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DH and I have come to the conclusion....

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
that we have NO idea how to get a good bedtime routine, etc going in our house. Both the kids are high needs, neither seem to need much sleep, but the bedtime and therefore wake-up, is too late for us, and the kids also seem to be chronically tired (esp. DS).

So I am going to have lots of questions that I hope I can get suggestions for from the wonderful MDC mamas, over the next couple of weeks. The questions are probably going to be disjointed as I barely know where to start.

Background: DS is 3 3/4, started STTN at about 3, usually sleeps well once he GETS asleep. Fights going to bed like it his personal torture time. Does not nap as he was then going to bed at 1:30am. DD is 18 months, still BF'd but we are starting a slow nightweaning, extremely light sleeper, wakes 4+ times per night (avg 4-6) and will only sleep for more than a few minutes unless being held/worn, or in the car (but usually will wake once we stop/within 15 minutes)

To start a good routine, did you pick a bedtime, then work backwards to figure out when everything else would need to happen? How did you figure out what was the best to incorporate into the routine? How do you STICK with it? Life always seems to mess us up.

We currently all sleep in one room (not what we want but need to fight one battle at a time) How on earth can you get 2 kids to sleep when they both need direct parental involvement? If I try to get DD to sleep 1st, then DS is calling for me, being disruptive, esp. when he is loudly protesting his own bedtime. If I try to get DS down 1st, then what do I do with DD?

DS in particular will do ANYTHING to avoid going to sleep. Tonight for example, he got up at 7:15am. Played all day, including pulling a heavy chain around for more than 30 minutes. We went up at 9pm, where he proceeded to jump, talk, kick etc etc and he was still awake at 9:52 when I left the room (DH was still there). This occurs whether we read and relax before bed, or if we run around like maniacs right up until coming to bed. How do you get them to rest quietly? I was getting DD down, so if we had read to him it would have kept her up. If he was in his own room I would be OK with him reading quietly if he couldn't sleep (although this wouldn't help with the lack of sleep problem) but he's not, so..

And for DD the biggest problem is that she sleep no more than 30-45 minutes unless I am right there. I can't even pee in the night without her freaking out. The only reason I have been away from her a little longer tonight is that she only napped for 10 minutes today. . DH and I REALLY need to start having some adult time, which we haven't had since she was born-any tricks to encourage longer sleep without me??

Thanks so much if you have read this far!! Please please please have some suggestions!! We are so confused we don't even know where to start.
post #2 of 17
First off, let me say I feel your pain. I too have a dd (13mos) who cannot sleep without me....she sleeps with my nipple in her mouth ALL NIGHT LONG. Heaven forbid I need to pee or tend to her brother!!

Second, let me say that as hard as it is right now, things will get better. I know it seems so crazy right now, but one day this will all be a blur.

Thirdly, I will try to give some useful advice. If dd needs you due to bf then you should start your bedtimes with you putting dd to sleep and your dh putting ds to sleep. You have probably heard this before, but consistency is truly the key. I would pick a bedtime that seems reasonable to your family. Then make a routine that suites you. Maybe a bubble bath with essential oils. I highly recommend Young Living. They have excellent oils to calm and relax. Try Peace and Calming or Gentle Baby. Then after a lengthy bath with lights off or turned down really low, get into bed with soothing music. Use any spa kind that has lots of waves and repetition. There are many bedtime cds on the market. Read and cuddle with music and white noise (when the cd is over you can still hear the white noise). Blackout blinds..I mean super dark is key. Stay calm and peaceful. Even if they begin to roll around, try to pretend to sleep and don't talk. Use key words or phrases but nothing more. I use a simply it's "night night time, go to sleep"
I know it sounds easy but in reality it is really hard. Like I said, the key is to be consistent. The first night or 3 or 4 might still be a gong show, but if you stick to it, the sounds, smells, and rhythm to the evening will begin to signal to your lo's that it is sleep time and what a great time it is. Good luck. I really hope some of this rant helps.
post #3 of 17
I can't offer suggestions with all your questions as I only have one ds who is 20 months.

We waited & waited & waited for months, having faith that eventually his own internal clock would settle into a predictable sleep schedule but it just didn't. Finally about 2.5 weeks ago we decided we just needed to choose his bedtime for him & STICK TO IT! That was the hard part.

