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Insomniac Kid is Killing Me

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One mom says if her kid doesn't go to sleep by 8 PM she goes from good mommy to scary mommy.

Mom and daughter sitting in bedroom

Homeschool Mom: I have an adorable 5-year-old that just makes us all laugh with her delightful, cheeky little charm. She spends most of her day engaging with her older brother and sister and myself, so she is used to being admired and loved and played with and indulged. All day long it is like a sappy Hallmark Movie; just love and kisses and fun and games.

We take fun field trips, I teach her to read and about the world. We bake cookies and ride bikes to do errands. I'm teaching her to Roller Blade. I must say I am a pretty fun mom as far as moms go. But then, this terrible thing happens at 8:00 PM. We have had the bath, read the stories, she is all tucked into her clean little bed with her favorite blankey and stuffed friends and our Hallmark day should end with kisses and prayers and "I'll see you in the morning," but instead I change from June Cleaver to Homicidal Mom with a meat cleaver, because she doesn't stinking go to sleep.

I say calmly and firmly, "That's all, it is time for sleep."And she says, "Can I tell you one more thing?" And then proceeds to tell me a thousand things and also that she cannot sleep. "Well I sure as heck can, kid and I am done with you today, so that's it."

And she says, "Can I talk to Dad?" The child wakes up every night. I have resorted to having a sleeping bag by our bed so I don't have to escort her back to bed or negotiate with her. She is the worse sleeper in the world and sadly enough I am the best. I love to go to bed. I love to read or write or whatever right there in my clean sheets and cozy comforter.

So I ask you fellow moms: I have bribed, (I promised to buy her pony for the day.) I have punished, I have yelled, and I have begged. I have done everything I can think of to make this child go to bed and stay there. Aside from manacles and duct tape, which I'm pretty sure is illegal, even when desperately provoked, what do I do?

Having the same problem? Check out our Sleep group in the community.

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14 comments so far | Post a comment now
Probb6 March 22, 2009, 8:59 AM

the same thing is going on with my 4 year old, except he isnt a cheeky little bugger. I swear, he loves to argue and yell for the fun of it, all the time. He goes to bed at midnight, and this is why I had to quit work, He was no longer able to get up or function in the morning at 7 or 8 am when I had to take him to daycare. He can barely make it to the headstart now, and that is about once a week. It also doesn’t matter if I put him to bed at 8 or even 9, he will lie in bed, kick the walls, scream, cry, fight it. Then around 1 am he gives in. No matter when he goes to bed, he wakes up at 10 am or 11 am. I have tried bribing, buying, screaming, yelling, punishing, spanking, time outs, bath time, warm milk. Sometimes I think I am destined to have to go through this.

mollysmom March 22, 2009, 10:40 AM

did i write this and not know it? :) i can’t even bribe with a pony because she already has one at grandpa’s :( her father can get by on 4 hours of sleep, when i was single my friends knew not to call between 1-5 on the weekends as i would be napping. our dd has unfortunately taken after my husband and doesn’t need sleep. if she’s not asleep by 9 (she’s in bed at 8:30, i moved it back due to the time change and longer days) i too turn into a complete grouch. i feel bad when i complain to my husband about it but after 12-13 hours of nonstop 4 year old i’m ready for sleep or at least to sit down and relax. i feel your pain :)

Anne March 22, 2009, 6:07 PM

Oh, big mistake, IMHO,the sleeping bag by your bed. You’re entitled to some privacy and uninterrupted sleep. Our youngest of three kids went to bed in her room okay, but woke me up multiple times a night until she was seven. She had nightmares, couldn’t sleep, whatever. Now let me tell you, I wake up mean when somebody suddenly wakes me up. Not for an emergency, of course, but this kid drove me around the bend. I remember telling her, “No boogie man can do you the damage I can, if you don’t get back to your room and go to sleep!” I found out, years later, that the older kids had mentally tormented her more than I ever knew. I think it just came out at night. Plus this kid was always the drama queen. If I had it to do over, I think I would lock our bedroom and let her put the sleeping bag outside the door. She probably would get tired of that after awhile.

dizzymum March 22, 2009, 7:06 PM

Gosh, if I had an answer to that one… I have one child who will go to sleep, but if he wakes up and either insists on getting into bed with us, or if another child is already in there, taps me on the shoulder and expects me to go back to bed with him until he goes back to sleep. The other little Miss usually ends up either a. making such a fuss (and keeping the other kid awake), we let her go to sleep in our bed or b; goes to sleep in her own bed, has a nightmare and comes down to us. Help!

Earth Mommy March 22, 2009, 7:22 PM

Honestly it will take one really rough week of consistency. You have to spend the night walking your child back to their room and making them continue to stay in bed. You can try nite lights and letting them play with stuffed animals or read books in bed but they HAVE to stay in the bed. When they get up, you take them back. This goes on again and again for a few nights but eventually they get the point. Repetition is the key. It seems like you cant do this that it is insane, well if you dont you may not have a self soothing sleeper for years to come. I encourage you to start this on a Friday night. You could be done by the time Monday rolls around. Repetition and consistency is the key to happiness. Been there I have a 10 year old and we all sleep peacefully through the night.

