Sleep Hassles with 11-year-old
I am very concerned about my daughter. She is eleven years old. She finds it very hard to settle down in the evening. She seems to have a lot of energy in the evening and she cannot switch off.
Her routine after school is a small break when she comes in from school, homework, dinner, watch TV for a few hours. She gets ready for bed around 8.30 pm or 9.00pm at the latest.
She goes into her bed and maybe play a game on her DS or watch a DVD or read a book until
she falls asleep.
I have tried to tell her that this is relax and sleep time but she doesn’t seem to grasp this.
I like to chill myself but I cannot relax until she is asleep. With the result that I don't get my rest either. I am loosing it and she doesn’t get to sleep before 11.pm and she is like a bear in the morning than. This is very frustrating. HELP!!!
Please can you suggest anything that I can do to change this?
My name is Jody McVittie and I’m part of the team that answers questions for the PD website. I’m also a mother of 3 young adults (who had their share of sleep troubles) and a family physician. You probably already learned (as most parents do) that there are certain things that parents have no control over. You can’t “make” someone go to the pee in the potty, eat, enjoy homework, or go to sleep. There are lots of reasons kids can’t settle down in the evening… so many that the list will be overwhelming. Here are some suggestions that may be helpful.
- At a time when you and your daughter are both calm (not late in the evening) ask her if she would be willing to talk about sleep issues with you. (If she says no, ask for another time that would work for both of you.) Let her know that it is hard – at age 11 to have a “bed time” and sometimes hard to “switch off” the day…. But your guess is that, given how she is really a kind and generous person, her grumpiness in the morning might be that her body is saying she hasn’t had enough sleep. Ask for her help in solving the problem.
- Before you go into this discussion, remember to keep a few things in perspective: you will be most effective if you let her “own” this problem - which means you need to own your part. You can figure out how to go to sleep before she does (taking care of yourself) and how to not take her morning behavior personally – while still asking (respectfully) to be treated well in the morning. This will probably be your most effective first step.
- When you begin problem solving the two of you might make a long list of things that might be keeping her awake at night and then have her pick ONE OR TWO to work on at a time (for a week or two)… otherwise the list will be too long. Your list might include things like:
Best wishes to you and your family,