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The next step after laying with DS to get him to sleep...

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

We have been on a long journey from cosleeping and night nursing to now having almost-2.5 yo DS weaned and sleeping in his own bed and room. We used to nurse to sleep, then we rocked to sleep, now we lay with him until he is sleeping in his bed. He still wakes in the early morning to come and find us and usually ends up sleeping with us for a couple of hours in the morning.

 

We are happy with the progression and DS is doing well considering he is very mildly on the spectrum and has always had a hard time with sleep. We've had a solid bedtime routine for all of his life and cosleeping and nursing at night worked great for us (until it didn't) and now we are expecting a new baby in April. So we will be starting all over with the cosleeping and night nursing with another one and are happy that DS is transitioning to sleeping on his own- we decided we just couldn't cosleep with two. We've been going as gently as possible and as slowly as he needs while still taking every opportunity to move forward.

 

Right now it takes anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour AFTER our 40 minute bedtime routine to be able to leave DS's bed with him happily asleep. If we rock him (we do this sometimes if he issick or just not able to lay calmly enough to get to sleep) it takes 20-30 minutes. He used to chatter and roll around A LOT when we first started laying with him, but he has gotten better at laying calmly (he still does chatter and roll around a bit though). We are going a bit nuts now though spending most of our evening with one of us laying with him. Me especially because I do it for nap time too. 

 

We are wondering what the next step is after this. How do we help DS get better at falling asleep in his bed so that it takes less time? and How do we remove ourselves from the equation eventually? I've had a couple of people tell me that we should sit in a chair next to his bed, then move the chair farther and farther away. But DS won't stay in his bed without one of us. And he doesn't respond well to the tactic of placing him in his bed over and over again when he gets out. He REALLY doesn't respond well to this. 

 

Obviously it would be great if DS was able to get in his bed and go to sleep on his own by the time DD arrives but realistically we know that will probably not be the case. We are focusing on the progression right now and not the end result. 

If anyone has experience with this and could offer some advice about where we can go from here, things to try, that would be great!!! 

 

Thanks

post #2 of 8

Your story is so similar to ours.  Now ours is 5 years old and just now I can read to her and kiss her goodnight and check on her every 5 minutes.  Planning to stretch 5 minutes out to 10 soon.  We are rewarding her with a toy every 5 nights of success.  She loves it and is working hard for that toy.  I have realized now that my presence is too stimulating and that's why we were laying for anywhere from 1/2 an hour to 1 1/2 hours every night.  The reason I know this...she's usually asleep in 5 to 10 minutes (when I lay with her it's about 1/2 an hour).

 

But at 2.5 mine would not stay in the bed.  I tried the chair thing and that was too hard for her.  She got up, cried, tried to sit on me, would not get in bed, cried harder and harder until she threw up. 

 

I just don't have any real energy to do bed time training so I mostly waited it out. I tried things through the years, but i have zero energy at night.  She always won the battle.  So I mostly just decided to let her grow up and then bribe her with a toy.  It's working.

 

One thing I wanted to suggest you try is a timer.  I never tried it, but little ones like timers.  You could say that mama is going to snuggle you until the timer goes off in 15 minutes ( or whatever you decide).  Then mama has to go do mama things.   Sometimes kids respect the timer and obey it when they wouldn't do it for the parent.  I don't know why that is.  They can't argue with the timer.

 

So, I hope whatever you try it works for your family. 

post #3 of 8

You know, my daughter went through a similar process, and at some point recently I discovered that I could just put her in bed and leave the room and she didn't care.  (She's 2.75.)  I kind of discovered it by accident.  I absolutely didn't think she was ready for that.  But apparently...she was!  I really credit our persistence with being there for her through all of her sleep troubles.  For her, she's very much a creature of routine.  When things are very, very consistent, she gains confidence.  What do you think would happen if you made a point of going out of the room briefly every single night, so it just becomes part of the routine?

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shami View Post

Your story is so similar to ours.  Now ours is 5 years old and just now I can read to her and kiss her goodnight and check on her every 5 minutes.  Planning to stretch 5 minutes out to 10 soon.  We are rewarding her with a toy every 5 nights of success.  She loves it and is working hard for that toy.  I have realized now that my presence is too stimulating and that's why we were laying for anywhere from 1/2 an hour to 1 1/2 hours every night.  The reason I know this...she's usually asleep in 5 to 10 minutes (when I lay with her it's about 1/2 an hour).

 

But at 2.5 mine would not stay in the bed.  I tried the chair thing and that was too hard for her.  She got up, cried, tried to sit on me, would not get in bed, cried harder and harder until she threw up. 

 

I just don't have any real energy to do bed time training so I mostly waited it out. I tried things through the years, but i have zero energy at night.  She always won the battle.  So I mostly just decided to let her grow up and then bribe her with a toy.  It's working.

