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what is worse: cio or monster mama? help.

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

Getting our DS (26months) to sleep has almost always been a challenge, to say the least.  While I joke that he is too curious to want to miss anything, I'm losing it on the inside and now too frequently on the outside.

 

I tried CIO when he was younger, but it never felt right and didn't pursue it. These days, I'm wondering if CIO or a yelling mother is worse. My son has been resisting naps for over a week, and taking between one to one and one half hours to fall asleep at night. I've been trying to bump up bedtime to try to get him caught up on needed sleep, but with the time change and bright evenings, this has not made things any easier. My son is not one who will sleep when he needs to. Trust me, he was falling asleep while eating dinner at 5pm tonight.  When he skips his nap, or is overtired in general, he will also forget to potty (which he has been doing consistently without much effort on my part since he was about 19 months).  He wet himself in his highchair while eating half asleep tonight and then denied it.

 

I don't know what to do. I'm a mess, as the constant resistance, twice a day, is wearing on me. DH does not put him to sleep. DS will wail for me if he tries to; probably because DH never made an effort to help until recently. DH has tried a handful of times to put him down for nap then given up.  DH has also said if I left him alone to put DS down, he'd figure it out, in other words he would probably let him cry.  I've yelled, I've threatened, I've said no this no that if he doesn't sleep. This is not the way I want to parent, but I'm crying while trying to put him down as he is smirking and constantly moving and playing while I'm singing or rocking or rubbing his back. I've tried yoga videos, i've tried baths, i've tried reading longer, i don't know what else to try. i don't want to yell anymore. i don't want to resent my DH anymore. i don't want to feel so defeated anymore and that i don't deserve to be a mother.

 

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by landgyrl View Post


 

I don't know what to do. I'm a mess, as the constant resistance, twice a day, is wearing on me. DH does not put him to sleep. DS will wail for me if he tries to; probably because DH never made an effort to help until recently. DH has tried a handful of times to put him down for nap then given up.  DH has also said if I left him alone to put DS down, he'd figure it out, in other words he would probably let him cry.  I've yelled, I've threatened, I've said no this no that if he doesn't sleep. This is not the way I want to parent, but I'm crying while trying to put him down as he is smirking and constantly moving and playing while I'm singing or rocking or rubbing his back. I've tried yoga videos, i've tried baths, i've tried reading longer, i don't know what else to try. i don't want to yell anymore. i don't want to resent my DH anymore. i don't want to feel so defeated anymore and that i don't deserve to be a mother.

 


 

My ds is the exact same age.  We had a HUGE struggle over sleep - and then I just stopped playing the game.  He was MAD for a few nights (not panicky, not scared - MAD).  I told him one day that we were going to do something different for bed time, and told him what we were going to do, and then I did it.  I tucked him in, with lots of kisses and "I love you!" about a 100x, and then I left the room.  And shut the door.  When he got really upset, I would poke my head in and say, "good night, I love you" and then shut the door.  I made sure I was doing a quiet activity that he could kinda hear (I do dishes since we don't have a dishwasher, and its right across the hall so he can hear me which is comforting to him), and went in to tell him, "good night I love you" whenever he cried (but not when he whined or was talking), and after 2 nights he was going to bed.

 

If your ds is smirking at you, and playing with you at night, he knows whats going on well enough that he can probably do it himself.  If rubbing his back and such isn't working, don't do it.  Do something else.

 

post #3 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post




 

My ds is the exact same age.  We had a HUGE struggle over sleep - and then I just stopped playing the game.  He was MAD for a few nights (not panicky, not scared - MAD).  I told him one day that we were going to do something different for bed time, and told him what we were going to do, and then I did it.  I tucked him in, with lots of kisses and "I love you!" about a 100x, and then I left the room.  And shut the door.  When he got really upset, I would poke my head in and say, "good night, I love you" and then shut the door.  I made sure I was doing a quiet activity that he could kinda hear (I do dishes since we don't have a dishwasher, and its right across the hall so he can hear me which is comforting to him), and went in to tell him, "good night I love you" whenever he cried (but not when he whined or was talking), and after 2 nights he was going to bed.

