My 6 year old daughter has always been a good sleeper and has always settled herself off to sleep no problems. however since Monday night she has had a meltdown every night. On that Monday night she came home from a school disco in good spirits but found it hard to get to sleep. (i was supervising at the disco and didn't see anything so i don't think this is rooted in anything that happened there). She is complaining of sore heads and tummies, worrying about activities at school, irrational worries about people breaking into the house in the night and strange noises. this results in her crying, repeatedly getting out of her bed, not wanting either me or my husband to leave her and generally being unconsolable. Last night she also woke at midnight and we had the whole thing all over again for two hours.
Generally she is more tired as it is the end of term but also she is getting less and less sleep each night which does not help. My feeling is that her lack of sleep is not helping her cope with some low level worries that she would normally cope with. My concern is that it feels a bit like a rolling stone gathering moss in that every night it feels like her worries are getting bigger and as a result getting more upset and harder to settle.
My husband and I start out being very sympathetic, listening, reassuring and chatting to her. talking to her about helpful/unhelpful thoughts, handing over her worries etc. None of this seems to make that much of a difference and neither do rewards. eventually our patience breaks, we end up shouting at her and threatening her to stay in her bed which eventually works. I am very aware that if we stayed with her or let her sleep in our bed she would settle instantly but then I worry about getting out of these habits so I have not done that.
Can anyone please help? Should I just sit with her or let her in our bed to give her the reassurance she needs just now? If not how else can I deal with this without having to resort to "loosing it" Any thoughts would be most welcome.