He has been pretty consistent about wake up & sleep times but we started by being stricter about those (so we wake him up now if he sleeps in a little).

Then we chose a bedtime based on the number of hours we felt were how much he needed & figured we could move the time up or down from there if it wasn't working. For us we picked 9:30 'cause we generally start the day at 8:30 & ds hasn't ever slept longer than 11 hours.

Now at 9:15 every. single. night I go upstairs & do our routine which is pj's, play with shape sorter, read 2 books & then nurse to sleep (or cuddle if dh is doing it) - we don't do bath 'cause it's too stimulating for ds. Contrary to everything people tell me about their children the bedtime routine has NOT become some magical 'oh it's bedtime ok I'll sleep' cure, but it has made bedtime less stressful 'cause now we have a reliable time.

Many nights I'm up there for 45 minutes or longer but tonight it was only 20 minutes! But I am finding now (after 2.5 weeks) ds is starting to at least accept that when we start the routine it is going to bedtime no matter what (before he wasn't falling asleep we'd stop & come down & try again when he seemed more tired).

On nights we get home later we just start the bedtime routine when we get home.

As for the two children - can you start one of them in another room for the night & then move them or allow them to move themselves partway through the night?
post #4 of 17
I feel your pain. I have an almost 3 1/2 yr old who is like this. DS will NOT sleep without me there for even a second. No couple time for me. If I am a lucky dog, I can catch up on tv shows, but sometimes the tv light will wake him up. I do have some questions.....

What time do you want dd and ds to go to bed and wake-up?
When do they want to go to bed and wake-up?

Why stick ds to bed at 9pm if he woke at 7am? Do you not follow 12/12? Does he only need 10 hours of sleep? What if he got more like 13, has it ever happened, what was ds like?

What exactly happens at nap time?

I agree that all kids need routine, but that isn't the same as a schedule. But some kids do better on a strict schedule, have you tried that?

I also think it is amazing that so many people here give their kids a bath before bed. I don't care what kind of sleepy oils are in there, it winds my tot up and actually can give him 3 or 4 hours of energy off the bath. I only do baths for fun time.
post #5 of 17
Just wanted to say that my dd 19 months and neice 3.5 both also bounce off the walls after bath and my sister and I have stopped bathing them in the evenings. To help keep track of what works and doesn't, you might jot some things down because, as we all know, it all starts to blend together. You may find that bath makes them hyper...or was it the late snack of fruit that they had? By writing it down you might be able to look at it after a week or so to know what is and isn't working. While my dd can sleep without me there she does bounce off the walls when I try and put her down. I also lay there and pretend to be asleep as much as possible using key phrases and not responding to her "mama, mama, mama". One thing I have noticed with her is that she needs to be awake almost without fail for a certain length of time before she will even consider going back down again. For example if she wakes at 7 am and had a decent, 11 hours of sleep she will not go down for a nap before about 12-1pm. If she naps from 1-3 she will not be ready to go to bed at night (no matter how much I want it!) before 8:30 or 9. So she needs at least 5 hours of awake time to be ready for sleep again. It has helped me to figure this out as it saves some having to bang my head against the wall
post #6 of 17
I highly recommend "Sleepless in America". It changed my life. Seriously.
post #7 of 17
I second Sleepless in America. Don't be intimidated by it's huge size. Start with the toddler chapter.

It's lifechanging and not a one size fits all kind of formula thing
post #8 of 17
Thirding Sleepless in America. But here's what helps us:

1. (Reasonably) set meal times. You wouldn't think so, but eating really does help with body rhythm.

2. Outside play in sunlight before 10 am, if possible.

3. My son's almost-5 and we start the bedtime routine at 7 pm (he gets up between 6 and 6:30). We bathe in the morning as it revs him up. Our routine is pretty simple: say goodnight, PJs, pee, glass of milk, brush & floss teeth, read 1 or 2 books, snuggle, sleep. Usually he's asleep before 8, so the 'snuggle' phase can be long. I rub his back sometimes to help.

I guess technically it starts at 6:50 because we have a ten-minute tidy-up first. On weekdays we have to be pretty organized to hit all the times, but it helps a lot. Sometimes it slides a bit by about 20 minutes and that's ok, but if it slides much longer then it takes a lot longer to achieve sleep.
post #9 of 17
Agree with the sleepless in america rec.

My kids are similar ages (a little older, both of them).

