I have been thinking about this too actually. I really, really like the idea of allowing children to self-regulate and we do this with food & other aspects of daily life, but with sleep, it's a whole 'nother ball game. The problem in our home (and I suspect many others!!) is that there is no way DS would go into a room & play/read/etc. in the first place. He needs constant physical contact & interaction with me (yes, even at almost 3yo) and won't even go into the bathroom by himself for a moment, never mind spend 1, 2, 3+ hours in a bedroom alone. He has also never ever chosen to go to sleep, he fights it no matter how tired he is or how late it is. So unless I want to stay up past 3am every single night, I don't see how this would work. If I go to sleep before him, he gets absolutely frantic and obviously I don't sleep. I guess I am curious how you get your DS to go in the room & entertain himself? Or maybe it's just a personality difference?? (Sorry OP, don't mean to derail your thread!!)
Yes, I am curious too. My DD's is ] younger than the age we are speaking about, but I cannot imagine her being ok with this type of arrangement. She needs constant contact, and due to her personality, I don't see this changing drastically in the 1-2 years to come.
mama to 1 gorgeous DD 11/05/10
When we know better, we do better.
We haven't eliminated the nap entirely but we have certainly limited it; no sleep past 3:30 no matter what. Right now, DD wakes up around 7:30 (I wake her if she is late), goes down for her nap between 1:30 and 2:00, wakes up from her nap at 3:30 (I have to wake her at least ninety percent of the time) and does not fall asleep until at least 9:00 on a good day even though we start bedtime at 8:15. On the days when she doesn't nap, she falls asleep easily at 7:00 and sleeps until 7:30 the next morning. I know that our current schedule is pretty weird, and that I am a creepy lunatic for waking the poor kid all the time, but she just can't make it without her nap. She gets completely wired and crazed from all the stress hormones if she is awake for twelve hours.
This is pretty much EXACTLY what I am now trying. Wish me luck! Some days she just will not nap that early no matter what so I give her a choice....But today she napped from 1:30 to 3:30 9I woke her up at 3:30 on the dot) And it is now 9:30pm and shes running around building pillow forts with her imaginary friends. I have no idea what bedtime is going to be but I suspect close to 11. I honestly think with this child there are 2 choices. No nap and a 8-9pm bedtime (I tried 7:30 and she basically laughed at me and ran away) or nap with me waking her and an 11 (or later bedtime). I am taking all everyone says to heart and laughing with the BTDT stories and being concerned with those who voice concern. I'm really trying but this is HARD!
Yes, my DD too. She will happily go into her room to play, but there is no way in heck she would put herself to bed. She likes to play a game called 'sleep" where she pretends she's asleep then flips out of bed and giggles in fits. That's as close as we get to her sleeping without me!
Where are these mythical parents, lol... Youknow, sometimes I do this thing where I think every one else really has it together unless they are crying in a heap in a corner. And by extension I must be the biggest heap because I'm the only one in a heap. I think really, though, everyone is a heap sometimes but it doesn' t always show. Not because people are hiding but because no one can get a true picture unless they are there for each moment.But anyhow, I hope you don't be to hard on yourself. So much depends on things that are beyond our control.
I love you! I'm laughing so hard now. I'm totally in the heap too. I get what you are saying, some mom friends I have seem so "together" but is it an act or real? Do they fall into a heap when they get home? Hard to know....I always am the first to tell everyone what my struggles are and sometimes I feel like I am the only one struggling. Love to hear I'm not alone.
Yes it is! Regardless of what I posted above, like someone else mentioned, ultimately I think most people just ride it out. Parents do their best to help their kids sleep, try various 'methods', and that's all there is to it.
Napping is also different from culture to culture, but it does appear that humans were designed to sleep in at least two chunks of time per each 24 hour period. However, some cultures discourage daytime sleeping while others encourage it. Interesting reading: http://www.parentingscience.com/sleep-requirements.htm
I think it starts from birth and takes a different perspective on sleep a together... instead of thinking that we are "putting baby to sleep" Montessorians recognize that baby is responsible for putting himself to sleep.