Earth Mommy March 22, 2009, 7:24 PM

P.S Early bedtime. Start at 8 pm it may take a while for them to go to sleep but only let them entertain themselves in the bed. They all do the Oh wait can I have a glass of water or oh wait I forgot to tell you.. Dont fall for it ladies. Set a glass of water by the bed make sure they have gone potty and in the bed at 8pm. Children need 10 hours of sleep at least per night. My son still goes to bed at 8:30 and wakes up at 7:30 next day and he is in 4th grade.

ame i. March 22, 2009, 11:33 PM

When my first daughter was born (she is now 11) I used my laptop to keep a log of when she nursed, napped, and woke at night to nurse, needed a fresh diaper, or just wanted comfort. After a month, I understood her schedule. I didn’t put her on a schedule. She put me on a schedule.
I knew she needed a bath at 7, followed by “walkies”, followed by nursing, followed by time to lay down and sleep.
Realizing her schedule was not up to me but dictated by her made it much easier to care for her sister, born 2 days before daughter the 1st turned 2.
Now 9 and 11, we still have a scheduled bedtime routine.

dee March 23, 2009, 10:01 AM

you didn’t say what time your darling wakes up in the morning or whether or not she has a tv in her room. the first respondee said her 4 year old gets up at 10 or 11. i also am a home school mom and have a darling 9 year old talker mover dance jumper. it is very tempting to let her sleep as long as she will in the morning so i get some restful thinking time without the constant entertainment when she’s awake. but i have realized the error of my ways and begun to wake her up at six a.m. then i make sure we get some outside active time even just a 20 minute walk every day. good for her and me! then i make her turn off the tv at least 1/2 hour before her now earlier bedtime and read. and guess what? she falls asleep earlier. we are still dealing with waking up in the middle of the night with bad dreams and i want to hurt her because i am tired, but i walk her back to bed and tuck her in. if she lives until she is 10, we’ll know it worked.

annnodlee March 23, 2009, 1:52 PM

Fortunately I have 3 great sleepers and its hard for me to understand when people change their lives (quit working, what’s that about?) to accomodate a child who by far knows exactly what she’s doing and its working for her.

It seems like there is a routine, which is key, however, when she goes into bed you have to stop addressing every question, issue, bathroom, drink, etc. Everything needs to be done before she climbs into bed. If she likes to get out of bed, then a lock on the outside of the door might have to be put on. You’ll probably go through a few miserable nights until she realizes who’s boss, but it will be worth it in the long run. Oh sure, I probably sound like the meanest of mean, but if you don’t address this now, which in my opinion, should have been addressed when she started sleeping in a bed, you’re going to be in for many more nights after 8.

URKiddingRight March 23, 2009, 3:47 PM

I was reading about Obamanation’s tasteless remark about the Special Olympics and saw this blog, clicked on and am amazed at how you ladies allow your kids to control you.
” I didn’t put her on a schedule. She put me on a schedule.” U r kidding…wow. So, everything is a negotiation, everything is a debate. In other words, your children have no respect for you whatsoever. Tell your darling angel that it is bed time and that he/she must now go and get in bed. But since they have no respect for you, they won’t. And you continue to lose your mind due to lack of sleep.

Kim March 23, 2009, 4:05 PM

I agree completely with Earth Mommy. Repetition and consistency is the key. After the first couple times your child gets out of bed, you walk them back to bed without saying a word. You do this as many times as it takes until they fall asleep. It may take a couple nights for them to get the point, but soon they will no longer get out of bed. This may sound silly, but Supernanny has a great ‘Stay in Bed’ Technique that truly works.

Tiff March 23, 2009, 10:05 PM

My 15 month old is sleep training right now. He is bawling in the next room as we speak. It was tough cause Dad works third shift, so he just started sleeping with me. Then as he got older and started needing his 12 hours, I started going to be with him at 7pm. Then my house started to be a wreck cause I never got anything done cause I was working all day, sleeping all night. Now it’s time to train him to go to sleep on his own in his bed. And I’m paying for it, believe me. Little bugger just gagged himself and vomited to get my attention.

lucky June 17, 2009, 4:27 AM

wow!!!! help to anyone who reads this leave me e-mail at
so my son had a test done when he was 3 saing he has had sleep apnia how ever you soell it i let this be a excuse for him every day of his life he is now 5 and i cant take it i cant take not getting any sleep or lucky if i get 2 hours i cant socialize or work the next day casue im to tired and this does not happen every once in a while its every day as we speak it is 2;21 AM I have gotten up about 12 times since 10 pm thinking one of these time he will go to sleep its liek a routine now and i dont know how ot break it my room is up stairs his is down . so we put him to ed tuck him in read and leave his night light on and bathroom light that connects ot his bedroom, and he says ok good night fun.. than about hour in to it is when hell freezez over for me he wakes up crying and screaming he comes about ha;f way up stairs ill hear him get up say lets go back to bed and sometimes i got out of my bed he will just walk to bed with me and say night , and we will do this process till about 5 am and he will sleep till about 8 and be p ready to go play well mommy cant go to bed at 5 am and be ready to go by 8 am lol . its kiling me . i try to understand but loose my cool sometimes i have tried just putting him badk to bed every single time every single night . and nothing no diffrence nothing . note: when he was younger he slept with me till he was 3 mommy put tv in his room and for last 3 months we took it put put it in his play room, now what , tv was no better either he wake up cause e saw something scary on tv i never win

Heide August 14, 2010, 3:10 AM

letting your kid sleep with you and fall asleep is a good idea and then you take them to their room. if they are older they should learn to go to sleep so just put them in a dark room and shut the door. they can deal with it. if they are a little kid no little kid should have that traumatizing experience of being alone in a dark room. respect your kids and they might just respect you.

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