 

If your ds is smirking at you, and playing with you at night, he knows whats going on well enough that he can probably do it himself.  If rubbing his back and such isn't working, don't do it.  Do something else.

 


Well said! I wound up doing something similar with my DD b/c she wouldn't settle with me. And OMG I don't know how people lie with their kids for hours. I'd take a hostage. It's not CIO to leave a 2 year old to settle a bit while you go do the dishes or whatever. That's basically what I did with DD. Be confident that it's time for change.
post #4 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by D_McG View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post




 

My ds is the exact same age.  We had a HUGE struggle over sleep - and then I just stopped playing the game.  He was MAD for a few nights (not panicky, not scared - MAD).  I told him one day that we were going to do something different for bed time, and told him what we were going to do, and then I did it.  I tucked him in, with lots of kisses and "I love you!" about a 100x, and then I left the room.  And shut the door.  When he got really upset, I would poke my head in and say, "good night, I love you" and then shut the door.  I made sure I was doing a quiet activity that he could kinda hear (I do dishes since we don't have a dishwasher, and its right across the hall so he can hear me which is comforting to him), and went in to tell him, "good night I love you" whenever he cried (but not when he whined or was talking), and after 2 nights he was going to bed.

 

If your ds is smirking at you, and playing with you at night, he knows whats going on well enough that he can probably do it himself.  If rubbing his back and such isn't working, don't do it.  Do something else.

 




Well said! I wound up doing something similar with my DD b/c she wouldn't settle with me. And OMG I don't know how people lie with their kids for hours. I'd take a hostage. It's not CIO to leave a 2 year old to settle a bit while you go do the dishes or whatever. That's basically what I did with DD. Be confident that it's time for change.
 


It seems that every time I search for this issue, I read of these parents who will lie for hours with their kids. Thank you for posting this. Thank you both for your insight. We just changed his crib to a toddler bed, so he can now get out. And the latch on the door doesn't work...so. We'll have to figure out how to get him to stay in his room for the transition. But I'm ready for a change!
 

 

post #5 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by landgyrl View Post




It seems that every time I search for this issue, I read of these parents who will lie for hours with their kids. Thank you for posting this. Thank you both for your insight. We just changed his crib to a toddler bed, so he can now get out. And the latch on the door doesn't work...so. We'll have to figure out how to get him to stay in his room for the transition. But I'm ready for a change!
 

 


One thing I do, is NO night lights.  I refuse.  I can't sleep with them on, and I don't want my ds to get attached to having one.  I also don't latch the door - but he can't turn the knob very well anyway.  DS won't get out of bed when the room is dark (he's not scared of the dark, but, understandably,doesn't want to put his feet down if he can't see where he's going).  The first few nights, it might be that you put him back in his bed every few minutes.  Until he gets it.  He will.  I say try for 3-4 nights, maybe a week, and see how it goes. 

 

I do give my ds a sippy cup with milk (its a spill proof one), and he has a special blanket that I tuck him in with (it says "I love mommy" and I just decided one night when I was desperate that it would be the "special" blanket so it is), and a small menagerie of stuffed animals - a bunny, a weedle, and a baby doll - that sleep with him.

 

I read about how mom's on this site lay with their kids for 2 hours per night too, and I get it when they're teeny tiny, or when they're sick, but all the time?  NEVER.  I was going insane when it was taking us 45 minutes on a good night, and things just had to change.

 

post #6 of 33

Instead of advocating CIO, I will offer a compassionate suggestion.  Disclaimer:  I am a former lay-with-the-child-for-hours mama and proud of it!

 

Both of my children are diagnosed with different sleep disorders.  The disorders are NOT the result of my having parented them to sleep until they no longer needed it.  One has a mood disorder and the other has narcolepsy.  The disordered sleeping was present from birth. for both of them. 