DS needs 11-12 hours a night and DD needs about the same (she naps, too). I back into that need given what time they woke up. So a child here who wakes at 7:15 for example is in PJ's at 6 and not allowed to run after say 5:30.

There is no craziness at bedtime. If DS starts to act up he loses a book (or all books). Or he loses someone sitting with him (for a while). This has all kind of evolved over time but now he knows that bedtime is calm, no exceptions.

DD (20 mos) can fall asleep with me nursing or with DH. That took a bit but we needed to the flexibility so we stuck with it (there were some tears). Plus I sometimes work @ night.

It sounds to me like maybe you need to tighten the reigns a little at bedtime (or a lot!). It's hard for lots of kids to settle down at night but with enough limits/boundaries you can get to a place that is calmer for EVERYONE, I'm sure. Also in SIA she talks about how 'high needs' sometimes just means sleep deprived. So you may see great things coming from your new routines!
post #10 of 17
I wanted to add that my son considers sleep the devil's invention too, but we have (finally) been able to make it a joke. He says he doesn't want to sleep and I say the day he says he wants to sleep I will fall over. Then he pretends to and I fall over and then I pretend I'm going to call the doctor. Then he asserts that he HATES A MILLION TIMES SLEEPING. And when he is 20 he is NEVER going to sleep again.

...all of which is to say I think it's perfectly fine to acknowledge that your kid does not want to sleep. But it's still something our bodies need.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Wow!! So much great help from everyone!! This is wonderful and will give DH and I some more ideas to go from.

I think our biggest stumbling block is consistency . DH has his regular job then is also starting a business and works during the night a lot. He is then tired and sleeps in. I work a couple days a week which then throws everything off for those days. But if DH is gone, then it becomes even harder for me to get them BOTH down-if I get DD down first, she will usually wake up in 30-45 minutes, and if DS isn't asleep yet, I would have to dash away from him to get DD, which then would just get DS all revved up again.

I definitely think some of the "high needs" is due to tiredness. There are also some sensory issues in there as well, at least for DS. And we definitely need to tighten the reins too! DH is much more likely to just "give in" than I am, although I am guilty too sometimes. When DS was still napping, I would come home from work and ask how the nap was and DH would say "He wouldn't sleep" I would ask how long he tried to get him to, adn it would end up that DH had ASKED DS if he was ready to nap and DS would say no, so DH wouldn't do anything more. DH also is terrible about starting to wrestle with DS at bedtime. I keep trying to tell him not to do that, but he won't listen and says "doesn't matter what we do, he won't sleep, so we might as well have some fun" (Wow, it sounds like I'm whining about DH a lot, but truly I have read the books and here on MDC and we discuss it but DH just won't stick with any plan for more than a couple days. It is SUPER frustrating and I feel like not only am I dealing with both kids' sleep issues but also having to fight with DH over it. It's exhausting)

Hmmm...not sure if the baths rev them up or not-I'll have to pay attention to that. Evening baths are my 15 minutes of break at night since DS doesn't nap and DD naps on me, plus they are both up as long as we are. We would have to do a total re-do of our day to put them anyplace else, but we will consider it.

In terms of the 9pm to 7am schedule we are working on-we would love for it to be 8pm-7am. But since it has been 10:30pm-7:30 am for the last several months now, we figured we'd start with this intermediate step and try to get better at that, then work toward the 8pm bedtime. Both kids and therefore I do better if we get out of the house every day/most days. Yesterday we had a party and had a great time, DS ran around all day. Then he fell asleep in the car for about 20-25 minutes at about 4:30. And then he would NOT go to sleep until 10:15 maybe a little later. It is hard for both DH and I (esp. DH) to commit to sticking super close to home for the next several weeks while we get this all straightened out, but I KNOW we have to at least try.

I did LOL at asking about 13 hours of sleep...I don't think he has EVER gotten that much-maybe as a tiny baby?? This is a child who at 2 weeks of age stayed awake for 10 hours straight (NOT what we wanted, we were trying everything we knew to get him to sleep-eyes would drift shut then POP open again) so this is a LONG term problem.

Ok, crap I have to leave for work-gonna be late! more later!!
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curlyfry7 View Post
Wow!! So much great help from everyone!! This is wonderful and will give DH and I some more ideas to go from.

