putting a 7 year old to bed

Reply Fri 2 Oct, 2009 06:37 pm
I am a nanny for a 7 year old from a broken home. She has some seperation anxiety problems and has been sleeping with the mother since a baby. now the mother wants it to stop. I put her to bed 4 nights a week and she wants me to put her to bed read with her shut the light and walk away from her kicking and screaming that she wants me to stay with her. if i don't she gets out of the bed and comes down with me and just holds on to me. I feel this is a problem the parents need to fix not me its heartbreaking. and they are very strict about no staying in the room with her for any amount of time. what do you think thanks
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Reply Fri 2 Oct, 2009 06:47 pm
I think that's tough. My seven year old still sleeps with us often and my nine year old occasionally. It may be that the parents are having you do it because they feel it will be easier for her to separate if it's you.

It doesn't sound like you have much control over the situation, but if you could change it, it seems like something more incremental might work. Like if you could start by staying with her but not in her bed, then slowly move the chair closer and closer to the door over a course of weeks until you're sitting outside.
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Reply Fri 2 Oct, 2009 07:14 pm
Yes, it does seem that the parents want you to do the dirty deed. It won't be
easy if she has slept in Mom's room for 7 years and should go "cold turkey"
Perhaps you can strike a deal with the girl. Tell her that you'll stay and read
her a story if she promises to be good and go to sleep afterwards. You also
have to tell her what happens if she doesn't comply - no bedtime story and
lights off immediately.

It's a rotten thing to do for the mother to let you do the weening off, it really
should be her job, but I think you like the girl and have compassion, so it's
better to help her than leave her traumatized and scared in her room alone.
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Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 06:09 am
We had this trouble with our grandaughter. Parents were going thru a divorce, but the child was a difficult sleeper anyway.

She needs a physical, first to rule out any physical issues. (UTI, diabetes, etc)

Then - re-do the room. Get her involved. Let her choose a "big girl" bed. Get some stuffed animal friends for her to sleep with. Bulletin boards for her to put artwork and or pictures.

The idea is to make her room the most comfortable room in the house for her BUT it is her place to sleep.

Good luck, my grandaughter still has sleep problems. She is just one of those kids that does not require a lot of sleep. but she does stay in her room.

Mom has to be supportive and help her decorate the room. (Adults DO have a roll in this. My daughter was not consistent with insisting she stay in her bed. It can be exhausting to do this process of breaking this habit. )

Is there a father in the home? (My daughter was single over this time, and her daughter may have thought she was taking her father's place in the bed)
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Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 08:00 am
That's so sad! Very much agreed with FreeDuck and CJane that it's not fair for you to have to do the dirty work.

Something to look forward to seemed to really help my daughter with this -- as in, not just laying there thinking "I will not get out of bed, I will not get out of bed" but "if I stay here I will earn ______." We had a chart at first, with staggered rewards. (i.e. a reward immediately after one night, then another reward after she did it for two nights, then another after three, etc., with a big reward after a whole week.)

At seven, is she having sleepovers? That can be a good motivator, too -- if she can go to sleep on her own, she can have a sleepover/ go on a sleepover.
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Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 08:26 pm
give her bena drill thts what my foster parents do to me when i was like 12 now im 13 its just knokes uss out
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Golden Rule
Reply Fri 3 Dec, 2010 11:12 am
I am sure this will be an unpopular answer BUT you are teaching her that SHE is in control, not you. Every human in this world will have a disappointment/tragedy in their lives and it is our job as caretakers to teach them the skills they will need to deal with them. It is unfair and wrong to teach her that she can behave any way she wants because she has been given an unfair situation. That benefits no one. As a seven year old she should be able to say goodnight, get in the bed and go to sleep. This is not a debate, this is a rule that a child must abide by. Plain and simple, cut and dry.

The only true "broken home" in the world is one where no adult is in charge...and THAT is what she is reacting to. Kids need structure, boundaries and consistency, it makes them feel safe.