 

In addition, both have dealt with various sensory processing issues.  What we found helpful was using a weighted blanket.  This helped my kiddos to feel soothed and centered.  I would highly recommend someone in your shoes look into trying a weighted blanket.

 

I will also offer my personal opinion that CIO is not okay just bc X-amount of calender pages have been turned.  If it's wrong at 6 mos, it's wrong at 26 mos.

 

Oh, yeah, and melatonin is my BFF...1mg an hour or two before bedtime works wonders.  GL!

post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by blessedwithboys View Post

 

I will also offer my personal opinion that CIO is not okay just bc X-amount of calender pages have been turned.  If it's wrong at 6 mos, it's wrong at 26 mos.


I just wanted to gently let you know that we are not advocating CIO.  A child who is tantruming (like 2yo's do ALL DAY LONG - especially if you live with my 2yo) is NOT being left to CIO.  CIO is when you leave your child alone in the dark to scream in order to teach them not to cry at bedtime.  Allowing a child to have a tantrum is a whole nother story - my ds has never been left to scream when he was panicked or scared, only when he was having a legitimate tantrum.  Yeah, he WANTED me to stay in the room so that he could distract himself from falling asleep and laugh at me when I got frustrated, but he certainly didn't NEED it.  He NEEDED to go to sleep (you know, b/c he's 2yo and can't be up past 10 or 11pm each and every night when he has to get up at 7am to be to daycare by 8am), and the only way for it to happen was for me to remove the distracting force (aka, Me).

 

I hate it when people on this board try to make it sound like every child crying at bedtime is being left to CIO regardless of age, developmental stage or anything else.  TODDLERS are NOT babies.  They have NEEDS and then they have WANTS - they don't get everything, and sometimes things have to change so mama doesn't go insane.

 

post #8 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

I hate it when people on this board try to make it sound like every child crying at bedtime is being left to CIO regardless of age, developmental stage or anything else.  TODDLERS are NOT babies.  They have NEEDS and then they have WANTS - they don't get everything, and sometimes things have to change so mama doesn't go insane.

 


Exactly. I don't understand how families/marriages function with people up nursing 2, 3 y/o and older children multiple times a night because otherwise the child has a fit. Or if they don't nurse them every hour during the day. Or if they don't let them twiddle (for some reason it seems nursing related a LOT of the time). Why is there such a fear of toddlers having a fit? Is it that people really believe in 'on demand' as long as there is demand? I really would like to understand b/c I know my advice probably sounds dismissive a lot of the time.

If I gave into every fit my kids have I shudder to imagine the state of my house and marriage!
Edited by D_McG - 3/24/11 at 5:42am
post #9 of 33

yeahthat.gif

post #10 of 33
I remember that phase with my older dd. I think CIO vs. tantrum and just need to let them work it out depends on the child. For my older dd, I waited until I knew she knew how to fall asleep on her own. I prepped her for that by "forgetting" to brush my teeth and other "I'll be right back" kind of things. I would just come back later and later. Eventually, she'd fall asleep while I was gone. Then I waited less and less time before leaving. She was and still is to an extent a high-needs kind of kid. Very intelligent. Has a hard time winding down. Now at 6, she's getting much better at it, but she has to be absolutely exhausted to fall asleep with me in the room..

But yeah- after I knew she could fall asleep on her own (around 3), she'd still have nights that were a battle. Sometimes I let her throw a fit up there all by herself. Sometimes I'd lay with her. Sometimes I'd tell her that I would lay with her if she would lay there with her eyes closed, hold still and not talk. She got 3 reminders and then I'd leave and explain that my presence was keeping her up. She'd throw a fit and then go to sleep. Sometimes she's be throwing a fit and just that time to blow off some steam was enough that when I went back to check on her, she would calm down and go to sleep.
post #11 of 33

We had similar issues with DS, who is 22 mos, about a month ago.  I would sit with him for 1-1.5 hours while he rolled and moved his legs and rearranged his blanket and just wouldn't. settle. down.  So we decided that my presence was no longer helpful for him in the going to sleep process.  However, DS goes from calm to hysterical screaming in about 3 seconds, so leaving him to cry wasn't an option for us.