I think our biggest stumbling block is consistency . DH has his regular job then is also starting a business and works during the night a lot. He is then tired and sleeps in. I work a couple days a week which then throws everything off for those days. But if DH is gone, then it becomes even harder for me to get them BOTH down-if I get DD down first, she will usually wake up in 30-45 minutes, and if DS isn't asleep yet, I would have to dash away from him to get DD, which then would just get DS all revved up again.

I definitely think some of the "high needs" is due to tiredness. There are also some sensory issues in there as well, at least for DS. And we definitely need to tighten the reins too! DH is much more likely to just "give in" than I am, although I am guilty too sometimes. When DS was still napping, I would come home from work and ask how the nap was and DH would say "He wouldn't sleep" I would ask how long he tried to get him to, adn it would end up that DH had ASKED DS if he was ready to nap and DS would say no, so DH wouldn't do anything more. DH also is terrible about starting to wrestle with DS at bedtime. I keep trying to tell him not to do that, but he won't listen and says "doesn't matter what we do, he won't sleep, so we might as well have some fun" (Wow, it sounds like I'm whining about DH a lot, but truly I have read the books and here on MDC and we discuss it but DH just won't stick with any plan for more than a couple days. It is SUPER frustrating and I feel like not only am I dealing with both kids' sleep issues but also having to fight with DH over it. It's exhausting)

Hmmm...not sure if the baths rev them up or not-I'll have to pay attention to that. Evening baths are my 15 minutes of break at night since DS doesn't nap and DD naps on me, plus they are both up as long as we are. We would have to do a total re-do of our day to put them anyplace else, but we will consider it.

In terms of the 9pm to 7am schedule we are working on-we would love for it to be 8pm-7am. But since it has been 10:30pm-7:30 am for the last several months now, we figured we'd start with this intermediate step and try to get better at that, then work toward the 8pm bedtime. Both kids and therefore I do better if we get out of the house every day/most days. Yesterday we had a party and had a great time, DS ran around all day. Then he fell asleep in the car for about 20-25 minutes at about 4:30. And then he would NOT go to sleep until 10:15 maybe a little later. It is hard for both DH and I (esp. DH) to commit to sticking super close to home for the next several weeks while we get this all straightened out, but I KNOW we have to at least try.

I did LOL at asking about 13 hours of sleep...I don't think he has EVER gotten that much-maybe as a tiny baby?? This is a child who at 2 weeks of age stayed awake for 10 hours straight (NOT what we wanted, we were trying everything we knew to get him to sleep-eyes would drift shut then POP open again) so this is a LONG term problem.

Ok, crap I have to leave for work-gonna be late! more later!!
He most likely stayed up so late not because he had that 20 minute nap but because he was so overtired. He wouldn't crash like that at that time if he wasn't overtired. He might still need a nap but maybe once he is getting better sleep at night he'll do better with that.

About the consistency, my DH and I also really struggle with that. A lot! have a feeling though that once your kids are in bed early enough at night for you and DH to have some alone time, you might find it easier. If you can find the will power to do it for a week or so it will get easier and you'll find it worth it.

I would start with controlling the wake up time. Wake him up early, see if he'll nap for a couple hours and then try to get him into bed at night at a time when he'l get 10 or 11 hours if you wake him again the next day. Or if he doesn't nap, put him in bed so he'll get 12 or 13 hours.
post #13 of 17
I also want to emphasize Sleepless in America!! It helped us sooo much!! Seriously, get a copy of it, however you can.

As previous poster said, you start with a consistent wake up time, have consistent meal times, get outside as early as you can in the morning (to set the body clock), and in the afternoons. Don't give up on naps entirely, though every case is different. Give an early dinner (5.30 or 6) and then a bedtime snack right before bed. Darken house about 1.5 - 2 hours before you want them to be asleep (read stories with flashlight, bathtime with nightlight, etc.). Talk with them about how you are there for them, it's okay to relax, and help them take steps to become more independent (when they do not want to, it's okay, say someday they will be able to do it by themselves, but you will help them until they are ready). We used to go outside after dinner as it was lighter out-- big no-no for us! This extended when he DS (2.5) would be ready for sleep by about an hour! The book is really a whole other mindset on organizing your day around prioritizing sleep. My DS also sleeps quite a bit less than 13 hours most days, but if I can get a good 12 in, I'm happy.

