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Bedtime, 3 year old repeatedly asking for things after we leave the room

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Need some advice on my 3 year old DD.  I am pretty much at my witt's end when it comes to bedtime.  L's bedtime is 8:15 when we start getting ready with pajamas, teethbrushing/hairbrushing, story, special hide under the blanket game, hiding from DSp's kisses, then a song in the rocking chair.  8:30 by the time she gets in bed.  After that, is when she will call one of us (usually me) in there over and over for this or that.  Some nights she will keep at it for up until 11:30, over 20 times.  I know I need to put a stop to it and every time I go in there it is only reinforcing the behavior, but sometimes her crying really sounds like it it breaking her heart that mommy and daddy won't come in there and help her with whatever is that she is "needing."  I have tried talking to her before we leave the room that we aren't going to come in there, I've tried mild scolding after the 5th or so time, when I have had it for the night.  It is always something else once I leave.  Everything she has to have before going to sleep is also a little extreme.  She has to have a sippy cup of water, her blankie to hold underneath her, her blanket to cover up with, the fan on, a flashlight (even though she has a nightlight and a Twilight Turtle), and I added a sound machine because she is so sensitive to noise and started waking up *extremely* early because of the dogs getting up and walking around or needing to go out a little early.  (Thank goodness I was able to cut out needing the toilet paper/tissues, where she would rip or wad them up and need new ones.)  I just don't think I can take any longer.  I've read that it might help to have a token of some sort where she can turn in her token for one last request, and I think I'm going to sit down with her tomorrow and start implementing that, taking out the flashlight and sippy cup.

 

 

 

 

Has anyone had this problem and have some advice???

post #2 of 22

What does she do if you just say no - its time for bed?

 

post #3 of 22

IME, 3 is a little young to expect a child to go to sleep completely alone.  Why not cut back on the routine and just sit with her rubbing her back until she falls asleep?

 

Please, whatever you do, don't fall prey to that ferberizing nonsense...if she needs you, she needs you.  Both of my kids were 4 before I could walk out fo the room while they were awake and know thye wouldn't be hollering out for a million things.  It's totally normal to attend to their needs in this way.  GL!

post #4 of 22

Goodness, esenbee2! I think we are leading parallel lives. Do you live in a tiny blue house with a white fence too? *wink*

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

COHellp -We live in a brick-front house with a natural-pine colored fence, lol.  I'll let you know how the token thing goes tonight...  Some help I got from another thread, try to keep emotional responses to a minimum.  I had been trying to give her enough comfort that would last until she is able to go to sleep, but I am starting to think that it is that reward she is seeking.  Also, I've realized that we have been not sticking to her bedtime very well.  It has gotten this bad before and I ended up setting a daily alarm on my phone for bedtime and an alarm for bath nights as well.  More and more, I've found myself hitting the snooze because we weren't done with our activity or doing a late night grocery run or something like that.

 

She's been able to go to sleep on her own since about 6 months old.  We've had periods where she has needed help here and there and extra attention, but she pretty much has had no problem with going to sleep by herself.  Even now, going through this period of repeatedly requesting things, there are some nights where she is able to go to sleep without calling us back in there, but the nights she does do it are real doozies!

post #6 of 22

Hah! my 3 yr old does this also, but now I tell her in a firm voice "it's time for bed, you can have one thing", so she usually chooses this little sleeping beauty doll her grandma gave her, it's about the size of my palm. Since day one, She's always stayed in her bed, so I don't worry about her getting out of bed or leaving the room, but some nights when she's going to bed she'll ask to use the restroom, so I give her 2 to 3 chances and that's it. 

 

hope you find a solution soon!

post #7 of 22
post #8 of 22

Interesting article, might help you, OP! But DS sleeps with us and still fought bedtime sooo much. So I don't think evolutionary mismatch is the whole story.

What seemed to finally help us was completely changing the bedtime routine. I don't think it matters so much what you change it to, but start doing something completely different & see if it helps. I found what seems to work for DS is letting him fall asleep in a recliner while listening to music or audiobooks -- while I'm working on the computer a couple of feet away. This is totally different than what we were doing before (more traditional routine of 3 stories, cuddling, etc.) and it works so well, so far. It's only been a few weeks but I'm amazed that we've cut bedtime down from 3+ hours to 15mins, with way LESS effort from me! I also started getting much more strict about what time we got ready for bed; starting about 20mins earlier seemed to help a ton. I do have to move him into the bed eventually, and he has never been able to be moved while sleeping, but for some reason it's working. I think maybe it is helping to break the old patterns & bad habits & negative associations to do something totally different.
post #9 of 22

I am pretty relaxed about bedtime in a lot of ways. We are not really strict about time but kind of aim for 8:00ish depending on his energy level. We do our standard bedtime routine & then we leave him in his room with a low light on. I do not care if he plays quietly in his room. I don't bother at all if he listens to music. I am not even fussy if he gets out of bed. I have found that most night's he's asleep quickly but sometimes it can take 3 hours before he's totally ready. But some nights he gets into the calling for us thing. What works best for us is that we make it clear after the 3rd time we will NOT be coming back in. If he calls for us after that we will respond with a simple "it's time for sleeping" but not go in. Of course if he needs to pee he can come out & do so & our house is a bungalow so with us in the livingroom he can hear us clearly so I don't think he feels very lonely. On the occasional night we will tell him if he can't stay in his room we will close the door but have almost never had to do so.

