Thursday, April 26, 2012

Big Kid Advice - Sleeping Through the Night

I wrote a blog a while back about how to stop your young child from coming into your room in the middle of the night.  I am following up because my child, now 5 ½ comes into our room once again.  Sticker charts and the bunny clock no longer work!

I have a new system.  I ran it by my pediatrician and she improved!  We have created “sleep tickets.”  I simply cut card stock into pieces – about 4 inches by 2 inches.  I then wrote something on each one that my son loves and would hate to be without.  Currently, his sleep tickets have the following written on them: Treats, TV, iPhone, Computer, Angry Birds (his stuffed toys) and iPad.  We count how many times he comes into our room at night, and then the next morning, he has to give us a sleep ticket for each time.  Sometimes we let him choose and sometimes we choose.  We then post the ticket (or tickets) on the refrigerator for the day.  And then before bed, (hopefully we remember), we put the tickets back on his nightstand.

And of course, we do have exceptions when it is OK to come into our room.  He is allowed to come in if he hears thunder (because he is terrified) or if he needs help going to the bathroom.

We have had these issues with my son for several years.  My pediatrician said that it COULD be that he wakes up from anxiety.  And you might ask, for a 5 year-old, what causes anxiety?  She actually asked my son what he thinks about when he wakes up in the night.  He started telling her silly and small things like his excitement about playing on daddy’s phone!  She said if the sleep tickets DON’T work, then a couple of sessions with a psychologist might help.  A doctor can give your child coping tools for easing anxiety in the night.

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