 

What we did instead: we went through the bedtime routine--bath, pjs, 2 books, and then I tucked him in, turned off the light, and left the room.  He's in a toddler bed & can open the door, so he came running out.  I put him back in, said good-night and left.  He came back out.  Repeat x 127 times--seriously, he came out 127 times that first night.  Each time, we put him back calmly, kissed him good night & left.  Oh, and DH & I traded off as each of us got frustrated after about 50 times.  That first night, it took us about 2 hours, BUT although he fussed for about 10 seconds before falling asleep, he never really cried, and it was the first time he'd ever fallen asleep by himself.

 

The second night took about 80 times...the third night was about 50, etc.  We're now down to about 12 times and that's only because I put him back the first 10 times and he sees that as a game.  As soon as DH takes over, he comes out once or twice and then falls asleep.  I've just started to view the first 10 times as part of the bedtime routine--his last opportunity to let off some energy before settling for bed.  This method does require a lot of patience during the first week, but for us, the payoff has been huge.  Plus, it lets DH help with bedtime without having to sit in there for an hour and a half, which he was understandably reluctant to do.

post #12 of 33
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all your replies. It makes me feel human again to have others relate to what I am experiencing. I have always put my son's sleep first (protect naps, consistent bedtime, consistent bedtime routine, etc.) to what seems like no avail 26 months later. I've lain with him for up to 1.5 hours when we are away from home until he falls asleep, but when we are home, that just doesn't slide well. It doesn't away either because I can't visit with friends or family since he won't go down with his dad.  We live three days driving away from my friends and family so these are not weekly occurances. And as others have alluded to, my marriage is not exactly peachy (no future children for us on the horizon, which I am sad about) nor is my house in order when DS is going through these phases. And by house, I mean, my attempt to keep us healthy with good food plummets, my desire and ability to spend time with my son during the day drops, and my inability to comprehend why this all lies on me crashes because I don't have time to catch my breath at night after he is in bed.  Sleep is our big challenge, yes, but the rest is just as important to me, and watching my son talk to his stuffed animals and thrash around in his bed is certainly not contributing to his or my wellbeing.  


The reason I posted cio vs. monster mama is that well, I'm not sure where that ugly voice came from when I lost it the other day, but it seemed like cio might have been less scarry to me. Luckily my DS just laughs when it comes out, but I'm not laughing...

 

I'm not sure that I understand how melatonin is healthy in the long run?  

 

BTW, my son NEEDS to sleep too. He has nightmares when he is overtired and this is night 3 with them as early as two hours after he is asleep. He has started to wet in the morning too...indicating when he gets up he is still tired. Over a week now of no naps...I'm working on getting him down at night asap before I go back to 2x a day of the struggle. 

 

 

 

 

post #13 of 33

Melatonin is a hormone produced in our brains, although the type you buy OTC is synthesized from animal sources, so it's not suitable for vegans of course.

 

It can be used short-term, certainly.  People use it when traveling across time zones.  It doesn't have to be a forever deal. 

 

However, in the case of my kiddos, it is a lifesaver and whatever risks there may be are minimal compared to the dangers of chronic insomnia.  The sleep doctor has given us permission to take up to 6mg/day but I never give them more than 1mg.  My older son, who is narcoleptic, takes a pretty heavy duty med each morning to help stave off sleepiness.  Next to that, a synthetic hormone doesn't seem so bad at all.

 

But again, those who do not have pathologically disordered sleep can just use it for a week or two to reset their body clock.

post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by landgyrl View Post

Sleep is our big challenge, yes, but the rest is just as important to me, and watching my son talk to his stuffed animals and thrash around in his bed is certainly not contributing to his or my wellbeing.  


The reason I posted cio vs. monster mama is that well, I'm not sure where that ugly voice came from when I lost it the other day, but it seemed like cio might have been less scarry to me. Luckily my DS just laughs when it comes out, but I'm not laughing...

