Child and Sleep

It is 4.10am. I need to sleep but my three and a half year old will not sleep. Please can someone help me with some real advice - I am exhausted. He has been crying for over an hour. I feel like knives are being stabbed into my body every time he cries. I have just written another email apologising to my neighbours. I am so wound up and am starting to get physically ill from it. Please do not patronise me by saying, "You just need to... relax." I know I do. But I am also calm and relaxed for the first hour then I loose it. He has cried for 1.20 minutes and will not be reasonable. I try everything. I am alone in France because my partner is in Angola for work. I really need a break. I do not know what to do. I am simply exhausted and do not have family or close friends nearby that are able to help. I would like one nights sleep. I know this will end. I need to try and get some sleep now. but all I want to do is cry.

Hi Ingrid,

Im still new to this and saw your post last year.....oops just looked again & its 4 years ago BUT did you get any help, would you still like someone to help maybe have a half day off just for you? Im Caz, 54 worked as a learning support assistant and road safety instructor for children in UK, married 2 grown sons in UK with their wives and children. My area is listed as close to Chantelle as not many people know of my village. I have a friendly border collie so we are very familar with the river walk that has been recently revamped. Drop me a line if you'd like to meet sometime. Take care all the best, Caz

Ingrid. Where do you live?

Homeopathy is not completely safe for children, despite you and her majesty using it.
You have no idea who makes it, the conditions of the place where it is made and it is often full of addictive chemicals including alcohol.
Locals use such remedies to drug their kids.


Stay inside for the next day or so till things calm down


Well done you! I think a kindness from one human being to another, as you rightly point out, can put fuel in your tank for days when you’ve been running on empty. I know that only too well, and with regard to children most certainly. Maybe everybody’s support on SFN, whether they gave the “right” advice or not, helped you simply to feel less alone and gave you the confidence to follow your instincts.

Just a sincere word of warning based on personal experience. Watch out for being too “strong”. I, too, am told that I am considered to be a very strong person, and of course I like to think of myself that way, but meltdown came for me several years ago when I was forced to admit that I had to ask for help after soldiering on and on and on. I ended up in The Priory for a month and the best advice they ever gave me was to “come out of my room” both literally and metaphorically. In other words to go towards others for support and for different takes on important matters, as you have of course done on this forum. Mynatural tendancy is to hate to ask for help; a mixture of thinking “this too shall pass” and just not wanting to “make a fuss”. Since my therapy though, and with practice, it has become easier for me and I do now feel I can “lean” on trusted people. What is interesting too is that once you talk about your own struggles, often people will open up and tell you theirs and I’ve made close friends there.

End of sermon :wink: and…

Bonne Continuation!

Hi Ingrid

I've been that soldier! My little man is 4 and a half now and is just starting to do the nights. Easy to say to take him for a drive but if it's 4am in the morning, cold and dark outside, it's not really a feasible option , is it?

I tried everything ; all kinds of herbal teas, the gina ford method ( useless ), homeopathic remedies ( some ok results), starting bed time routine early, bla bla. It was all the more difficult cos my first born had been textbook 8Pm to 8am sleeper from early days. Sleep deprivation : it's a desperate thing and no-one can understand unless they have been through a few years of it. Really, my little just doesn't need much sleep..

One thing that did give some relief too was a visit to an osteopath. If you know a good one ...

Good Luck xx

thanks Elaine, so true... xx

thanks Brian xx

thanks Yvette xx

they are lucky to have you James, thanks xx

thanks Gretchen x

thanks Catherine x

Ingrid - i remember when my children were small and i had flu - couldn't move off the couch kinda flu...I asked a lady who used to pass the house every morning taking her children to the same school as mine if she would take my son - she refused - saying she had to leave the playground early and felt uncomfortable leaving him unattended (it would have been possible for him to sit outside the headmasters office for 15 mins), so I was stuck not knowing what to do.... then a neighbour called around, took one look at me, grabbed my baby to take home to her house, brought me some soup and popped a film on for me to watch and then send her adult son round to take my toddler to school... I will always remember Patsy Smith and her family for their kindness and compassion and like you, always give a bit back myself -it doesn't take a lot to be caring of each other - just awareness - as for the other woman (who attended mass every sunday without fail) I will always remember her for her hypocrisy... so glad you are finding a way through your sleepless nights -)

Good for you, really and for your son too. Now you can get on with life and, just on top, you know you are not absolutely alone.