 

One thing I wanted to suggest you try is a timer.  I never tried it, but little ones like timers.  You could say that mama is going to snuggle you until the timer goes off in 15 minutes ( or whatever you decide).  Then mama has to go do mama things.   Sometimes kids respect the timer and obey it when they wouldn't do it for the parent.  I don't know why that is.  They can't argue with the timer.

 

So, I hope whatever you try it works for your family. 

I hear you on having no energy to do bed time training! We are *mostly* resigned to waiting it out, but can't help hoping that something we try will help things along. I just don't know how we will manage bedtime with 2 given how much of our time and effort goes just to getting DS down for the night. And to be honest waiting it out till FIVE makes me want to run, screaming, far away! 

Haven't heard of the timer thing. My first reaction to that is, it will never work. But we're willing to try anything. Maybe for us playing a number of songs on his ipod speakers and telling him mummy or daddy will leave when the songs are finished... We'll see.

Thanks for the ideas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newmamalizzy View Post

You know, my daughter went through a similar process, and at some point recently I discovered that I could just put her in bed and leave the room and she didn't care.  (She's 2.75.)  I kind of discovered it by accident.  I absolutely didn't think she was ready for that.  But apparently...she was!  I really credit our persistence with being there for her through all of her sleep troubles.  For her, she's very much a creature of routine.  When things are very, very consistent, she gains confidence.  What do you think would happen if you made a point of going out of the room briefly every single night, so it just becomes part of the routine?

That's a good idea- letting him get used to us leaving briefly and coming back. That might help him get used to the idea of staying in bed when we are not in the room. Then we could leave for longer and longer and hopefully he would stay in the bed. I think you might be onto something- we have to get him to actually STAY in his bed without us first before we even try to tackle the idea of falling asleep there by himself. Little steps. If he can stay in his bed without us and not be running out after us, then eventually he might be able to sleep too. 

Thanks for this! 

post #5 of 8

I wih I had advice for you but I am in the same boat with my 2.5 year old twins.  I hope someone has good ideas because I need to figure something out before the new baby gets here!

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by newmamalizzy View Post

You know, my daughter went through a similar process, and at some point recently I discovered that I could just put her in bed and leave the room and she didn't care.  (She's 2.75.)  I kind of discovered it by accident.  I absolutely didn't think she was ready for that.  But apparently...she was!  I really credit our persistence with being there for her through all of her sleep troubles.  For her, she's very much a creature of routine.  When things are very, very consistent, she gains confidence.  What do you think would happen if you made a point of going out of the room briefly every single night, so it just becomes part of the routine?

 

It was the same for us, I discovered by accident that I could walk out when DS was around 2.  I had forgotten to bring something to the bedroom, so I told him to wait, I'd be right back, and he was still hanging out happy when I came back.  I started doing this every night and he was fine.  Then I started telling him I had to go "take care of Wawa" (his name for our dog), and if he was tired, he'd fall asleep while I was gone.  Now he is so used to it, if he wants someone to leave the room when he is getting in bed (like DH or his grammy), he tells them to go take care of Wawa. lol.gif

 

The other thing that made a big difference was dropping his nap.  DS stopped napping regularly around 18 months, and it made bedtime far easier.  However he now goes to preschool twice a week and started napping there, and still naps at home if he is sick, and those nights it takes much longer for him to fall asleep.

post #7 of 8

Just want to add another vote for the "going out for a minute" solution with a slightly different perspective. I had done it accidentally and been surprised that my LO was ok with it and stayed put, but I'm starting to do this a little bit on purpose now and she's only 14 months and is still in her sidecar crib (or, nearly as often, our bed).

 

Considering how long it took this child to ever even consider going to sleep without being held, I'm amazed that sometimes when she's sleepy I can actually tell her "I'm going to let you sleep now - goodnight" and she looks at me and closes her eyes again (sometimes she objects, and I stay, no problem). But I think it started with a game we used to play that had nothing to do with sleep, when she started being a little anxious if I'd leave the room. I would go out of the room but first point and say (in a very happy animated voice and with a smile) "You stay here, I'll be /right/ back" -- it's kind of like another (larger scale) version of peek-a-boo and I really do feel like these games have helped a lot with all kinds of separation issues, including now the big one of sleep. She initiates all of these kinds of games now and is endlessly amused, but she is also tolerating explanations for separations more, and resisting less all around. I almost can't believe it, but I also feel like it's related to always being there for her through when she needed lots of help earlier.

 

Anyway, my baby is still small and I'm not even trying to get her to go to bed independently, but I think a little variety in the bedtime pattern (maybe once the routine is established?) can be extremely helpful for making gradual changes. I imagine this working even better with older kids too if it's started gradually, just popping out for a minute like other posters have mentioned.

post #8 of 8

these are all great ideas that I hope to incorporate now. My daighter is the same and will wake up  screaming or wake up as I am leaving and do a monkey hold on me. we have just been waiting it out, always responsive but it does seem like she'll never sleep on her own. I'm looking forward to trying some of these. thanks!

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