Won't stay in bed...ever!

We think my son, who will be 3 in January, has SPD. Our evaluation is in 3 weeks.


My son has never been able to fall asleep on his own. As a child, he did not sleep through the night until 11 months. He had reflux issues and he screamed for the first 6 months whenever you put him down for anything. The screaming was non stop so we had to sleep sitting up in chairs in 4 hour shifts, my husband and I. Furthermore, he never stays in bed now. He was an early climber, so we needed to switch him to a toddler bed around 15-18 months. Since that time, every night has been torture.

Before we knew about SPD, we tried locking him in his room (Ferberizing him). That worked for maybe two weeks until he ripped off the door knob safety lock and nearly ripped the door off its hinges. We tried baby gates but all he does is scale them. Bedtime is usually a 2 hour process every night of him screaming, crying, etc. He eventually gives up and goes to bed but some time during the night he comes into our bed (we do not want him hurting himself climbing over gates at night so we take them down when he falls asleep). We used to put him back but he comes back in every hour, so I hate to say we just gave up.

The most frustrating part is I cannot tell now if he is manipulating us or if it is part of the disorder. He has other issues which make me think he could also have HFA such as toe walking and repeating words, etc.

I just do not know what to do. I do not want to be cruel but he needs his sleep (and so do I)! I would not mind the waking so much if he did went to bed on his own or without so much assistance because we have two other children and the entire house is disrupted until 10pm nearly ever night regardless of when we put him to bed.

Does anyone have a similar issue or any suggestions?

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Nov 30, 2008
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It'll get better
by: Anonymous

I completely empathize with you on that one. Our 6 year old has SID. I just tuck him in, read him 2 books and lay with him until he falls asleep.

He just started kindergarten and wow he sleeps like a bear now! Sleeps through the night and often wakes up before the alarm goes off in the morning for school. He really doesn't like to fall asleep by himself, and frankly I don't mind laying with him for a while. It's a good quiet time for both of us. He goes to bed at 7:30 b/c he has to get up at 6 a.m.

Lately he's started building these huge piles of blankets/pillows on the couch and burrowing into the center. So last weekend he wanted to sleep in it, I just said "go for it." And he slept great through the night - we've really learned to pick our battles and at night time just find something that works.

I know what you're saying about feeling manipulated - I just try to parent from compassion and understanding and I think most of the time there's no manipulation - it's just one little voice asking for help any way he can.

Nov 16, 2008
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staying in bed...
by: Darlene

I can sympathize with everyone... My son is 8. He still can't get himself to sleep at night. He has never been able to get to sleep before 10 pm ever. His pediatrician said that he has set his body clock and that it most likely wont change.

We go through the rituals to make sure everything is perfect to fall asleep. First his shower, certain boxers and shorts, books, a drink, night light( lava lamp), air purifier to block out background noise from the rest of the house, and then the biggie.. I have to climb in and snuggle with him. This is the part that is killing me too. It takes forever for him to fall asleep. (Part of me does love this time, watching him just be peaceful and relaxed.)

I have continued to do this thinking that he will only be little for a short time and that one day he wont want me anymore. But, for his own good, I have started to shorten each step... Getting out of the bed and sitting on a chair instead and then, telling him that I will be close by and I will keep checking on him. .. I also threaten to shut the night light off or door if he refuses to try to fall asleep.. I think it gets easier as he gets older. We also talk about how he can help shut his brain down.. Good luck. let me know how it goes

Nov 15, 2008
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I completely understand!!
by: Aidan's Mommy

My son is the exact same way as yours. He has never been a good sleeper at all since he was born. He is of course my first child, so as a first time parent I was not really quite sure what I was doing and used whatever tactic I could to get him to sleep.

But we are currently in the process of getting him eval-ed and diagnosed with SPD because I have notices a few more issues as well. But we are looking forward to starting the OT because I am hoping that it will help with the bedtime/sleeping issues.

I want to say that they will outgrow it and it will get easier, but unless you get some help, I don't think that he will just "outgrow" it. And yes, as they get older you can reason with them more and better, but that doesn't always make it easier for a kiddo with SPD.

My suggestion would be to talk to your pediatrician and see what they say, or someone who might be able to offer some advice or help on techniques to help your child relax better at night. That is what we are currently in the process of doing!

Nov 12, 2008
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It will get better!
by: Kelly

My son is going through the same thing. He was diagnosed with ADHD by a doctor but when he started school they told me that he has signs of sensory dysfunction instead. I was staying up with him some nights until 4 am when he would eventually fall asleep from exhaustion. My life was a living hell. I also have a 11 month old. My 4 year old is like having 4 y old triplets. He is jumping off of furniture all day long. He just seems to never get tired! My suggestions to you are to:

1. Try to take a car ride until he falls asleep and try to carry him inside without waking him.

2. Buy or make (you can find instructions online) a weighted blanket.

3. Try herbal meds (like melatonin)and aromatherapy. Ask your doctor first.

4. Sometimes I have top lay in bed with my son and just hold him until he falls asleep. I have to constantly remind him to stay still. Eventually he falls asleep.

If you would like to contact me my e-mail is kdevooght@hotmail.com.

Good Luck - I hope something works. It will get a little easier with time. I promise.

Nov 12, 2008
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Won't stay in bed
by: Anonymous

My daughter was also unable to go to sleep on her own or stay asleep at night. We initially fought with her, but I just couldn't torture her like that so I ended up lying down with her until she fell asleep, then she slept with us when she came to our room at night.

When she got to big to sleep with us she would put a pillow on the floor and cover up with a blanket beside the bed. We played with bedding fabric and found some that was more tolerable to her.

Eventually (when she was about 8) we discovered that she would stay in bed if she had enough weight on her at night. We just bought her a weighted blanket and she loves it! I wish you luck in finding the right combination for your family.

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