HELP!! My 3 year old refuses to sleep.

Liam - posted on 01/19/2011 ( 1 mom has responded )

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I have a 3 year old boy who has some challenges. He suffers from Epilepsy and is medicated for it using Phenobarbitol. He has some behavioral issues, he is excessively willful, stubborn, and defiant. Most pressing is that he refuses to sleep. I usually put him to bed around 830-900 pm. He gets his evening dose of meds before bed, and it usually knocks him out within an hour, but most nights he wakes up 2 hours later and will not go back to sleep. To make matters worse he lays down in front of his bedroom door and kicks. he kicks the door like hes playing the bass drum. He kicks the door hard enough that it shakes the walls. We are in a townhouse so we have adjoining neighbors that dont appreciate that at 11 or later. Eventually after sometimes hours of his kicking, I have to give in to avoid getting evicted and I am up all night with him. It has been 2 weeks straight now that I havent been able to go to bed with his mother and get a nights sleep, hell even a few hours of sleep. WE have tried ignoring it to hope he will stop and go back to sleep, we have tried several methods of dicsiplining him to get him to stop, we have also tried sitting in front of his door to muffle the sound of his kicking. nothing is working. We tried Melatonin, reccomended by his pediatrician, but after we had him up to 6 pills per dose, and it barely worked, we stopped the pills. when he gets up its not like he lays on the couch or anything either. He is bouncing off the wall for hours. What makes this worse is that the stress and hardship over his refusal to sleep more than 2-3 hours a day, has his mother and I fighting all the time, usually over him. HELP! I need to get some sleep.

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Louise - posted on 01/20/2011

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Firstly take your son to the doctors and see if there is anything in his medication that can cause insomnia and see if there is another drug he could have in the evening that would not disrupt his sleeping pattern. Next buy a mesh stair gate for his bedroom door and remove the door to stop the kicking for the time being. Then go around and chat to the neighbours and warn them that for the next couple of nights you are going to try some tough love to put an end to the night time tantrums. Sit quietly with your son before bedtime and tell him that you are very tired and when it is night time you want to sleep and that from now on you are not coming to play or sit with him he needs to sleep to. He is three so he will understand what you are saying to him. When he wakes up put him back into bed and say goodnight. When he gets up again put him back into bed and say nothing no eye contact and no verbal conversation. Keep doing this all night if necessary, (so try and get someone in to baby sit for you so you can get some sleep during the day) the next night he will probably do it most of the night again so leave it longer before you go into him, again no verbal, no eye contact just lie him down and leave. By the third night you should be seeing some positive signs from him that things are getting better. I know this sounds impossible but it is very effective. Your son is using his control over you to make you get up in the night and you are rewarding him by giving him your attention. You need to regain control by taking his power over you away. This takes a lot of will power to do and at times you will feel like cracking but hold on in there it will be worth it I promise. That first night of full sleep will be bliss. Good luck!

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