Helping toddler wind down before bed - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 03-17-2011, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DS has always been a frequent waker, but we have progressed from 8-10x /night to 1-3x/night now at 20mo.  He weaned himself a month ago, sleeps in his own bed and in general is easy enough to resettle in 5 minutes or less.  Lately though he seems so wound up before bed that it takes an hour or more of one of us laying with him to get him to fall asleep.  It just can't go on like this because I am due w/#2 in two months and DH will not always be there to help.  Plus DH has just had it because we have been getting no sleep for almost two years and now an hour of our adult time is getting taken up too. 

 

We have had the same routine for a long time- put away toys, brush teeth, say "goodnight" to various things in the house, sit on the potty, change into pajamas, read books, go to sleep.  He used to settle on his own with the light off but now he screams, gets out of bed and sometimes leaves his room to come find us.  Also he has been harder to settle in the middle of the night- he was up at 2, 4, then 5:30a last night and didn't go back to sleep until 7am, then was up for the day at 7:30.  I AM EXHAUSTED!  DH does all he can but he has to get up for work at 6 and needs to be able to not kill himself on the job.

 

Yes, there are teeth coming in (there are always teeth coming in) but this does not seem like regular teething behavior for DS.  Last night he kept complaining about his diaper but we changed it, loosened it, put him on the potty, etc and all it did was wake him up more. *sigh*

 

Any thoughts to help him fall asleep a little easier?


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#2 of 11 Old 03-18-2011, 02:16 PM
 
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DS has done well with a soother music box that is strapped to his crib. We turn it on lullaby music when we put him in his bed, and sometimes I hear him turn it on himself when he wakes up in the night. Another thing that helps him settle if he's not happy is a little light that shines stars/moon on the ceiling. It turns itself off after like 20 minutes or so, just like the music soother.

 

Also, at bedtime we watch short videos of him on the computer (he LOVES to watch "bee bee") while he drinks warm milk to get him really chill.


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#3 of 11 Old 03-21-2011, 02:18 PM
 
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We moved up bedtime and read a lot more stories then in the past. No Cry Sleep has lots of good suggestions.

 

(Although you might seem recs to the contrary, videos tend to stimulate not "wind down.")

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#4 of 11 Old 03-21-2011, 03:16 PM
 
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My 18 month old has a noise machine in her room. She is still in a crib and I plan to keep her in a crib as long as possible. But she will let me lay her down and she goes to sleep on her own. I have darkening shades in her room and the noise machine.


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#5 of 11 Old 03-21-2011, 03:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

We moved up bedtime and read a lot more stories then in the past. No Cry Sleep has lots of good suggestions.

 

(Although you might seem recs to the contrary, videos tend to stimulate not "wind down.")



exactly...after raising two older kids, I have noticed that keeping the littles in the dark as much as possible and being quiet and soothing is what they need, not a lot of loud noise and definitely not light.


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#6 of 11 Old 03-21-2011, 03:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penstamon View Post

DS has always been a frequent waker, but we have progressed from 8-10x /night to 1-3x/night now at 20mo.  He weaned himself a month ago, sleeps in his own bed and in general is easy enough to resettle in 5 minutes or less.  Lately though he seems so wound up before bed that it takes an hour or more of one of us laying with him to get him to fall asleep.  It just can't go on like this because I am due w/#2 in two months and DH will not always be there to help.  Plus DH has just had it because we have been getting no sleep for almost two years and now an hour of our adult time is getting taken up too. 

 

We have had the same routine for a long time- put away toys, brush teeth, say "goodnight" to various things in the house, sit on the potty, change into pajamas, read books, go to sleep.  He used to settle on his own with the light off but now he screams, gets out of bed and sometimes leaves his room to come find us.  Also he has been harder to settle in the middle of the night- he was up at 2, 4, then 5:30a last night and didn't go back to sleep until 7am, then was up for the day at 7:30.  I AM EXHAUSTED!  DH does all he can but he has to get up for work at 6 and needs to be able to not kill himself on the job.

