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Hi There

Our 5.5 AS has been sleeping quite happily for the most part in his own room since March 2017. We now have a baby placed with us, and this is causing our son to be unsettled when going to bed and sometimes getting up in the night. His room is upstairs and ours is downstairs. The baby is in with us and will be for the foreseeable. We feel that we need to do something to help him feel not left out in terms of his bedroom but our options are limited. We could move him to a room downstairs but the room is very big and would invlove redecorating both rooms. Also when the baby is older he too will be moving upstairs.

I think if we can get him resettled that will help...... He cannot read his own books yet and he doesnt have a tv in his room. But I was thinking of how I can give him a little more control at bedtime in respect of when he settles for sleep. If he were older and/or could read, I would let him lie in bed for a while reading before lights out.

So Im asking for other ideas on that and also should we just let him move downstairs. I should have said that it is much easier to settle him when we are both at home and one can stay with the baby. But my OH often is working at night so I am usually having to do the bedtime and keep the baby close at the same time......


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You could put a small foldable matrasse into your bedroom, so both children sleep with you when/as long as needed (we have a small matrasse which has come in handy on many occasions, right now one of my daughters is sleeping on it in the playroom) or he could listen to childrens' bedtime meditations or audiobooks while going to sleep.


Do you do "special time" with him, eg. 10 minutes each day or on the days your husband is there which are just you and him and during which he can choose what the two of you do? It might help making him feel less left out.


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This is a major change in all your lives and a time of adjustment for all. i would be reluctant to give him a tv in his room as you will not be able to monitor what he watches.

what about recording stories so he can hear your and your dh voice while he goes to sleep..

Give him some piece of clothing that smells of you when he goes to bed. lots of reassurance that you still love him and he is not being replaced.Try to fit in some 1-1 time with him.


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Thanks chestnuttree and amh


Yes I definitely won't put a tv in his room, I was wondering is there anything else I can let him do aside from reading to help him feel a bit more in charge and also a bigger boy? He is very much a creature of habit and routine and so am worriesd about letting him come and go as he needs loads of sleep to function. He has been quite poorly over the winter and so has been up and down a bit and I think this may be unsettling. I try really hard to get at least 10 mins a day 1:1 and mostly I do but he craves much more than that. I also read to him at night and stay with him for as long as possible. Like the idea of stories on cd, any in particular to recommend? X


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it will be tricky time for you all, especially with your husband working at night! I've done both of the above - had a mattress in my bedroom for my boy for 'sleepovers' and given him 'scarfy' - my favourite scarf with my perfume on (not round his neck, usually round a cuddly toy. Would you feel comfortable with them both sleeping in your room for a while? if not, how about shopping for something with him for his room - a night light that is a lava lamp or projector that shows stars etc? Na maybe a new cuddly toy for in bed? Anything that might make him want to be in his own room, but also makes him feel like he's been a bit spoiled?


1:1 time is really important. I also wondered about talking about the baby as being collectively yours to him - sometimes, a bit of "We need to feed the baby, could you help me by getting xx from the kitchen for me?" (with lots of praise). Best of luck - and congratulations xx


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A new addition to the family is certainly a big change and will affect your boy. I would suggest that rather than making him feel like a big boy, you might want to see if needs to regress (I don't know how old he was when he was placed with you) and make bedtime special time with you. Can you read him his bedtime stories whilst cradling the baby? Perhaps bath them both together in the evening? I have a 6 yr old AD and a newly placed baby and am a single parent and know how tricky it is to meet the needs of both children. I would also suggest, as others have said, a bed in your room. He must be feeling like he's really missing out on all the action if he's not only in another room to you but on another floor of the house. The thing I keep chanting to myself is that no period lasts forever so it may be tricky now but in a month, your baby will be experiencing another milestone and your routine will be different again so just do what you need to do for now . Good luck


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Thanks for the new comments. As usual I don't express myself very clearly!! I don't really want him to feel like a bigger boy, just as if he has a bit more choice and control (within reason) around bedtime routine while still sleeping in his own room. We have a baby who has additional health needs and because of this is extremely noisy when awake and sleeping. Our son cannot settle when he is in the same room, I often have to have the baby in the same room ( doing our son's bedtime routine ) and so it becomes a bit tricky as our son wants me to stay but wants the baby to be quiet too!!

I have no trouble having him in our room for a while, but he is in school, has been poorly himself and I am fairly sure he would not sleep well because the baby is very loud and also at times very unsettled. I'm worried about sending him into school knackered.