 

Kids figure out pretty quickly if you do what you say or just make suggestions. Ds knows we follow through & I think that makes it easier.

 

Note: this sounds harsher than it is - it took us many many months of slow transitions to get him to sleep in his own room on his own.

post #10 of 22

DD1 is 3.5 and she does this some nights.  I'll make sure she has everything before she goes to bed, which in her case means a huge snack, almost a second dinner, a full sippy, her light up lady bug, her cars night light, all wanted blankets and a stack of books.  We read in bed and then do hugs and kisses.  I leave her light on a dimmer and she's allowed to stay up and play in her room, but she can only come out if her cup is empty, she has to pee, she had a bad dream or it's storming.  Some weeks she's fine with this and some she's standing in her door every 15 minutes asking for new books or another hug or something.  If I give in she'll be up for hours and a complete beast the next day, which starts the cycle all over.  If I'm mean and say "you can have it in the morning, good night, I love you" and nothing more she gets mad and cries sometimes, but it does end up better in the end b/c she actually sleeps.  It sounds so mean when I read it, but the alternative is her being a complete wreck the next day which is even worse for everyone.

post #11 of 22

You mentioned you've tried telling her you and daddy won't come in - what if you didn't tell her that? Could that sound scary to her and so she needs to test out whether it's really true? Just an idea.

 

I agree with the ideas about letting her know this is bedtime, this is when we sleep, it's important that we go to sleep now.

post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by blessedwithboys View Post

IME, 3 is a little young to expect a child to go to sleep completely alone.  Why not cut back on the routine and just sit with her rubbing her back until she falls asleep?

 

Please, whatever you do, don't fall prey to that ferberizing nonsense...if she needs you, she needs you.  Both of my kids were 4 before I could walk out fo the room while they were awake and know thye wouldn't be hollering out for a million things.  It's totally normal to attend to their needs in this way.  GL!


agree with this. Can't you stay with her until she falls asleep?

Letting her cry and scream for 3 hours, even if you check on her, sounds a little extreme imo.

 

post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 

It only lasts 3 hours if we give in and keep going in there for everything she cries out for.  The time we have said enough is enough and have not gone in there, she only cries for 20 minutes on and off at the most and then goes to sleep, but I hate for her to cry herself to sleep.  I really want her to know that mommy and daddy are there for her when she needs us.

 

Last night was pretty bad.  I implemented the token and no sippy cup in bed with her (I can never find one that doesn't leak and cause new pajamas and fixing a blanket over the spill).  Poor girl's world got turned upside down.  She was so tore up about it.  She cried for a bit protesting while I was in the room, but after I left she cried for 2 minutes and then silent.  She didn't call me back in her room though, not once, even to use her token.  When I checked on her before going to bed she had gotten up and put the sippy cup in bed with her.  I put it back on the nightstand and in the morning it was back in bed with her.  We had a talk about disobeying mommy because I didn't not want her to get in that pattern, even if it meant a conflict free bedtime.  I decided to change the sippy cup rule and tonight I rigged up a sippy cup holder to her toddler bed (a can coozie and sewing thread).  She was alright with that.  She didn't call me in tonight either.  Hopefully this will stick!

post #14 of 22

i am  too new to parenting to have done this myself but i remember a friend going thru this.  i loved her system sooo much.  they built a reward system that started the night off with a certain number of wooden nickels (more on the number in a bit) and every time her son required her to come in to his room he used up one of his nickels. in the morning they talk about how many he had left and they put that number os stars on a chart they made together. when he collected a certain number of stars he got special field trips, great fun days out at his favorite places like the science center or other above the average day out with mom.  really quick he learned to use his nickels wisely and he got to in his own way decide how important all those little things were to him. she found that the type of thing that he would spend a nickel on were things that he really felt were important to him and he always had enough to cover those so he only ran out if he was frivolous. 

 

as the number, she said start with a number that is equal to how many time they usually get up. so by just cutting one time out they can keep a nickel. then slowly as they get better reduce the number so that they have enough to cover legitimate things but not really much more. the goal was to end up with about one star a day. it was ok if one day they had none, it might have meant they really needed more that night.  and there was never a judgement to running out by morning, just the facts, no more nickel to earn things you want.

