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My daughter has always found it difficult to get to sleep. It has gotten worse in the past year, after her good friend from school died in a car crash. Nearly every night she yells in bed, comes out to the loungeroom with sore body parts or feels sick or has a tantrum until 9.30pm. She also cries about her friend that died. A few months ago she said she only just realised how serious death was. She is scared most nights. Things she is scared about are her family dying, fires, robbers and monsters. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.


Posted anonymously, 12th March 2015


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  • I see this you asked this question nearly a year ago. How is your daughter now ? Did you succeed in finding help ? It’s also possible to get free psychological help via ATAPS. The Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) program enables a range of health, social welfare and other professionals to refer consumers who have been diagnosed with a mild to moderate mental disorder to a mental health professional for short-term focused psychological services.


  • Sorry she lost her friend such a young age to have so many emotions and fears poor thing!l think thd best thing would be to see a professional and get some advise because it sounds like she needs to deal with this loss in order to sleep better.


  • it sounds as though her friends death is having a huge effect on her. I would defiantly seek professional help. Either talk to your GP or get a councillor, child psychologist to have a few sessions with her as they deal with these sort of issues all the time and help resolve them. There are lots of services to help I think it is worth using them rather than let her suffer any longer.


  • My eldest daughter had trouble going to sleep on her own because she doesn’t want to go to sleep, she wants to be awake and it was a constant struggle each night! Its not the greatest suggestion, but worked for me, was laying down with her, no talking, just being there. After a couple of week she got into the routine of going to sleep earlier, then I only started laying with he for 10 minutes or so, and dropped it back until I don’t lay with her anymore and she can get to sleep early :)


  • Maybe she is frightened that if she goes to sleep she won’t wake up again. After having a medical check up he may find causes that he can treat rather than referring her to another specialist.
    Get your Dr. to do a GPMP and you should be approved for 5 free sessions with a counseller or physcologist . There is a gap of at least $100.00 above what Medicare pays. I am not sure whether your private health fund pays for it or Medicare.


  • Since your daughter is school aged see if your school offers Counselling. have a talk to the school principal and see if there is any help provided as this was a school friend. You can mention this to your family doctor and they can refer your daughter to a physiologist or Councillor and she have a few sessions where they will work with her regarding her fears. You are kept informed and this will be worked out now and not let this get out of hand. Best of luck.


  • Thankyou for being brave enough to reach out for help. When I wrote before I focussed on things we’d tried to induce sleep without addressing the underlying grief it sounds like your daughter is going through. Loss at any age is difficult but finding an age appropriate response is essential. I’ve looked at a few good websites that may help (there are lots more).
    http://www.beyondblue.org.au
    http://www.youthbeyondblue.com
    http://www.headspace.org.au
    http://www.lifeline.org.au
    Headspace is designed for youth and for parents. I did a search about grief on their site, and there were some informative pages, including one on dealing with grief following road accident.
    The lifeline home page has a big link for GET HELP, then has a section for LOSS AND GRIEF. They also have a live chat feed and their counselling phone line.
    I hope some of these options help. It’s common to be a 2 steps forward, 1 step back process, and I commend you in coming forward looking for answers. Your love for your daughter is obvious to all. Good luck.


  • There are some good suggestions from mom68637. Our 11 year old son started having problems sleeping, regularly being awake after midnight, having restless and broken sleep, and waking exhausted and aching early in the mornings. We talk well every day and there was no obvious cause. We started with the GP, who talked with both of us, then my son separately, in case counselling was a solution. He also ordered blood tests and prescribed a mild anti-histamine which can cause drousiness in children and helped his eczema. Nothing was showing. We talked with the school to see if there was bullying or other problems, and to let the teacher know the exhaustion was sleep problems the doctor was investigating. We tried massage, warm drinks, a warm shower, making the room darker and the right temperature (not too hot or cold or stuffy), tried a different mattress and pillow, tried to reduce stress, playing soft music, and playing no music. Despite his objections, we did not give in to allowing TV or computer past his normal bed time. After 6-8 months, he returned from the Xmas school holidays and took to his normal bedtime routine without the issues. I think it was a combination of factors that helped but having a routine, and for him to know he can talk to us about anything seemed to be the most important. I wish you the best of luck for your family. I would certainly recommend a check-up from your GP, and talking with your school. Counselling can be organised through your GP or through your school, and if she isn’t comfortable with the first visit (its common not to open up at every session), persevere with a second or with a different counsellor. Counselling may also help you to know how to answer some of her questions and give you techniques on how to cope with her distress and sleep problems. Don’t give up, good luck.


  • I have a similar sounding daughter – I don’t know that there is any one “cure” for this – and what strategies I use depends on my patience and energy levels on any particular evening. I have also taken her to a counselor for a couple of sessions to “talk out” some of her fears (robbers, family members dying in their sleep, storms being scary etc). Here are a few of the other things I do(you’ve probably tried them!):
    – meditation (I use a technique called the little red bus – you talk them through it – the little red bus is travelling from your head to your shoulder – your shoulder is feeling very relaxed and sleepy – the little red bus travels down your arms to your elbow – your elbow is feeling very relaxed and sleepy etc etc)
    – gentle music playing
    – dim light on in bedroom so she can see
    – aromatherapy drops on her pillow
    – eye cushion
    – Rescue Remedy sleep aid drops
    – leg massages
    – cuddling in bed and talking through her day
    – reading herself to sleep
    – story book CDs in the dark or with her eyes shut
    – long warm baths before bed
    – no TV for an hour or more before sleep
    – lots of exercise
    – no sugary desserts (better to have an icecream after school than for dessert)

    Good luck!!!


  • I think it would be better to see a counselor. She looks so afraid, little one. If you don’t do something now, maybe her fears will become even stronger. While she needs to be reassured somehow.


  • well i am guessing that she is missing her friend and now is anxious. That is a big thing for her to have to go through at that age. Talk to her and maybe even seek a professional’s opinion.


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