I don't feel at the moment that I can divide myself up any better between the two - I think I spend a lot of 1:1 time with my son but as I said he always wants more. I completely understand that and why and feel guilty most of the time, but I don't have any more time at the moment.

We have a very established bedtime routine that I stick to and includes story, makey up story, and bottle with cuddles, all in bed. I still do this with the baby in the room if he is not sleeping in his cot. I think part of the problem is that the person in the room at night changes depending on if my OH is home and so too whether or not the baby is there.

I'll have a chat with him today, that usually works well for him. There is the choice of him coming downstairs but not into our room for a bit until he feels more safe and settled again...... Pluto the coming in and out of the room has worked very well for our son before so that may be worth a try again too.......


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Hi Divis - it all sounds quite tricky. West Gold's reminder that no stage lasts for ever is wise. You asked though for specific things your son could do in his room if he wasn't ready to sleep. At that sort of age and older if our girls weren't able to sleep and didn't want to read I was happy for them to do any calm activity - so they might do colouring books, jigsaws, simple lego, etc. You may want/need to pop in some time later on to do lights out and tucking in.

LB


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When my three were little - 5 and under - I was often on my own at bedtimes and I still recall how tricky it could be. Just wondering who’s bedtime is done first? It never worked here trying to do a joint bedtime routine - one was 12 months, the other 2 years - but at the same time the 2 year old wasn’t safe to be left! It was a juggling act that didn’t always work.


Do you put the baby down to sleep first or your son? Is there anything routine wise that you could tweak?


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Good point Donatella about tweaking the routine. I have a couple of workable options I think. Letting my son choose if he would like to sleep in a spare bedroom downstairs - I wouldn't redecorate or anything just let him sleep there with his cuddlies and books and hope that he wants his own room back. If not we will just re jig sleeping space as it is obvious a child would want to be as near to their parents as possible.

Also he does respond much better when baby is sleeping before him, but that rarely happens. I'd need time to tweak the baby's routine so that his last late eve feed is earlier. As I said because if baby's additional health needs it's trickier, when he's fed we need to keep him upright and can't really leave him unsupervised at all due to choking.


Having said all of that we are loving having a new member of our family, though not yet or maybe ever permanent and our son for the most part likes being a big brother!


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How about stories on CD, rather than tv. Easier to fall asleep to as no light. Road Dahl highly recommended by my son, although he's a bit older.


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Amazon Alexa is good at stories! Also pretty good at mind blowing facts amongst other things you probably wouldn’t want to know about!


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Mr Men and Little Miss audio stories as well as Julia Donaldson always went down well when my son was little!


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It might help if you do "special play" as described by Webster-Stratton ("The Incredible Years") - if you are not doing that already. Friends of ours did lots of 1:1, but once they called it Special Play (or Special Time) and gave it certain rules, their son's perception of it changed a lot. I think it is particularly helpful if you have siblings and one feels s/he is getting less attention. It helped my older daughter a lot.


The rules as given by Webster-Stratton are:

1. you set an alarm, when it rings Special Time is over. No extensions, but reminders that you will do it again the next day, in two days or whatever your planned routine is. Special Time is always the same length and in the same room.

2. no screens, no competitive games

3. the child chooses what you do together. You go along with whatever they want (within your house and family rules). If your child doesn't know what to do, you can make some suggestions: cuddle, dance, draw together, play something. Ideally your child should choose though. You model compliance.

4. you try to do a running commentary on what your child does ("ah, you have chose the red one. You are putting it on top"....) and give lots of praise. You support self-awareness and self-esteem.

5. no answering phones, doors, etc. during that time. It must be completely undisturbed.

Those are the rules I remember.

My children LOVED it. Calling it Special Time and explaining and sticking to the rules made a big difference to them, because like this it was noticeable and very different from our day-to-day life.


My children liked Christiane Kerr's bedtime mediations for kids at that age.


A friend of mine made a point of regularly saying to her baby "You need to wait now, because your older sister needs me.", so that her other children saw that the baby didn't always get priority.


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Thanks to all for the very helpful suggestions some of which I've tried and others worth a go. Seems we are having a definite reaction to the baby's placement, albeit after a honeymoon period, and lots of regressive behaviours.


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maybe social stories would help eg a timeline in picutres of what is going to happen in a sequence so it gives him some perspective . I found it easier to start off with 2 pictures so what we will do now then next we will do .then you could increase it to 4/5 steps


https://www.twinkl.co.uk/

or just type

PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) then look at images

or make them personal by using photos .


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Thanks for the Christiane Kerr recommendation. It's not a struggle to get our son to sleep but something calming would be good in general, will see if this works.


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