 

now that i write it out i think this teaches a number of good understandings.

post #15 of 22

Fwiw - we use the kleen kanteen waterbottle with a sippy top & have not had problems with leakage. Ds most definitely gets thirsty in the night & would be in hysterics without his waterbottle. I love the cup holder idea though!

post #16 of 22

nevermind


Edited by transylvania_mom - 3/24/12 at 8:17am
post #17 of 22

Our sippy looks like   atravel mug (I think it's playtex) and doesn't leak.  We got it at Target.

post #18 of 22

When we were going through this, we fixed it by having a system of predictably going in to check on them.  Instead of being anxious about parents leaving, then they were waiting for us to come bac, and knowing that their needs would be met.  It went like this - bedtime routine, all things needed for bed assembled,  stories & brief sitting with child to relax them; then we'd say, I'll be back in 1 minute to check on you, and if there is anything you need I will deal with it then.  I expect you to be quiet and trying to sleep while I'm gone, if you need anything you can ask for it when I come to check on you.  Once we got the routine down and they were able to get through a minute quietly, we increased it to 2 minutes, then 5 etc.  Now we do 5 mins/5 mins/ 15 mins and 15 minute checks after that until they go to sleep. 

 

A lot of the problem at this age with sleeping seems to be the whole out of sight - maybe they're not there thing.  Sometimes I for go the checks for playing the piano instead, so they can hear me and know I'm there but it's not as painful as sitting with them doing nothing for an hour. 

post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen Muise View Post

When we were going through this, we fixed it by having a system of predictably going in to check on them.  Instead of being anxious about parents leaving, then they were waiting for us to come bac, and knowing that their needs would be met.  It went like this - bedtime routine, all things needed for bed assembled,  stories & brief sitting with child to relax them; then we'd say, I'll be back in 1 minute to check on you, and if there is anything you need I will deal with it then.  I expect you to be quiet and trying to sleep while I'm gone, if you need anything you can ask for it when I come to check on you.  Once we got the routine down and they were able to get through a minute quietly, we increased it to 2 minutes, then 5 etc.  Now we do 5 mins/5 mins/ 15 mins and 15 minute checks after that until they go to sleep. 

 

A lot of the problem at this age with sleeping seems to be the whole out of sight - maybe they're not there thing.  Sometimes I for go the checks for playing the piano instead, so they can hear me and know I'm there but it's not as painful as sitting with them doing nothing for an hour. 



I do something similar with DD.  After brushing teeth and books with Daddy, we all go in and sing a few songs.  After songs, hugs and kisses.  Monster spray.  Then I say, "I'll come check on you in 5 min," and usually she's asleep by the first check.  If not, she's well on her way (eyes closed, drifting off). 

Some nights she calls for me before the 5 min are up, needing a hug, needing a sip of water, needing a snack, etc.  I quickly and quietly (and sometimes thru gritted teeth) oblige.  Then I kiss and hug and do "5 more min, please go right to sleep."

 

It's tough.  It can't be easy for them to just be out of sight and calm their bodies down.  They have to be really, really tired to make it happen, and sometimes I do hear DD singing in there quietly for a bit.  But as long as she isn't being disruptive and is *trying* to go to sleep, I have to give her credit where it's due.  I mean, sometimes I lay down and toss and turn and need a drink or something before I can fall asleep, especially after an exciting day.

 

And never forget the eternal mantra -- this too shall pass, this too shall pass. 

post #20 of 22

My 3 year old daughter lately has been having a similar problem at bedtime. She's been an independent sleeper for a long time and bedtimes have been smooth sailing for a long time. But for the past 3 nights, she has gotten out of bed and opened her door to try to come out as soon as I leave her room. I tried bringing her back to her bed a few times, telling her each time that it was bedtime and time to go to sleep, but she kept opening the door and trying to come out again. Eventually, I held the door closed. I hated doing it, and she was upset by it, but I knew the alternative was a lengthy battle. I didn't want to begin a routine of sitting by her bed waiting for her to fall asleep because I was afraid to set that precedent. 

 

One thing that I do do, however, is say to her, "i will sit right outside your door for as long as you need me to. I am very close to you and I am here for you. You can even talk to me for a little while from your bed." I know it makes it a lot easier for her to go to sleep knowing that I am just a couple of feet away behind the door. The other 2 things I've done is given her a flashlight to use while she's in bed. And I've started a reward chart. 

 

My experience isn't very GD, I know, but it's seems to be working for the time being. She still protests a bit, but she seems satisfied by my closeness, the flashlight and by the promise of a star on her reward chart. 


Edited by Katherine4 - 3/25/12 at 1:39pm
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