Mrs Kennedy called me because she was emotionally drained. Her six year old daughter Emily would get angry at bedtime and start hitting her parents, behaving jealously of her little brother, making bedtime hell and spending all night getting up and down from bed.
This girl was shattered and it was affecting her ability to concentrate at school. With a three year old son to take care of too, Mrs Kennedy was exhausted and at a loss as to how she could help Emily.
It was clear that she did not want to be alone to go to sleep but even if mum stayed with her she would get frustrated and then turn aggressive and disturb her younger brother in the process.
Emily was ending up in her parents bed at some stage every night. It was the only way mum could get any sleep and prevent Emily from waking three year old Ewan. Having a six year old in bed is not ideal on a nightly basis and the parents barely had anytime for themselves at all.
Emily's behaviour at school was negatively affected, and mum felt she couldn’t be her best with Ewan as she was like a walking zombie a lot of the time. This was no way to live and being a parent was not enjoyable at all which made Mrs Kennedy very sad.
Soon into our initial conversation, I could see similar responses and behaviours in Emily as I see in many pre-schoolers only in Emily this had manifested and become more ingrained over a longer period of time.
We agreed on a plan to help alleviate Emily’s anxiety around bedtime, give her a calm winding down period beforehand and some indulgent one-on-one time to stop her from resenting her brother.
We structured a way that mum could be 100% present with Emily as she went to bed and helping her to understand what was expected of her and how proud she would feel if she could achieve this.
Using a special clock to remind her to stay in bed until morning and very clear and specific targets with an incentive, we were able to give Emily the clarity, reassurance and confidence to settle nicely at bedtime and stay in bed all night.
In less than a week, Mrs Kennedy was amazed at the turn around. Emily was staying in bed all night and taking much less time to settle at bedtime without needing anything but some reassurance that her mother was close by. During the next week, the settling at bedtime became a breeze and was, in fact, an enjoyable time of the day for the mother and daughter. Mum was getting full nights of unbroken sleep and waking up feeling so refreshed that it was elating.
Emily’s general behaviour during the day also became excellent because she was no longer so tired all the time. Every relationship in this family was massively improved. A mum who finally felt like she could be at her best and enjoy her time with both children together and individually and, once again, be a wife rather than a zombie.
Feeling like she could handle anything, mum felt fully equipped if little Ewan ever tried anything. She simply could not believe the transformation her family felt. From desperate and miserable to refreshed and happy in just a few weeks.
Note: The names in this case study have been changed to protect identity
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Lucy Shrimpton, "The Sleep Nanny"
Known as The Sleep Nanny®, Lucy Shrimpton is the mother of two young children and one of the UK’s leading experts in child sleep. As a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, Lucy was trained and mentored by “The Sleep Lady” Kim West, and studied the most extensive professional sleep programme available, working with doctors, attorneys, lactation counsellors and family therapists. After studying the methods and philosophies of pioneers and experts in child sleep, Lucy has developed The Sleep Nanny System™, which gives parents the information and tools they need in order to find a solution that suits the individual personality of their child. With The Sleep Nanny System™, Lucy has already helped hundreds of parents and children worldwide, discover the gift of sleep.