Sleep Clinic 2 - more of your questions answered

Supernanny is giving you the opportunity to put your sleep dilemmas to Mandy Gurney from the Millpond Children’s Sleep Clinic. Here she answers two more common questions

Q "I am struggling to get my 21 month old daughter to sleep in her bed. She has always been a good sleeper and gone to bed on her own, but we went on holiday for a month where she slept in a bed in between her two sisters and in the same room as me. When we got back she wouldn’t go into her cot, so we bought her a cot bed. She started in with her sisters, but then I moved her to her own room (which was where she had slept in a cot) as she was waking in the night crying or coming into our bed and when I tried to get her back to sleep, it was waking the other two!

Now she screams and gets out of bed a million times and it takes up to an hour to get her to sleep. I put her to bed, say goodnight and then walk out and she just cries and follows – I think she gives in now from pure exhaustion!

Please help as it’s driving me mad. My husband works shifts, so I am on my own three or four nights a week, putting the three girls to bed, and don’t get any time at night to myself. "

Mandy says:

“Your daughter has obviously lost the confidence in being able to sleep by herself and feels insecure. However, that’s not really surprising, as a month is a long time to be away from your normal routine.

Once again, I would say that this is an anxiety issue, so you shouldn’t take a hard line approach. Instead I would go for the Gradual Retreat Programme which I suggested in the last Sleep Clinic.

As well as this, I also think that you need to focus on your daughter having a quiet and relaxing bedtime routine. A short warm bath is essential as it will stop bathtime becoming a play opportunity and will make your daughter drowsy, rather than reinvigorated.

After that she should have a quiet relaxing story and then she should go to bed, with the lights dimmed down.

Q "I need some serious advice! We are having trouble getting our daughter to stay in bed and go to sleep. We have always kept a pretty regular routine with her and her older brother. We put her down, and it's not like she needs us, but she gets up and plays with all her toys. It takes sometimes hours to get her to go to sleep.

My husband and I hardly get time together because we are always getting up and putting her back in bed.

If she isn't out of her bed playing, she's in her bed playing with her stuffed animals she sleeps with... laughing, screaming and kicking the wall. We are at a complete loss of what to do."

Mandy says:

“It’s a real shame that I don’t know the age of this little girl, but I am guessing that she is around two and a half or three, and I also think that she may have developed a late sleep phase i.e. she falls asleep late and wakes late in the morning.

As parents, you should start keeping a sleep diary which will enable you to record what time she does fall asleep. My feeling is that she may be going to sleep late and getting up late, which just perpetuates the problem.

If she is still having a nap in the day, check that this nap is not too long or being taken too late. Or you may also be putting her to bed too early – when she’s not tired enough.

Also, I would recommend putting her toys away in boxes, so it’s difficult for her to play with them in the evenings and if she is sleeping in, in the mornings to start waking her up earlier every morning to re-set her body clock e.g. no later than 7.30am."

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From good as gold to completely hysterical - Mandy Gurney answers your sleep problems...

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Millpond Sleep Clinic was the first private clinic to specialise in babies' and children's sleep problems. It now has a reputation as the UK's leading children's sleep clinic

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