Good luck!
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
OK, long work day yesterday. Already when I have been talking about what we need to do, DH is saying "that's what works for other people. It won't work for us. We just try everythng and nothing works" And yesterday he had the kids while I worked-they were up about 7:15, ran around all day, a kid's b-day party and didn't even GET HOME until 8:30. AND DD only napped about 10-15 minutes-DH said "I thought you didn't want either of them napping!" NO...a few weeks ago she had a nap strike that we worked through, and I don't want her to fall asleep in the car when we only are 5-10 minutes from home, because then she just wakes up and won't sleep again. I'd rather she stay awake the extra 5 minutes until we get home then get a real nap. So I am fighting against the kids AND him in this endeavor.

I have SIA. And started reading it again yesterday (I got it when DS was only about a year old and it didn't seem to apply as much then) So we'll try to change things so get them more sleep.

But, how do you work things to allow time with DH? He doesn't get home until about 6:30 pm, and in the morning usually sleeps until he has to leave-like gets up 30 minutes before leaving. This is because once the kids are asleep he goes to his own business and works and he gets home at like 2-4am. In the past we would eat dinner, then go for a walk, bath, then hang out/maybe watch TV before bed. But obviously if they're going to go to bed at 8-8:30 this won't work.

And how to break the cycle? Right now, the kids both are tired from not enough sleep yesterday. DD is napping, DS is in quiet time (I really would like to avoid starting him back on naps if I can) And we'll aim for 8-8:30 bedtime tonight, with roughly an hour of relaxing activities before hand (that's the plan at least!) BUT I *know* they're overtired, and I feel like if I could just get them to fall asleep 1-2 times at the right time we could get on a roll, but I'm afraid I won't be able to get them to actually FALL ASLEEP as they fight it SO hard. I can't MAKE them sleep!!

Thanks for all the advice/support so far!! I REALLY want to make this work this time!
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
OK, report for tonight....DH got home early tonight, so we were done with dinner by 6:30, walked outside for about 20 minutes (where DS was complaining he was tired) At 7 started baths, finishe a few minutes after 7:30. Got upstairs by 7:40 and it took them about 10 minutes to settle down, then read until 8:20. DS was asleep by 8:30 (yay!! But I'm afraid it's only because he was so tired from yesterday) DD however was up for another 40minutes. So maybe a partial success?? Again, 8:30 is a little late, but better than 10:30!!

Any suggestions for when naptime should be for an 18 month old if they get up 7-7:15am? And for how long? We started nap at 1pm but she wouldn't go to sleep until closer to 1:30, then slept (with one wake-up) until 3:45 when I woke her as I was afraid she'd never fall asleep tonight.

Ack!! I feel so stupid about this! And I am really hoping it won't take 1 1/2 hours to get them to sleep ALL the time!
post #16 of 17
I have no advice, but I wanted you to know I am reading along and cheering for you mine are a little younger than yours (ds is 2 and dd is 3mo), but I am planning my attack now for when they are a little bigger.

can you have together time with dh during the day on the weekends? get a sitter or something for a daytime date? and I really think getting him on board with your latest plan will be your biggest help. good luck and good vibes!

wendy
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wendy1163 View Post
I have no advice, but I wanted you to know I am reading along and cheering for you mine are a little younger than yours (ds is 2 and dd is 3mo), but I am planning my attack now for when they are a little bigger.

can you have together time with dh during the day on the weekends? get a sitter or something for a daytime date? and I really think getting him on board with your latest plan will be your biggest help. good luck and good vibes!

wendy
Thanks Wendy! We've now managed to get DS to sleep between 8-8:15 the last couple nights. DD takes longer-we still have to fine-tune her naps. It is of course still taking longer than I'd like to get him to wind down, plus he still throws a temper tantrum when we tell him it's time to lay down, but hopefully it will start getting easier soon. I think he has been MORE tired since we started this-it's like he was too wired to even feel tired before, and now he is getting at least an hour more sleep than he was. We are going on vacation this coming week, so it will be a challenge to stay on track and I am trying to mentally acknowledge that there will probably be some regression, but then we don't go anywhere for a month and a half so we should really get in the groove then.

DH has acknowledged that he has enjoyed having the kids asleep so early as he is then free for the night. So he grumbles but is going along with it so far. We'd love to get a sitter and go out but have not had any luck finding one consistently.

And now if we could only make some progress with nightweaning!!
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