“My 5 year old boy used to be a fantastic sleeper, since he started school last year he wakes up to 5 or 6 times a night shouting for us saying he is scared, even if we are in the room with him he still wakes and says he is scared. We have tried everything and it is now effecting our mental health (we both work) and I want to help my son and allow him to sleep again. He has lost the ability to put himself to sleep and is very restless and fidgety. Any help and advice would be amazing please.”
Children’s sleep is often disrupted during times of change and transition and starting school is a very big change. It sounds like there is some anxiety that was triggered by starting school. Speak to your son about how he is finding school. Is there anything he is worried about? Ensure you spend quality time with him outside of school.
Make sure he has a relaxing routine before sleep: a shower or bath, then reading to him with lights low. Talk to him about how he can settle himself in the night if he wakes: is there a favourite teddy he can cuddle. Give him a side light he can put on to reassure himself if he is scared of the dark.
If the anxiety doesn’t settle down, speak to your GP about getting some specialist support. Or you could find a child sleep therapist who is trained by the children’s sleep charity.
Click here for more information on children’s sleep issues.