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9 year old daughter havin trouble going to sleep @ night.
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Chelle1308 posted:
It all started, periodically, about 2-3 months ago. My daughter has always been a sound, stay in bed all night, sleeper. She has this unbelievable fear of vomiting. She thinks once her stomach starts to hurt, she will vomit. She seems to be fine all thru the day and evening right up until bed time. As soon as she lays down she starts: my stomach hurts, I can't go to sleep, I need someone in my room w/ me to fall asleep, etc. Eventually, she ends up on the floor in our room. For a while it was sometime in the middle of the night. Now, it is usually before we even go to bed. She either hasn't fallen asleep yet or has and then woke up complaining of her stomach hurting. I don't want to sound like an insensitive mother but I really don't want to start laying down her w/ every night just so she can go to sleep. This was a really bad habit we started with our son and was really hard to break. I feel that she is nine and should be able to go to sleep on her own. I have asked time and again if everything is OK at school, home, etc. Did something happen that she would like to talk to me about. Her answer is always no. Last night she was absolutely hysterical: crying, wouldn't stay in her room and eventually wound up on our floor to sleep. Once she was in our room, she was asleep within minutes. Help...any suggestions???
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momuv4girls responded:
The pedi's are pretty good about answering questions on this board, but I just wanted to say, I know how difficult this type of behavior is to deal with -- your poor daughter and poor you !!

My guess, is your daughter has had other forms of anxiety as a young child, but now it has manifested into this "bedtime routine". She is feeling angst about being alone, maybe the dark or both.
It is really hard for children to reach into their brains and tell you what is driving this behavior - they just know they are scared and don't want to be alone.

My daughter didn't want to play at other peoples houses from the age of 7 to 10ish.....she was afraid I wouldn't come pick her up again. This was totally irrational fear, as I never, ever forgot to pick her up before. Sometimes kids just do this, and she will most likely outgrow this stage soon. (Not many teens want to sleep on their parents floor...lol).

Hang in there, and try to be patient.
(((Hugs)))
-Kathleen
 
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Roy Benaroch, MD replied to momuv4girls's response:
Kathleen raises good points about this possibly being part of a more-broad issue w/ anxiety. If that's the case, tackling the "whole enchilada"-- helping her learn to deal with anxiety in general-- will help more than focusing only on bedtime rituals. A good place to start is Spencer's "An Anxiety Cure for Kids." Also, talking about it at bedtime is not going to help. By then, she's already too wrapped up in it. The time for discussion is when she's not already worked up.

If it really is ONLY an issue w/ bedtime, that's different. It is kind of interesting that at least for a while her brother seemed to have this issue too-- maybe that means something about your home, your parenting style, your children's temperament, etc.

You could go 1/2-way. Rather than lying in her room until she falls asleep, you could offer a deal that you'll stay in her room for a set amount of time, sitting in a chair. Then move the chair further away every few nights. You could also offer a token reward every morning when she wakes up after a good night, in her own bed-- 3 stickers earns her a trip for ice cream, 7 gets her a trip to the dollar store, etc.
 
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Chelle1308 replied to momuv4girls's response:
Thanks so much for the advice. My husband and I have been talking more about the situation and are thinking along the same lines as you. Hopefully she will outgrow this soon and will get back to a more restful sleep @ night. Until then, we will have to be "patient and understanding". She was to stay at a friends house last night and couldn't because she missed me and wanted to come home. I think she afraid she wouldn't be able to go to sleep and feel embarrassed.

She definetly has develped some sort of anxiety and I think there is a connection with some of the girls at school. So maybe once school is out for the summer she will find some kind of relief.

Sincerely,
Michelle


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