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how to help toddler fall asleep on his own?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

Our 2 3/4 year old son is taking forever to fall asleep, and we're looking for some new options.

Here's our story:

He weaned at 2 yo, so that's out of the picture. We fully co-slept until around 18 months. Now we put him down on a futon on the floor in his room, and then he usually wakes up each night around 2 am and comes into our room and gets into bed with us. The getting into bed with us part is fine, in fact I love the snuggle time.

BUT... when we put him down at bedtime in his room, we've been laying with him until he falls asleep. This used to be a relatively painless process, but it seems to now take longer and longer. Whichever of us is putting him down often ends up in there until 8:30 or sometimes even 9 pm ( we start the bedtime process at 6:45 or 7). DH and I miss spending our evenings together!

We have a #2 on the way too, so we're hoping that we can help DS learn to fall asleep without us next to him in the next few months.

We believe firmly in the importance of emotional closeness, and we do co-counseling ( if you know what that is) which encourages parents to respect a child's feelings and not make decisions without communicating etc, as well as encouraging children ( and adults!) to cry when they need to, with closeness ( not "crying it out" - but being held and actively listened to)

SO... any advice on how to respectfully and thoughtfully help our son go to sleep on his own? We'd love to be able to read him books, sing him a song, snuggle a bit, and then leave the room - without locking the door I should add!

Thanks!

post #2 of 8

I am in pretty much the exact situation that you are in and wish I had some advice for you, but i don't. My son actually sleeps in the same room with us all night which I love too. Often when I lay down with him, I end up fighting to keep myself awake. I would say @ 80% of the time I end up asleep while putting him down. It is frustrating because I end up spending every waking moment of my day with him, and miss out on adult time.

I feel for you and would also love some suggestions. Congratulations on your pregnancy.

post #3 of 8

I wish someone would post here with advice.  We are in the same situation with our DS who is 3.  We still co-sleep but he goes to bed much earlier than us.  One of us has to be with him when he's going to bed, and he almost always asks for me, which makes it hard for DH if ever I'm out at work.  Not long ago, this was taking anywhere from 30-90 minutes, and I almost always fell asleep too, missing time with DH.  Recently he gave up his afternoon naps and all of a sudden, nighttime got easier because he was asleep within 10-15min, but still needs one of us there.  What complicates this more is that DD arrived 7 months ago and they aren't on the same sleep schedule in the least, so if I'm on my own with both at bedtime and DD doesn't want to sleep/lie in the dark, poor DS ends up crying it out - which breaks my heart.  I would love for him to confidently go to sleep on his own so that DH and I can get our nights back.  As soon as DD came, we looked at each other and said - she will fall asleep on her own - but she doesn't - she gets nursed/danced/cuddled to sleep like her bro did, and we love this.  But - will it lead to the same issues?  How do we break this cycle respectfully????  Hope someone out there has experience!

post #4 of 8

With mine I started out by saying that I needed to go to the toilet, or get a drink or whatever other excuse I could think of and then I would get up and say I would be back in 5 mins. I'd come back in 5 mins and lay down with them again. After a while I would just say I was going to get up but that I would be back in 5 mins to check on them. Then I'd just come back every 5 mins until they were asleep and then slowly the 5 mins got stretched out until I didn't need to go back in.

post #5 of 8

We do the same thing as Learning Mum, I have to go xyz but I'll be back to check on you in 5 minutes or 10 minutes or what have you. We're always honest about what we're doing and DS1 is generally fine with it.
 

post #6 of 8

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Learning_Mum View Post

With mine I started out by saying that I needed to go to the toilet, or get a drink or whatever other excuse I could think of and then I would get up and say I would be back in 5 mins. I'd come back in 5 mins and lay down with them again. After a while I would just say I was going to get up but that I would be back in 5 mins to check on them. Then I'd just come back every 5 mins until they were asleep and then slowly the 5 mins got stretched out until I didn't need to go back in.

 

This is a great suggestion.  And a few times while I lay my 2.5 year old down for her nap, I'll ask her if she wants me to stay or go downstairs.  Sometimes she'll say to go downstairs.

 

6:45 seems incredibly early to go to bed.  Maybe they're not sleepy so early and that's why it's taking longer.

post #7 of 8

I just read an article about this on Aha! parenting that involved this very topic. I hope its helpful to you.

http://www.ahaparenting.com/ages-stages/toddlers/helping-your-toddler-learn-to-put-himself-to-sleep
 

post #8 of 8

DS is almost 2 1/2 and the "I'm going to the bathroom" thing seems to be working when DH does it. But we also try not to have DS go to bed too early, he has a late 2 hr+ nap at daycare and he just isn't tired at 7:00. Now, we wait until 8 and it's much easier for him to fall asleep after a book or 2... Good luck!

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