Oh Ingrid,

I'm so happy you're both feeling better and found a solution that you can be happy with and that works. . Sweet dreams to both of you - until the next sleepless patch of course! Also thank you for making the comment in the first place - it's always good to be reminded that we're not alone in our sleepless nights and that everybody has their own methods that work for them and their children. xx

I'm soooooo please you've posted and sound a bit more chipper.

Your comment about being the worlds biggest expert on parenting made me smile. I had number one and thought all babies went to bed at 8, slept through till 8.30 and then napped for 2 hours morning and afternoon and if not....the parents were doing something wrong.

Then God (or whoever?) sent me number two and I realised that all children have ahem, different sleep patterns and that some simply do not sleep. :)

We survived. Just!! So I do feel for you xxx

Thank you again for all your help everyone xx

I have let my son back into my bed and he is calm and relaxed and he has not cried - he wakes up in the night and pats me as if he is comforting me then rolls over and goes back to sleep - we have both slept much better and I have slept better. There is a lot more to tell to understand my situation - like being surrounded by gun fire in Nigeria and having threats of kidnapping and having Malaria - and travelling extensively - my son has been on over 30 international flights, and we stayed in over 25 different places from when he was 8 months old- for 2 nights, a week to two months - longest was 4 months - so the only stable thing was that he was always with me... and often needed to sleep with me - things are often not simple - there have also been other issues but over all life has been good to great... I can understand some of the comments about being tough and but they don't work for me.

I am a very strong person and was a teacher - I can proudly say that I can take my son anywhere - he has been to Michelin restaurants, 5 star hotels and spas that don't normally take children and I have had many compliments at how well behaved he is. And he does not behave out of fear - he is quite happy to read his books or play with his toys at the table...

But who knows what the future will bring - I know that this is how things are at present and may eat my words next week... so never over confident and ever empathetic when I see mother's dealing with difficult situations - I was the biggest expert on parenting and children before I had my own - now I find it very difficult to criticise any parent. There are just too many factors that need to be considered before making a judgement.

What I will say is always offer to help parents at airports and check on single parents if they need anything and very often people do not ask for help and offer to babysit or even take a child to the park or for a walk - 30 minutes anything...

When my son was 8 weeks old a woman saw me packing my shopping into my car at Tesco in Rickmansworth and she came to help me - I had really low blood pressure and felt ready to collapse - I could not even speak to thank her - I just looked at her and gratefully she ignored the tears in my eyes. She took my trolley and said, "we all need help sometimes." And walked off.

I have been very fortunate with people helping me and now I look for people that I can help in return.

Kind Regards to All and Happy New Year xx

I'm really sorry! Tiredness is SO hard when you are with children. I used to sleep with my crying 3 year old, and that worked. I've seen your reply that it doesn't work for you though. Is there a way you could adapt the sleeping arrangement, perhaps a bolster between you and the child, so you aren't quite so vulnerable to his movements?

Good luck, Danuta

I feel for you! My youngest daughter used to wake up every night for years and even now (at 6) she is a light sleeper. She does not like to go to sleep and be apart from me but she knows she has to be in her bed, even if she looks at 5 books to help her sleep. I might be repeating others but they are various reasons , some might be physical more psychological.

As your child can speak, ask during the day if what he thinks of his room, is there a picture that scares him during the night. My son recently told me he was scared of a picture of a clown when he was little!

Is there a noise he hears from his room? My daughter wakes up when the washing machine is on during the night.

Is he worried that his dad is gone? Then his mum might go as well?

Is he going to school and the teacher read scary books to them? We found out our daughter watched Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland and other unsuitable DVDs for 4 years old.

Night terrors can be very disturbing and there is no reasoning possible. Maybe stay with him until he falls asleep but tell him you need to sleep in your bed.

An osteopath can also help as some manipulation can help. Also do try lavender oil, a few drops near the pillow.

At the end of the day, we can all give you advice but get professional help: child psychologist, parental adviser...

Remember, you are not alone, many parents go through hard times and feel hopeless; It will get better .