 


What's wrong with him talking to his animals and thrashing around the bed?

I don't think you even can CIO with a 26 month old. DD is about that age. But him running out laughing when you put him to bed is unacceptable behaviour. He needs to be marched back in there firmly. Door closed again. Reminded that it's bedtime and he is not to leave.

And go visit your family! Go for a weekend. Let them work it out. Seriously. I sense that you have lost perspective in all of this. BTDT and it's a rotten place to be hug.gif
post #15 of 33

Can you stand to read one more book?  You probably won't have to read all of it - I didn't, I put the basics in place and the rest took care of itself (for instance, I have no clue what the book says to do about night wakings, which were HUGE for us...she just stopped having them and if she did, I could just go in and tell her to go back to sleep, or she could get in bed with us if she could be still and go to sleep)!  Sleepless in America saved us when my daughter was slightly older than your son (but still under three).  I think if you search under my old posts, you will probably find me singing it's praises.  It helped us SO much.  I thought we had nap and bedtime routines, but we really didn't.  We had to get really protective of sleep and naps (and pretty much stay home) for about two weeks but once she figured out how to lie down and go to sleep, we could loosen up a lot.  Full disclosure:  we still rocked her to sleep for about six months but she would literally lie in my arms, say goodnight, and she was OUT.  I liked doing it so we didn't stop till she got too heavy for me to carry down the hall (as it turns out, 55 pounds is my limit, I was also having to crab walk sideways because her legs were so long, her head and feet were hitting the walls...oops), and then I started lying down with her, singing her little songs, and saying goodnight.

 

 

post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by D_McG View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by landgyrl View Post

Sleep is our big challenge, yes, but the rest is just as important to me, and watching my son talk to his stuffed animals and thrash around in his bed is certainly not contributing to his or my wellbeing.  


The reason I posted cio vs. monster mama is that well, I'm not sure where that ugly voice came from when I lost it the other day, but it seemed like cio might have been less scarry to me. Luckily my DS just laughs when it comes out, but I'm not laughing...

 

 




What's wrong with him talking to his animals and thrashing around the bed?

I don't think you even can CIO with a 26 month old. DD is about that age. But him running out laughing when you put him to bed is unacceptable behaviour. He needs to be marched back in there firmly. Door closed again. Reminded that it's bedtime and he is not to leave.

And go visit your family! Go for a weekend. Let them work it out. Seriously. I sense that you have lost perspective in all of this. BTDT and it's a rotten place to be hug.gif
 

 

YES!  Go see your family.  TAKE A BREAK.  You deserve one mama!!!  I don't know what I would do if my ds's dad didn't use all the visitation he could possibly get - its AMAZING and gives me time to really miss my ds and get a break and some nights of not putting him to sleep.  Your ds will be fine, and will have a great time with his dad.  Take care of YOU for a weekend, or let your family do it (my parents pamper me when they visit, so I hope yours do to!), miss your ds, and come home refreshed and ready to start bedtimes over again.
 

 

post #17 of 33

Going to post here as it's the same thing!!

 

DD can put herself to sleep... that isn't the issue.  She was going to sleep very nice for awhile, and for about the last 2 months or so EVERYNIGHT it's a HUGE struggle.  Routine is the same.  I'm consistent.  Everytime she comes out of her room and downstairs, I take her right back up.  Last night it took over 2 hours of taking her back to bed for her finally to stay and go to sleep.  There is no crying, no screaming, she simply keeps getting up and coming back downstairs.

 

It's driving me insane, because then this also interrupts me trying to get DS to sleep, which used to be wicked easy until the recent time change now he wasnts to party til 10:30/11 at night, which is KILLING me as I get up at 4:30 for work!!!  *cries*  I'm losing it. 

 

After 2 months of consistent put back to sleep.. why isn't DD getting it??!

