My 10-year-old daughter, Anna, recently has had some issues with sleeping. Before telling more of her story, which is personal, I did get her permission. Our hope is that it will help others with young children who have sleep issues.
Anna has been a great sleeper since we brought her home from the hospital. Always slept contently in her crib and her regular bed. But about six months ago, our neighbor’s home was broken into and thousands of dollars of stuff was taken. Andy and I realized that most break-ins happen in the daytime and didn’t really think a ton about it other than how unfortunate that was for the family. Anna, however, became Ms. Homeland Security of Lehman Land. She would make sure all doors and windows were locked and she always made sure the garage was shut so no one would come and take anything from our garage.
Then she started having nightmares–about someone kidnapping her or coming home from school and finding all of our possessions gone. She would wake in the middle of the night crying and asking to sleep on the floor in our bedroom. So of course we told her yes and we would nightly pray with her that her bad dreams be taken away and give her peace.
Fast forward to a month ago. It was starting to get so bad that she would just sleep on our bedroom floor rather than trying to go to sleep in her own bedroom. We knew this wasn’t healthy for her but we didn’t know how to fix it either. That is, until we met Dr. Robert Oexman. He did a phone interview with us, asking multiple questions about our sleeping patterns, and we told him about Anna. He talked to her like a father talks to his child. He was so nice and caring for her! You could really feel over the landline how he wanted to help her.
So what we did is we would go into her room with her at bedtime per Dr. Oexman’s advice. I have an iPod touch that has some ocean wave sounds and a timer. I’d set the timer for a couple of hours and put the iPod on the docking station. We’d listen to the calming waves, talk about the day, pray, talk about anything she wanted to talk about. After 15 minutes, we left the room and checked on her in 5 minutes. If she was still awake and needed us, then we’d sit in her room with her again for 5 minutes this time not saying much of anything and same thing, leave after 5 minutes and then come back.
Most nights she was out by the 1st 5 minutes. Also in the middle of the night rather than just sleeping on our floor she would have to wake Andy or me up (who ever was on duty that night) and we’d go with her in her room, not talk at all and do the same thing (in her room for 5 minutes, out for 5) until she was back to sleep.
We did have a couple of set backs but really she did very well. She’s sleeping all night in her room alone and in her bed. Her quality of sleep has improved so much, so has ours and we have noticed our bedroom is much bigger now thanks to not having a child laying next to our bed in the morning!
Have you had any problems with your kids taking over your bedroom? Post a comment and tell me!