Preparing the environment so this can happen is key.
With a toddler, I would just begin by completely baby proofing the room-- and having a bed that toddler can get in and out of safely and easily (floor bed) is really best to start).
Have a routine, and when it is time to go to bed, begin by sitting in the room with the toddler. Bring a book for you to read, so you can be present, but not really focused on the child. After your bedtime routine, brush teeth, story, sing a song, etc. just sit there and read you book. You can start in the bed of the child if you like to snuggle-- low light is best, it doesn't have to be completely dark.
Allow your child to get in and out of the bed as s/he pleases, but having a baby gate or closing the door so that toddler knows that we are staying in the room.
After a few nights of being in the bed, move to bedside the bed. The after a few more nights, beside the door. Then eventually just outside the door. Soon (and this could be 6 months--depending on the child) you will kiss you child good night and he will feel secure in his environment--even if you are not there.
Sleeping won't be dependent on you, but rather on the prepared environment where the child feels perfectly safe and capable.
Images of Montessori rooms in homes are a great place to start: link.
My ds is 2y 2.5m and I stopped trying to get him to take a nap. He might nap once a week or so if he's very tired and especially if we're in the car at that time. I do not let him sleep more than 2 hours or past 3:30 or 4pm ever -- that's been my strategy for months, because he will not go to bed at night if he takes a long/late nap. He generally doesn't nap. Bedtime for 4.5yo dd and ds is 7:15-7:45 depending on how tired they are. He sometimes goes to sleep in 5 or 10 minutes, but it can easily take an hour too. I gave up on naps because I was so tired of trying to help him get to sleep for 1 hour or more TWICE a day -- it was making both of us miserable. I do wonder if he's getting enough sleep now because he's been getting up early the past few weeks.
I took him to a sleep specialist a few months ago for sleep apnea and he recommended a schedule for helping him get to sleep more easily and consistently. He was fine with the nap (at the time, no more than 2 hours and never past 4pm, and letting him get up after 1 hour if he hadn't fallen asleep). But for bedtime and wake up he recommended I pick a wake-up time (I was going to do 7, but ended up doing 8am) and get ds up and move him to a bright room to start his day at that time every day. Then for bedtime choose a time that was late enough that he'd be asleep in 10 minutes (10pm) and do that for a week. Then start moving the bedtime earlier every few days by increments of 15 minutes until you reach a point where he takes longer to go to sleep. He thought it would be closer to 8 than 7 (but that may have been for the 7am wake up time). It really worked -- within a few weeks ds was sleeping 8pm-7am consistently (we still had night wakings and he didn't always nap, but he was on a schedule that worked).
The problem is, of course, that things change -- they go through developmental phases and growth spurts, they get teeth, they get colds, you decide to stop trying for naps because you're sick of it, you stay up late and let them sleep in so you can sleep in -- an the schedule changes or becomes inconsistent.
Anyway, right now he has a cold and cough, he is taking 30-45 minutes to go to sleep at bedtime, and he is rarely napping. He is probably sleeping 8/8:30-6/7 most nights. Probably not quite enough sleep. He seems tired in the morning, but won't go back to sleep or sleep later. I'm just so done fighting about it. If I think he is really too tired I'll do something about it, but right now I'm just going to focus on consistent bedtime and wake-up time and see if we can get things settled down a bit.
Well it must be a personality thing then, because that's virtually exactly what I've done with DS most of his life... Plus he's always had a floor bed -- both a big family floor bed and a crib mattress on the floor -- not because of Montessori, I don't know much about that, but that's just what we've always had. Three years later and we are still not remotely close to kissing him goodnight & walking out the door.
Yes, we're in the same boat. DD is a long way from sleep independence, in spite of all of our efforts and routines. It's not clear to me that we're doing anything "wrong." She just won't sleep until she's good and ready....and that's been true for her entire life.
Living in Wisconsin with my partner of 20+ years and our DD(Born 10/09/08 ). Why CI Mama? Because I love contact improvisation!