 

 

((And yes, if you are able to get breaks take them!  I wish I got more than I do.  Work is NOT a break))

post #18 of 33
Thread Starter 



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by D_McG View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by landgyrl View Post

Sleep is our big challenge, yes, but the rest is just as important to me, and watching my son talk to his stuffed animals and thrash around in his bed is certainly not contributing to his or my wellbeing.  


The reason I posted cio vs. monster mama is that well, I'm not sure where that ugly voice came from when I lost it the other day, but it seemed like cio might have been less scarry to me. Luckily my DS just laughs when it comes out, but I'm not laughing...

 

 




What's wrong with him talking to his animals and thrashing around the bed?

I don't think you even can CIO with a 26 month old. DD is about that age. But him running out laughing when you put him to bed is unacceptable behaviour. He needs to be marched back in there firmly. Door closed again. Reminded that it's bedtime and he is not to leave.

And go visit your family! Go for a weekend. Let them work it out. Seriously. I sense that you have lost perspective in all of this. BTDT and it's a rotten place to be hug.gif
 

Nothing wrong with it at all, I just don't think it's sane for me to sit there and watch him (as he wants, he won't do it on his own) until he decides to calm down and finally give in to sleep. It's his way to resist sleeping.

 

I can't visit my family for a week-end, they are 22 hours away.  I meant that when I am visiting family, I still don't get a break.  The sleeping challenges get worse when we are away.  As for going away on my own - that would be great, but not an option at the moment.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NiteNicole View Post

Can you stand to read one more book?  You probably won't have to read all of it - I didn't, I put the basics in place and the rest took care of itself (for instance, I have no clue what the book says to do about night wakings, which were HUGE for us...she just stopped having them and if she did, I could just go in and tell her to go back to sleep, or she could get in bed with us if she could be still and go to sleep)!  Sleepless in America saved us when my daughter was slightly older than your son (but still under three).  I think if you search under my old posts, you will probably find me singing it's praises.  It helped us SO much.  I thought we had nap and bedtime routines, but we really didn't.  We had to get really protective of sleep and naps (and pretty much stay home) for about two weeks but once she figured out how to lie down and go to sleep, we could loosen up a lot.  Full disclosure:  we still rocked her to sleep for about six months but she would literally lie in my arms, say goodnight, and she was OUT.  I liked doing it so we didn't stop till she got too heavy for me to carry down the hall (as it turns out, 55 pounds is my limit, I was also having to crab walk sideways because her legs were so long, her head and feet were hitting the walls...oops), and then I started lying down with her, singing her little songs, and saying goodnight.

 

 

Thanks, I am reading that very book at the moment. I have not done the charting yet but will. 

 

 


 

 

post #19 of 33
Big hugs! You need some.
I don't know what your outdoors circumstances are like. But it might work to get him down for a nap by strapping him in a stroller and walking with him for an hour or more. For DD that was frequently the only way I could get her to nap.
At night I usually lay down with DD and DS until they are out, and that takes frequently up to an hour. Sometimes I wish I could just give them a kiss and close the door behind them. But I can't stand the crying...
But if I'm at the brink of getting physically agressive with my children, I prefer to walk away for a while and let them cry, rather than actually following up on my impulses. I guess, we only can be so sweet as our nerves endure and a bit of crying once in a while won't harm them that much.
post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by landgyrl View Post

These days, I'm wondering if CIO or a yelling mother is worse. My son has been resisting naps for over a week, and taking between one to one and one half hours to fall asleep at night. I've been trying to bump up bedtime to try to get him caught up on needed sleep, but with the time change and bright evenings, this has not made things any easier. My son is not one who will sleep when he needs to. Trust me, he was falling asleep while eating dinner at 5pm tonight.  When he skips his nap, or is overtired in general, he will also forget to potty (which he has been doing consistently without much effort on my part since he was about 19 months).  He wet himself in his highchair while eating half asleep tonight and then denied it.

