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I have a fifo hubby and while he is home my 5 year old goes to bed with only a small fuss. but the weeks he is away is it like she is torturing me.she won’t lay down she screams and carries on she kicks and slaps. I have tried so many things, talking calmly and nicely to her and she acts up. (please no judgement ) I have tried raising my voice at her but she just keeps pushing my buttons. she just laughs when I tell her off. I have tried stories I have tried music i have tried essential oils so many things to calm her down. im at such a low as I don’t know what else to do. we have tried a sleep consultant with little results. im finding it so hard as I also have a 7 year old who goes to to bed nicely and sleeps well but i feel im also missing out on time with 7 year old because im battling bed time with the 5year old.


Posted anonymously, 21st August 2020


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  • Think you husband needs to talk to your child next time he is at home and reassure her that he will be back and when. Perhaps a calendar on her wall that she can mark off each day until he comes home and then do something you all like as a special treat if she has been good in the interim. It has to be a family affair that you do as otherwise your 7 year old will get their nose out of joint too.
    Good luck and hope something works for you.


  • Through something she may have heard she may think that Mum and Dad are splitting up. If Dad could face time her or have a good talk with her and explain that he has to fly out for work but he is definitely coming back. I’m sure there’s a children’s book out there that explains FIFO workers. Hopefully this will help her to settle.


  • Routine! And some connection to Dad before bed if possible. My hubby used to travel often (not FIFO), and would sometimes be away overnight or a week, etc. Our routine was very different from when his Dad was home, but we made it work. I’m the stricter parent, so it was all about the routine and he came to understand it. A call from Dad was always included though as part of the nightly routine.


  • Sounds like she is missing Dad. If you could facetime once she is in bed that might help. Try letting her stay up a little longer.


  • Sounds like she is missing Dad. Try a video chat if particle but if not maybe get him to record a message for her. Or when he is home maybe record himself reading a book that she can watch. I have heard about letting them stay up later too maybe try 15 minutes later or half an hour and see what works.
    I know this sounds silly but have you asked her why she is not wanting to go to bed?


  • May be he need good physical exercise in day time.


  • Maybe before your husband leaves he has a good talk to her about going to bed and behaving.


  • Maybe try video calling dad every night before bed and get him to read her a bed time story? It sounds like she misses her dad and she’s lashing out


  • It can be the issue of missing father. Can she call him before bedtime and had some book or story tells by him?


  • With the current situation, I now work evenings 5 days a week and I know my husband has problems with our 4yr old. The last week we have tried something different. After reading about other countries and how early australians go to bed we have started letting her go to sleep later. I video call the kids around 7 and then he reads books or gets her older brother to read books, maybe play a board game or make hot choc together. I joined in on the weekend and even though she is now going to bed around 8- 8:30 it isn’t a fight or her getting up every 5 minutes untill 8:30. Some nights she is tired and after 1 book she lies down fine. Sometimes we send a little video message to each other just to say good night. Or I will send her a text with lots of emoji’s which she loves to ‘read’. Hope this helps you.


  • Sounds to me your 5yr old is missing her dad ! Maybe a phone call with him before bedtime or even during the bedtime process would help ?


  • Not sure what the sleep consultant suggested but I think just need to stick it out with a consistent message and routine – its time for bed, have a routine and he goes to the bedroom and that is it. Don’t get caught up with the drama (easier said than done I know but really important in this instance)


  • Have you considered using melatonin? Just a small dose might help her settle more easily.


  • I stuggle with my 5 year old sometimes and her attitude. my husband worked away for a few months and at the start it was hard to get her to sleep as well as her 3 year old brother, i know read a book with her in her bed then lay down till shes asleep. (isnt to bad i know it wont be forever) I got my little miss a grow clock and lucky dip box (which just has ooshies and lolliepops in) if she goes to bed nicely and sleeps all night in her bed she gets to get something from the lucky dip box.

    good luck i know its not easy! but stand your ground and hopefully will get easier


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