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Bedtime challenges with almost-2-year-old

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I'm mostly posting this because I was searching the forums for answers to questions about this sudden extreme resistance to bed time that I'm getting from my 23-month old son. I found loads of suggestions, but very rarely did the OP check back in and say, "This is what worked for me." 


DS, beginning at about 21 months, suddenly started spending 2-3 hours SCREAMING before bed. We had a rock-solid bedtime routine (though we hadn't nursed in 6 months, so that wasn't part of it). He also required me or DH to rock him, which has become nearly impossible for me, as I'm 8 months pregnant and .. there's just not room for him! That is, rocking, WHILE screaming his head off. He sleeps on a floor bed, so there's no real way to confine him as we could in a crib. It's nice, because we can lay down with him, but not nice because he'll run around like a madman (while screaming and demanding to be picked up and rocked, then set down to run around like a crazy person).


We've gotten bedtime wind-down down to about an hour, sometimes less. That still seems like a lot, but it's a huge improvement. And, really, *I* need to read for 45 mins to an hour before I'm really sleepy, even if I'm tired, so I can relate to what he's going through. The trick (inspired by people who said that their kid liked to lay down and watch a fiberoptic light thing that changed colors) was this: http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Precious-Planet-Projection-Mobile/dp/B001GQ2SA2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344276914&sr=8-1&keywords=fisher+price+mobile+projector It's a mobile with a projector on it that shows pictures of cartoon animals on a loop. I LOATHED this thing when my dad got it for DS when he was born. Not the kind of thing I wanted to attach to his beautiful, hand-crafted, heirloom cradle. But I felt guilty for not using it because it was expensive and my dad was excited about it. Well, I take back all my griping. I took the mobile/canopy part off, and rigged it so that the parade of animals projects across the ceiling above the floor bed. Now DS asks us, "Watch animals?" when it's about bed time, and one of us goes up there and lays down with him. He still gets up and wanders around a bit, but I can say, "Hey, here comes the lion," and he'll come back to watch it. It times out and turns off after about 20 minutes. He doesn't know that we can restart it. There's something about the repetition of the animals that really seems to calm him down (he'll even say, "Good night, Penguin! Good night, Giraffes!"). AND it has made bedtime something that he really looks forward to. He doesn't fight or scream about it anymore. I wish that I could say I had some kind of crunchymama massage-and-aroma-therapy solution, but...this works. 


From my searching, it seems like a bedtime struggle at this age is normal..ish. What worked for you?

post #2 of 5

Oh gosh we have a 20 month old who has always been a challenge to put to sleep. 


We lay him down on the bed, and my DH or I lie next to him and sing to him until he falls asleep. Up until recently this took about 20 minutes.  Now it's taking up to an hour for him to fall asleep.  He just does not seem tired, even though I make sure he naps early in the day.


The projector idea sounds interesting. We have a humidifier that projects sun and moon coloured lights.  My son learned how to turn it on recently, so pop this on before bedtime and it at least helps to calm him down.  He also is lately throwing tantrums before bedtime.


It's funny, I look at all those "sleep aids" and of course the box shows kiddo peacefully sleeping, and I always think to myself "bullsh*t"!!!!!


Thanks for posting!

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Heh, heh, the sleep aids. I bought my son a "Sleep Sheep" at a yard sale. He gets really excited about it because it can sound like a WHALE and RAIN! It's a toy, and he wants me to push the buttons...not conducive to sleeping.


The worst part, I think, is that people act like you're doing it wrong, and that's why your kid isn't a good sleeper. I think it's totally a temperament thing, though. I have several friends whose children have opposite personalities, for sleep and otherwise, despite being raised by the same people and in essentially the same way. I'm pregnant with #2, and I HOPE she's a better sleeper! I don't think I can handle another baby like this one...

post #4 of 5

I agree Nilatti, that tempermant has a huge amount to do with.  Sure, some kids might be able to be gently "moulded" into sleeping better, but not my son!


And yes, the smug people who say "my child slept through the night since he was 1 week old" (OK i'm being sarcastic about the 1 week bit, but you get my gist) take way too much credit for it.


I hope bubs #2 is a better sleeper.  He/she probably won't be worse, so at least you got the tough one out of the way.  I've met mums who complained that their baby woke twice a night...I figure if we have bubs #2 and he/she wakes twice a night I'll be doing cartwheels!!!!

post #5 of 5
Oh god, I'd LOVE two wake ups a night. My DD isn't too bad usually in going to bed (I nurse her down) but she's only 16 months old, so I won't assume she will stay that way. We EC though, so she's up to pee 4 times a night on average and we don't cosleep most of the time - she is like a greased weasel in our bed. On bad nights I pass out before I can put her down and end up spending most of the night sitting in the recliner. Sigh, two wakings would be lovely lol.
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