My 3 year old wont stay in her room

Natasha - posted on 02/25/2011 ( 23 moms have responded )

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For the past 2 months she keeps walking up around 1 every morning kicking her door and screaming. It's gotten to the point where she wont sleep in her room at all. So I have been having to bring her into my room and have her sleep with me. The neighbors already called the cops about the kicking any suggestions?

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Rosie - posted on 02/26/2011

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Hi, my youngest daughter has severe autism and I went through this stage with her not sleeping, kicking walls, screaming etc....most nights. I know this may sound horrible but I ended up having to take everything out of her room and only placing her bed and 1 favourite toy....she is non-verbal and still at 6 doesn't understand time. She would sleep for 4 hours and wake up for 4 hours and then try and sleep all day. When she woke during the night she would scream, cry and bang on the door. I couldn't comfort her by putting her in my bed, she would think it was time to wake up and start her day. Thankfully for me her older sister slept through the whole thing but I still had to get up to her and try and get through each day. I ended up taking the light globe out of her room, taking the door handle off (as I said before there was nothing that she could hurt herself on) and i did this for years...infact she still doesn't have a handle on her door....some people may think i am being cruel to her but her not sleeping didn't just effect her it effected the whole family. If I were you as far as your neighbours go in calling the police if possible perhaps you could go and see them and explain that your child is in the process of being assessed for autism and that you are sorry for the kicking etc...in the middle of the night but you are trying to get it sorted out, hopefully they will be a little bit more understanding.
I am not sure if I have helped you at all but hopefully some of my suggestions may help. Unfortunately I have had to make the choice to medicate my child for sleep but, in saying that these days I wish I had of done it sooner.....finally after 6 years I am getting 8 hours sleep 5 out of 7 days a week....
Good Luck

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Louise - posted on 03/11/2011

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My son also used to wake a lot and get frustrated and bang the door. He used to work himself up into a frenzy and I used to hold onto him, talking quietly even though he was kicking and screaming, only telling him 'no' if he actually tried to hit or hurt me. If he persisted with that I would go out of the room for a few moments and then go back in to try and calm him down again. It can be very upsetting, I was often in floods of tears, but in the end he would just flop into my arms and go back to sleep....
I had stair gates on my children's bedrooms so the door could be left as wide open as they liked, with a lamp on in the hall outside. I suggest you go into her, talk calmly to comfort her but stay in her bedroom the whole time. And just stay in there as long as it takes, even if it's an hour or more. When she is confident that you will come in and sit with her, the time needed to settle her should become less and less over time - until you reach a point where you go in, put her back in bed, kiss her and come straight back out again - although how long this will take is anyone's guess unfortunately. I think the key thing is to make sure she knows that your bed is not for her and that, no matter what, you stay in her bedroom the whole time.
Hope that helps.

Ashley - posted on 03/10/2011

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I dont have experience with children with autism, but i do have a one and three year old. The three year old used to wake up crying for me, but it was because he had bad dreams...I put a night light in his room and a light-up teddy bear for him to cuddle with and hes been sleeping alone through the night alone since he was 2. My one year old I started out in his own room so that i didnt have to transition and he has no problems with being alone.
As far as your neighbors, i agree with a lot of the replies. You should kindly explain to them why they're hearing those sounds and apologize that they have to hear it, but that you're doing your best to solve the problem.

Diane - posted on 03/07/2011

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Wow! Alot of advice up there. I have no experience with autism and expect that you are in for a challenge if your daughter is diagnosed. My only advice to you is consistancy. Whatever you choose to do be very consistant. I had my fourth child before I learned a good bed time routine. My daughter never had a time to go to bed but rather went to bed when she was tired. If I didn't send her to bed because it was eight o'clock but rather waited for that first big ol yawn which was never very late it became easier. Whe I knew she was tired and readsy to sleep I would take her to her bed. Her bed was always filled with the softest blankets and all of her favorite stuffed toys. When I laid her in her bed it was not to sleep but to enjoy cuddling in her warm bed with her little friends with I showed her and nuzzled her with and always smiled and giggled when her eyes would struggle to stay open and she would smile at the toys. I would give her a kiss and leave her holding a toy. I did this at a very young age and so the foundation was set for her to LOVE her bed. As she grew I didn't need to send her to bed. She would get tired and just go up and get into her bed. She loved this comfort and at 15 has never grown out of it.

Patricia - posted on 03/06/2011

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yes it can my brother has a daughter withautism and he was giving in at first now he is not she is in her own room and starting to even toilet train alot better

Lisa - posted on 03/06/2011

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Ditto the baby gate. Have you tried a night light? Maybe she's afraid of the dark. A glo worm might help, since she'll be able to wake up and squeeze it and it will light up and show her that everything is ok.

I used to run group homes for kids with autism. While I know this isn't what you want to hear, and it's much easier said than done, you need to stop giving in to her.... NOW. The longer you give in to her and give her what she wants, the harder it will be to stop her later on. The average kid can take 14 days to change a routime - with a child on the spectrum, it can take months. Every time you give in, you start back at day 1. Explain to your neighbors that she is being tested for a disability, and possibly even have a discussion with the police if the neighbors call them again. Once the police in our area knew we had 6 autistic kids under 1 roof, they were a lot more understanding and a lot more helpful. If you are renting, also discuss this with your landlord, as I'm sure there's a noise clause in your lease.