 

I don't know what to do. I'm a mess, as the constant resistance, twice a day, is wearing on me. DH does not put him to sleep. DS will wail for me if he tries to; probably because DH never made an effort to help until recently. DH has tried a handful of times to put him down for nap then given up.  DH has also said if I left him alone to put DS down, he'd figure it out, in other words he would probably let him cry.  I've yelled, I've threatened, I've said no this no that if he doesn't sleep. This is not the way I want to parent, but I'm crying while trying to put him down as he is smirking and constantly moving and playing while I'm singing or rocking or rubbing his back. I've tried yoga videos, i've tried baths, i've tried reading longer, i don't know what else to try. i don't want to yell anymore. i don't want to resent my DH anymore. i don't want to feel so defeated anymore and that i don't deserve to be a mother.


My DS1 was that age when he started resisting naps.  I took it as a sign that he was really moving away from them, not that I needed to enforce them.  And mind you, my son was taking 3-4 hour naps (he would literally sleep for 3 or 4 hours every day), so it was odd when he seemed to be stopping his naps.  I felt like he "needed" them if he was sleeping so long, but really he was ready to transition.  Yes, it meant grumpy kid falling asleep mid-evening for a week or so, but really he was ready to stop taking regular naps.  I wished so badly that he would take his naps again, but he kept resisting.  We tried "quiet time" at his naptime, I tried to take a "nap" to encourage him to do it too, we would lie down together and try to sleep, but he would just toss and turn (even when I could on rare occasion get him to be quiet).  We tried meditation at naptime.  Really, I think it helped to create a quiet time during the day, to give us both a rest, but he still stopped napping at 28 months.

 

Yelling, threatening, repeatedly saying no, etc really isn't going to help things.  He probably needs a shorter bedtime routine instead of a longer one and a firm set of parents who follow the new "bedtime rules."  If you're getting so frustrated and he's seeing it as a game, it's a game and he's winning.  Like others have said, your presence and "help" is actually making him stay up longer.  He sees it as playtime with mommy.  Maybe you could have a nighttime activity with just him and you, that isn't necessarily the same thing every night except that you're doing something together.  It could be right before going into the bedtime routine or it could be separated by some other activity (you go do the dishes or something that doesn't involve him) while he picks his bedtime books, gets his PJ's, or something else that reminds him it's almost time for bed.

 

I like to go at things like this trying to figure out what it is the child really needs.  Does he need more sleep?  Does he need more structure or rules?  Does he need more playtime with mommy?  Why is he acting the way he is?  Then I look at what I need.  If I were you, I would need a shorter bedtime routine and a group of people (me, DS, DH, anyone else involved) who gladly follows it without any of us feeling tortured.  One thing I do, that I don't remember anyone else mentioning, is that I tell them my own needs and why I can't come back in too often.  I tell them I'm tired, I tell them when I've gotten in my bed that I can't get up again.  I tell them that I have to do such-and-such thing now because I want to go to bed soon and I need to do it before I go to bed.  Reminding them that YOU want to go to bed soon (even if you don't do so for a few hours) lets them know that you're really not doing anything extremely fun and exciting after they go to sleep.  

 

One of my favorite stories such as this involved a little girl who would literally stay up for hours and hours, into the wee hours of the morning every night despite being exhausted every day from doing so.  When her parents finally asked her why she was staying up, they told her that she wanted to see what they did after she went to sleep.  They told her that THEY went to sleep after she went to sleep. She was surprised, but was convinced that staying up wasn't worth it and she gladly went to bed at bedtime after that.  She would wish everyone else good night, for she felt that she wasn't missing anything and she was glad to be going to bed when others were, helping them to have a good night's sleep.

 

When my kids were going through these types of things, I ended up putting them to bed when I was willing to go to bed, which was around 9.  Sure, I could have stayed up longer, but when the kids don't think they're missing anything, it helps them go to sleep.  When they get used to going to sleep with the routine, you can start doing the "oh I forgot to..." bit until you're able to stay up later and they go to sleep by themselves.  First set a routine that you can handle, that meets all of your real needs, and once that is in place, you can start transitioning in things that will help little by little.

 

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