Issues around sleeping - due to adoption or just terrible two's??

(9 Posts)
Ladyofthehouse Fri 25-Jan-13 20:02:18

Hi, our two daughters have been with us now for just over 3 months.

The eldest (3 in April) is a nightmare at naptime or bedtime and pretty much has been since she moved in. She wasn't really in any kind of routine at the foster home and wasn't really getting much sleep - waking at 4am because she 'just did'.

We have a good routine that she loves, we talk about what we are doing tomorrow after bathtime, then they have a little cup of milk,her sister goes to bed just before her (mainly so she doesn't get woken!), then she practically runs upstairs for reading.

She seems to want our attention constantly so hates going to bed but we're unsure of what to do! I have a doctors appointment on Monday to get her adenoids checked as she does snore very loudly and often wakes coughing and spluttering.

If she doesn't have her nap or lack of sleep she just can't cope and has tantrum after tantrum - I have teeth marks in my arm from Wednesday still, not to mention the throwing and spitting!! And her little sister (2 in March) just gets pushed around.

We have tried sitting with her but then she wants to sit on us, then gets a book, she just won't lie down. If we put her back in bed she giggles and runs out continuously. She will basically just scream and scream until she falls asleep - naptime today was just 20 minutes but my poor DH is up there now for just over half an hour and she's stopped screaming but knocking on walls and flicking switches. There's never any tears so it does seem to be attention -could it be seperation anxiety?

Our SW hasn't been much help and thinks it's just a phase and will pass - although she did mention checking with the doctor. Her speech is also quite delayed.

Has anybody else experienced this? It's just hard to know if it is because of the move or is this just standard toddler stuff? After over 3 months it's getting quite draining!

Piffyonarock Fri 25-Jan-13 20:36:34

Hello Lady, congratulations on your little girls joining you.

We haven't had experience of exactly what you describe, but I thought I;d share what we have experienced in case it helps. When our DD moved in she was a much lighter sleeper than her brother for several months, woke earlier etc and always stirred if you went into her room, whereas we could got and put laundry away in DS's room once he was asleep. We just thought they slepf differently, but she sleeps as well as him now - it must have been the change of home etc and she just wasn't as relaxed. Also, she seemed to settle fairly quickly, but looking back it was a lot longer than we thought before she was really used to being with us. She was a similar age to your DD2 and DS is a year older. So you might find that things eventually settle down and it is all to do with the move.

However, if she didn't have a routine at foster family that won't help, we had a routine to stick to which really helped. Our DS went through a phase of not going to sleep when he came out of a cot and into a proper bed, which took us quite a while to get hime out of. We spent quite a few weeks just being in the darkened room with him, mainly ignoring him but quietly saying soothing things occaisionally to reassure him and gradually we were able to move away from the bed and out of the room. Sometimes they get into negative routines so that they do the same problematic things at the same time each day, so trying a different routine to bypass that sometimes works e.g. do milk and stroies downstairs, lights out once upstairs, or keep her up a little later, she might appreciate the one to one time once DD2 is in bed.

Sounds like the GP will be worth a check though if she has got issues with her breathing at night, that might also make her a bit anxious. I would probably not bother with the daytime nap any more, or might she nod off if you went somewhere in the car?

Generally, we have had to try all sorts of things to change particular behaviours and some work faster than others. Trial and error! And we rarely know whether it is adoption related or normal kids stuff!

Sorry if that was no help whatsoever! You have my sympathy re the biting, throwing etc, my DS did that sort of thing for about 2 years, it was a nightmare. Good luck smile

Ladyofthehouse Fri 25-Jan-13 21:08:36

Thanks for the reply! So nice to hear others have similar issues at times!

We were surprised at the lack of routine - she was sharing a room with 2 others (not her sister) so was put to bed quite early. WHen we were there once during the intros for the 'routine' it was basically right it's 6pm and put their PJ's on in the living room then carried up and put to bed and ordered to stay there - so I don't think she was really used to the feeling of tired and going to sleep on her own.

She definitely likes the little bit of time with us on her own once her sister has gone to bed but she still does need her nap - could be because her quality of sleep isn't great though. Went a week without it and she couldn't function at all - fell asleep at soft play at half ten in the morning!! So not like her!!

I just hate hearing her screaming - but then if we go in she giggles!!

Piffyonarock Fri 25-Jan-13 21:36:05

Ah, quite a different set up then. She will probably take a while to get used to being in a room on her own having shared previously. She's still little and needs a lot of reassurance following the big move. You and DH might need to allot extra time for this for a while. My DH used to cuddle DS on his knee until he was asleep and then put him in his bed - it took a while for him to go off, but once he was he did stay asleep and is a very good, deep sleeper by and large. He tended to want DH because he'd been with me all day.

We have had a number of steps-on-the-way methods of doing things, that haven't been ideal in themselves but moved gradually onto where we wanted things to be.

We often felt under pressure with friends and relatives and their various methods, stories and advice. What we have come to realise is that each child is individual and there is no magic method that works for all of them with anything. I've a friend with three birth children and two of them have been terrible sleepers and settlers and they have each been up until 10pm and beyond, until going to school finally tired them out enough to go a bit earlier. Neither of them napped either, I don't know how they coped! The eldest was fine, no rhyme or reason.