 

Yes, there are teeth coming in (there are always teeth coming in) but this does not seem like regular teething behavior for DS.  Last night he kept complaining about his diaper but we changed it, loosened it, put him on the potty, etc and all it did was wake him up more. *sigh*

 

Any thoughts to help him fall asleep a little easier?




also, TRY to remember, although I know it's hard, lol......that in a few years this will all be a memory and you will look back and laugh it off. My older two are 15 and 8 and I had some really tough times with them those first 2-3 years. Hang in there!


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#7 of 11 Old 03-21-2011, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the suggestions!  DS was up for 2 hours last night from 1-3am after taking over an hour to fall asleep.  We do have blackout curtains and used white noise for quite awhile but decided to cut it out as it never made a difference in his wakings.  We have been doing a cup of warm milk now before books which seemed to help him fall asleep but last night when he was up he was complaining of his diaper again- it was wetter than usual so I did have to change him before he would fall back to sleep.  This is pretty rare so I think it may be the extra fluids at bedtime.  I let him watch TV every now and again in the evening for 20 minutes or less but I sort of stopped that because I was afraid it was stimulating him too much.

 

I do like the idea of a light/music machine that shuts off- any suggestions on a good one?


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#8 of 11 Old 03-21-2011, 09:30 PM
 
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What is the weather like where you live? One of my kids needs a lot of physical activity to go to sleep easily. We live in a mild climate but the rain has kept us indoors and everyone has been climbing the walls. Does LO get out enough?
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#9 of 11 Old 03-22-2011, 09:08 AM
 
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Just sympathy here.  Ever since the time change it seems that DS does not settle easily and is sleeping less at night.  DH does the final stories and put in bed, but DS will toss and turn and sometimes come out of his room multiple times before finally going to sleep.  We moved him to a big bed a couple months ago and he just started getting out recently.  I don't know what's going on.  I just want him to get good sleep!

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#10 of 11 Old 03-22-2011, 11:03 AM
 
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What time does your DS wake from his nap? I find with DD that if she doesn't have about 5 1/2-6 hours between end of nap and bedtime, she won't fall asleep very easily. Too little time or too much time between end of nap and bedtime is rough. So I wake her at 2:30, if she's not awake by then, no matter what time she fell asleep for her nap. She's usually up closer to 2pm.

 

Also, I've noticed that DD gets kind of "wired" during the bedtime routine, which used to alarm me but know I think of it as her way to getting herself ready for bed. Like that song "shake your sillies out". So I strip her down to her diaper and she runs around the house screaming "naked!!! chase me!!!!" for 10-15 mins or so and then we do the books, teeth brushing, good night to everyone, nursing, sleep. Perhaps your DS needs some "silly" time of high energy activity just prior to bedtime.

 

Also, definitely second the PP about too much stimulation in the middle of the night. From bedtime on, the lights stay off. The only time we've turned on lights and gotten DD out of bed in the middle of the night was because she vomited and we had to change the sheets. Even then we only turned on the hall light and opened the bedroom door to let just enough light shine in.

Night time is for sleeping and I've starting telling DD that she is doesn't have to sleep if she wakes up in the middle of the night but she has to stay in bed (we co-sleep so we're right there).

 

Hope that helps.

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#11 of 11 Old 03-22-2011, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS was up again from 1-3am and I am seriously hurting- I haven't gotten more than 1.5 hours at a stretch since last week.  This is essentially regressing to when he was 6mo!  He gets lots of outside time regardless of weather and he has many playdates and such to keep him running about all day.  He doesn't generally go down for nap until after lunch, so 12:30-1 and then will sleep about 2 hours.  So he has about 5.5 or so hours until bedtime.

 

I just don't know what to do.  DH is at his wit's end so he has been less help right at a time when I really need it.  This is one of the few days I had to go in to work and I am cutting out early to go home and sleep!  DS just seems like he really needs someone sleeping with him all of a sudden, all night long, but it still doesn't guarantee any sleep for anyone.  Its no different than when we are in the next room and I just can't get comfortable in bed with him.


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