I agree with you 100% that this parent has the ultimate responsibility for this child and it is unfair that it is being dumped on you. On the other side of that, when you accepted a position of nanny you agreed to it. Now it is up to you to not let your caring nature and sympathy for this girl allow her to own no personal responsibility for her actions. You have to be guided by what is in this child's best interest, not yours OR the mother's. You can cry for her AFTER she is safely sleeping in her own bed, just like the rest of us. ; )

I know you know this, sometimes it is just hard to see the Forrest for all the trees and we all need a little reminder. Especially in this field. Good luck to you and this little girl. You sound like a wonderfully sweet person. Stop it, Ha! ; p

Just saw this was a year old... EH, still decent advice and true... ; p
Reply Fri 3 Dec, 2010 11:25 am
@Golden Rule,
I think the question is how you exercise the control you do have, as a parent or proxy.

It's irresponsible, IMO, to wield power simply because one can.

If the goal is to get the child to sleep on her own, on a permanent basis, there are a variety of ways to get there.

One is the authoritarian route, which is basically "because I say so." This shows who is in control, for sure, but also causes a lot of problems.

An authoritative parent/ proxy controls the situation so that the end result is the same -- the child is sleeping on her own -- but more subtly than by just wielding the blunt instrument of "because I say so." This would include helping the child become motivated to sleep on her own, offering rewards, etc.

Would you berate a child for not being able to walk a tightrope, telling him or her that he or she must climb the ladder and walk across the tightrope with no net, no debate, a rule that the child must abide by, plain and simple, cut and dry? Kids often WANT to do things that they don't really know how to do yet. They need to be taught and encouraged along the way.
Golden Rule
Reply Fri 3 Dec, 2010 02:28 pm
I fully appreciate your view, I do, and as a parent you have EVERY RIGHT to choose how your child is raised. As an EMPLOYEE the OP has the responsibility to enforce the philosophy the parent has chosen for hers. This is neither her child or her home. I have no problem with her doting on this little girl during the day or while they are getting ready to go down for the evening. There is plenty time in every day to make her feel special and adored.

This parent has made it crystal clear what she expects of provider for bedtime, the provider agreed or she would not be employed. I fully understand this parents reasoning as it is a very common one in my field. I hardly see the act of simply putting the child back in the bed, without discussion, every time as berating them. I am sure you have watched an episode of Super Nanny? That IS the technique most are trained to use for this issue IF they hold any certifications in the US. It is standard practice with most agencies, as well.

I, personally, would NEVER reward an expected behavior, rewards are for going above and beyond by 7 years old. ( Rewarding a new learned behavior would be recommended if she was 2. Each redirection technique is age based)

As for my own children, they have never been in the care of another other than attending school. Nothing would please me more than to be put out of business by the fact of ALL parents being able to be with their kids full-time and never requiring childcare. How wonderful would that be?

Unfortunately that is not always possible in our society so parents trust that the providers they have chosen will follow through as they agreed during the interview process. Where I operate most children are with their caregiver 50+ hours per week, this is a huge responsibility not to be taken lightly. Everytime a parent has a bad provider experience it reflects poorly on the entire profession, look at some of the parenting boards, they can be unforgiving and it could quickly cost OP her career. One bad review and she could be "black balled".
Reply Fri 3 Dec, 2010 03:54 pm
@Golden Rule,
It worries me that you are a day care owner for special needs children with
an attitude like that.
Reply Mon 6 Dec, 2010 12:01 pm
@Golden Rule,
Not if the child has real separation anxiety - then it is cruel. There is a big difference between a child trying to get his way and one that has anxiety.
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Reply Mon 6 Dec, 2010 12:13 pm
Me as well.

Right now I have a 12 year old that has been showing separation anxiety. Nothing huge has changed in her life, other than the normal pre-teen stuff. We tried the tough route, but she was not getting much sleep - yes she would eventually fall asleep on her own, but she would be up much of the night. We finally decided we did not want to have a sleep deprived child and allowed her to sleep in our room.

We discussed this with her doctor and her doctor sayed it is common in children her age. It is an anxiety and can be tough for a child with this to fall asleep. They worry and worry and can't stop. Sleeping in the room with the parents help because they feel safe. She suggested a few appointments with a child psycholigist that could work with her to teach her ways to deal with her anxiety.

The first appointment is tough to get so we have it in a couple of weeks. My daughter keeps asking when the appointment is because she wants to meet with her and learn how to sleep on her own. My daughter says she wants to sleep on her own - she feels like a baby because she has such difficulty.

Now does that sound like a child trying to control their parents?
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