Also, when a baby is newborn the first year or so is effectively "throning" e.g. their needs should be met and they should be cared for properly and there are no particular demands placed on them to behave in a particular way, they are the centre of someones world. Then the next phase is "de-throning" e.g. baby/toddler start to learn that they are not in charge and need to do what their carers decide (I read this somewhere and have paraphrased very poorly, but hopefully you see what I mean).

The big thing for us with adopting is that the throning/de-throning end up muddled because we think whatever their age you still have to do a certain amount of throning in order to gain their trust and for them to understand that you love them etc, so a lot of age-appropriate methods aren't always that useful for adopted ones.

Gosh, I do go on a bit. It is horrible when they scream, but at least she's giggling when she sees you! We have always had one issue or another going on, but I think that's parenting. Hope she's settled down now and you and DH can have some adult relaxing time!

goshua Sat 16-Feb-13 23:28:17

whoop's we have a rutine with baby 18 months, thought we did got some new
peppa pig books this week. , older kids have fun reading to her, come bed time and nap time tantrums, wait untill pages finnished books away let defuse
then back into rutine. peppa is going too the pig farm soon i think.
Think your sw is right need too see the GP may be reasons little one will not settle may be sensory sleep issues , or other underlying problems as the adonoid problems you mention. Lots of kids have sensory problems dont like the feel of certain material's on their skin, light , noise etc. Not just children
adults too. beaviour often compencates for their issues.

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 17-Feb-13 16:25:07

Three quick thoughts (have to run, will come back later if I get a chance)

- any reason why your DD don't share a room? Might they both sleep better if they were together, or would it be unfair on the littlest?

- DS has always been rubbish at settling to sleep, so we have ended up with the rule that he has to go to bed at a certain time but he can read or play quietly in his bed with his lamp on, provided he doesn't make a fuss or wake his sister up (they share a room). He seems to go to sleep best when he isn't "trying" to go to sleep, IYKWIM

- DS also has a CD player with story CDs to listen to in bed, which helps him to lie quietly to concentrate on the stories, and then to drop off

teresa2003 Sun 17-Feb-13 17:46:15

It could just be a phase due to not being used to a bedtime routine like you are giving her now.You are right to go to the doctors as the snoring isnt normal for a toddler like you say.

My ds was a very bad sleeper as a child from when he started nursery at 1(not sure why) up to the age of about 6.He had a bedtime routine & has always loved books.But however calm you tried to keep him putting him to bed just seemed to wake him up.I live near the seaside so would spend hours with him after nursery on the beach hoping the fresh air would tire him out.But sometimes it would get to 10 in the evening before he would "give up".As a result i also found that he had awful tantrums mostly from being so tired.

Personally i found my gp unhelpful as i went to see him on a couple of occasions.He simply said that children need routine & that i should stick to it.
" Is that the same routine i have had for the last 4 years "i asked him before leaving feeling deflated.Ds also had quite a patronising teacher when he was in year 1 at school.She pulled me aside one day to tell me she was "very concerned that ds kept telling her he was very tired" & she felt that this was why he sometimes didnt concentrate.I told her( for about the 100th time) that i had tried everything to get him to sleep & that she was welcome to come & try if she could do any better.

As FamiliesShareGerms said it does help if you try not to make it "bedtime" & let them go to bed with a lamp on & play/read quietly.Obviously this is easier when they get older as i now just send ds up to read for a while & he normally just falls asleep on his own now.

Sorry if i sound negative but i personally think that some children are just not that good at sleeping however much you try.My mum once told me that my brother & i were the complete opposite.He would sleep solidly for around 11 hrs from being a toddler & would only sleep for 4/5 hrs tops.On the other hand if you manage to get help through your gp then that would be great.

Ladyofthehouse Mon 04-Mar-13 20:19:13

Wanted to update you all as you gave some great advice!

DD is now sleeping much better - daytime nap and at night!

We were advised not to sleep them in the same room as the eldest could be a bit over-mothering with her sister and is able to climb into her cot. If she was to even cough she'd be trying to shove a dummy in her mouth or lift her up!

The doctors said that she has massive tonsils for her age and she could have sleep apnea because of this. We've seen an ENT specialist who wants to do a sleep study. Although she is going to sleep better we're not sure her quality of sleep is any better as her daytime naps seem to have got a lot longer and we have to literally wake her. She also seems to have a few nightmares (crying in her sleep).

Personally I think sleeping has never been a positive thing for her but now that we've got her to go to sleep peacefully (we sit in the room and wait for her to go) she seems be catching up on it. We also changed naptime to be in her bed with the blind drawn so its quite clearly time to sleep. In the foster home she napped on the sofa in front of the TV so we were advised to keep it the same but I think she found it hard to switch off

Funnily enough our SW did recommend letting her listen to stories in her room and oh my God did it freak her out?! She was convinced there was someone sat in her room with her reading to her so we stopped it after about 5 minutes!

Thankyou for all the advice!! Certainly helps being able to talk to others out there!

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 04-Mar-13 23:15:54

Sorry my suggestions weren't any good and freaked DD out, but glad you're seeing an improvement!

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