I posted this last week which explains the current situation with our 4yo daughter. I kept a diary all week to try and piece together any glaring errors and work out where we are going wrong. My main conclusion is something I’ve known for a while. There is a huge correlation between a bad nights sleep and very poor form the next day. Four year old children are never going to be immaculately behaved all the time, but at points on the bad days it feels like there is no reasoning with her. It’s as if she is in a trance and doesn’t even know what she’s doing. I know how grumpy and miserable I can get on a terrible nights sleep, so it’s no wonder really. The good news is that we’ve made the following changes recently and they definitely seem to be helping.
– ensuring she falls asleep by herself. Until a month ago she would fall asleep while one of us read her stories, but apparently this could be the root cause of night time wake ups, so we’ve stopped letting her do that. During a good bedtime when she is being compliant she has a story in bed, then we have kisses and cuddles and she goes to sleep
– not putting her to bed too early (to break the super early waking cycle). We’ve edged back to a 6:30pm bedtime over the course of this week
– turning a blind eye to minor altercations with her sister. As a baby cannot defend themselves we have always been strict with telling her off for being mean. Realistically, being so hard line has more than likely caused this to become a bad habit that she does for attention. Now that 16mo is mobile and capable of giving as good as she gets, we are letting the little pinches and digs go ‘unnoticed’. If she’s causing real harm that is of course another matter
– no more timeouts. They worked to a point, but now just cause everyone to get upset
– letting her learn her own mistakes rather than trying to pre-empt and stop them, i.e. if she eats three mouthfuls then says she doesn’t want any more breakfast letting her go hungry until lunch time
It’s been far from plain sailing. This week alone we had two full on half hour+ meltdowns at bedtime. Meals going in the bin. Refusal to do a wee before bed, thus getting up in the night to do one and not going back to sleep for two hours. We also had a night where she got in with us in the early hours, and I ended up relegated to the bottom of the bed like the family pet. BUT, we have also had a few breakthroughs and it does (dare I say it?) feel like we are *finally* making progress. Slow and painful as it feels right now it is progress, and I must remain positive. I’m convinced that if she starts consistently sleeping through the night then we’ll have cracked it. I’ll keep you posted.
If any of you lovely people have similar stories and pearls of wisdom to share I would really appreciate hearing from you 🙂