I relied quite heavily on the website www.do2learn.com - they have free printable pictures that can help you communicate with your daughter. Print out the ones for the nighttime routine, laminate them, put some velcro on the back, and attach them to a laminated piece of cardstock or file folder. After each task is complete, have her remove it. When it comes to bedtime, take a photo of her in her pj's in her own bed. Use that instead of the graphic from the website. Go over it several times before you turn out the light. Repetition will help her - that's what she needs. We had several kids come to us who had only slept in Mommy & Daddy's room and it was VERY difficult to break them of the habit. But with consistency, it CAN be done. Best of luck to you and if you need more pointers, my aol email is chosen175.

Aimee - posted on 03/04/2011

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put a stair gate on so she can not get out but the door dont have to be shut. and as for her sleepin in her own room then u have to keep puttin her back in bed 1st time say come on back into bed and the second time u say into bed know and the third and so on u say nothin u still put her back into bed and they will see that u mean it and u are not goin to give in and u are puttin her back into bed and then they will stop as they will be warn out and u do that every day and they will get usto doin it. it worked for me i watched supper nanny and that showed me how to do it hope this helps

Patricia - posted on 03/03/2011

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have you asked her my son you to say it was monstres i put water vanilla and food colouring in a bottle and sprayed it in his room before he went to sleep you have shocking neighbours or i suggest that you settle her down and put her back in her own bed as tiring as this is

Brianne - posted on 03/02/2011

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The more you give in to her tantrums, the worse they will likely get. I know its rough to let a kid cry it out, but by 3 she knows exactly what she is doing. I imagine with neighbors calling the cops its really scary having to deal with the possibility of getting called an abuser when you are not, perhaps you could talk to your neighbors and explain what is going on. My daughter is 3, we went through this probably a year ago and it was a battle, sometimes still she will scream in her room and kick the walls, for that she has consequences. I have gone in and removed all of her toys! Instead of letting her sleep in your room, have you tried laying down with her until she falls asleep? I know some people will be against that, but it sounds like you are in a tight spot and need a way to make a transition. If she has some form of Autism or something like that, your doctor (probably specialist) should be able to give you some advice that would apply more specifically to a kid with her needs. Just keep trying until you find something that works and know you are doing the best you can!

Keri - posted on 03/02/2011

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DON'T CLOSE THE DOOR! If you have safety issues, put up a safety gate - they're cheap and available just about anywhere. There are also several different kinds - we have a pressure gate that locks on the top and you have to push a button and slide another to open it (most kids aren't THAT coordinated) and it doesn't come down easy. That way, the door stays open and she knows she can communicate with you other than screaming and kicking. I'v heard of this also being related to separation issues. I've heard the cure for that is you sleeping in HER room in a sleeping bag on the floor and gradually moving toward the door until you are completely out and back in your own room and she sleeps soundly.

Mwanaharusi - posted on 03/02/2011

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Hey Natasha, some kids had forbea of night and/or empty room without an elderly person, it is a some sort of inferiority complex,try to be with her, read bed time stories or sing her favourite but soothing songs until she sleep and then try to make her hug a soft pillow,i have done that trick to my daughter and it works.

Jenn - posted on 02/28/2011

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well about the neighbors get new ones or explain your story to them.as far as getting her to stay in her room.1~put her to bed like normal you know goodnight mommy loves you I will see you in the morning.((I used I will see you when you make the sun come back up)) If she gets outta bed 1st time pick her up((no punishment)) an place her back in bed an say goodnight mommy loves you I will see you in the morning.If she gets out of bed for the 2nd time ((no punishment))pick her up place her back in bed with a stuffed animal an NO WORDS SPOKEN.If she gets out a 3rd time give her the animal an no words spoken.eventually she will get the idea of staying in her bed.what also might work is a night light.It might take awhile but it will work.After she stays the whole night in her room praise her in the morning an tell her what a big girl she was.

Sarah - posted on 02/26/2011

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hi, Get her really tired during the day give her a nice soothing bath let her watch a favorite program read her a book and by then maybe she will fall a sleep after that

Natasha - posted on 02/26/2011

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Thank you for that. I was wondering what kind of medicine you gave your son. the neurologist prescribed my daughter medicine and its not working.

Amber - posted on 02/26/2011

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Dear Rosie,
That was such a great post. My son who is 8 has Asperger's and is very high functioning. Still, he struggled to sleep at night, going to bed at one in the morning and waking at five. He woke up the whole house and it was so frustrating. I am glad that he finally began sleeping through the night, but it took til he was about six. I did a lot of the same things that you did, and if others think it sounds extreme, they have never dealt with a child who will not sleep, and is unable to properly articulate their feelings. Good luck to OP on the doctor visit. It is really difficult and scary. I hope things go well. ♥

[deleted account]

That's what I was wondering from your other post. I'm sorry I don't have any good ideas. My almost 3 year old son is in my room every night (since he doesn't have a room of his own). He is NOT happy if he wakes up and I'm not in there w/ him.

Natasha - posted on 02/25/2011

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unfortuantly she cant they are actually testing her for autism right now. She doesnt talk at all just grunts

[deleted account]

Well, she is obviously scared/upset about something. Can she communicate w/ you and tell you what is bothering her?

Natasha - posted on 02/25/2011

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it's closed as we live upstairs and I have tried everything almost to make sure they dont get hurt but they just push down everything. and the nighttime routines is she goes in her room for like 10 min then starts crying i go in there and for a little and leave and she starts again

Marcy - posted on 02/25/2011

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Is her door closed? Sorry I guess I need some clarification. I don;t want to jump to conclusions so I will assume its open and that she is just waking up and kicking it. Although that doesn't seem right to me but anyways, She obviously is having security issues. I think we all need more details in order to be able to offer some advise/suggestions...can you explain a little more about her nighttime routine so we can help?

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