss her days activities and plans for the following day. This would be a good time to ask if there any issue that whe would like to discuss.
It sounds like you've got the morning schedule worked out well. Once she is able to rest in the evening the morning routine will work out well.

Jennie - posted on 01/03/2012

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I have an 8 year old and a 10 year old. I am not sure your work schedule? Bedtime for my boys is 8pm. They used to have a tv in their room, but it broke. When they had the tv, they would still be awake at 10pm. Now that they don't have it, they are usually asleep by 9. For my boys it is not always the amount of sleep they get, but the morning routine we have. I am lucky to work over nights while Dad is home so I am always there in the morning. They take turns on who takes a shower 1st. (They get up at 7, they need to be ready for the bus by 8:15.) They shower, get dressed, eat their breakfast, brush their teeth, get their shoes on. If they have time after that to watch tv, they can. But it is always the same. Granted, some days my 8 year old drags his butt, because yes, he is still tired. But the routine is always the same no matter what. And it sounds like thats what you are doing, keeping it the same. Are there any distractions at night? TV? Maybe a radio playing low will help her sleep? Maybe she has some things on her mind that she worries about at night when she is getting ready to rest? Maybe try going up to bed a 1/2 hour earlier and have her read a book to you or vice versa, talk about the next day, ask her if she has anything on her mind? I know sometimes it helps my boys to have their favorite animal with them, yes they still have stuffed animals....LOL. I know a shower really helps my boys wake up, especially on those chilly mornings. Good Luck :o)

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Roxanna - posted on 08/19/2012

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What is your work schedule? If you can push dinner to 6:30PM, it will give her enough time to digest her food. Right after dinner, have her pack her lunch, in its lunch bag, and put it in the fridge. Make her some chamomille tea with honey, warm shower and prep her hair before she goes to bed. If its long, braid it. We strung pink christmas lights in my daughters room when she was 7 years old because she was afraid of the dark and would come to our room to sleep. Hubby and I take turns tucking her in. He reads with her, I tell her stories of our extended family. She loves the little ritual of having tea with me before she goes to bed, and on weekends I change the flavors, but no caffiene!

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