2 year old sleep problems - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 06-18-2012, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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My 2 year old son used to be a great sleeper, he'd sleep from 7 til 7 everyday, with a 2 hour nap, for the longest time, then when my parents stayed for a week's visit around his 2nd birthday, his sleep schedule got messed up, he started waking up at 5 every morning, I tried changing nap and bed times for over a month but nothing worked, so I just dealt with the early mornings, which carried on for months. For the last few weeks he's been taking at least an hour, sometimes 2, to fall asleep at night.. (he used to be asleep within 20 minutes every night) I cut his nap down, I even cut his nap out completely for a couple days, which helped, both days he's not napped he's gone to sleep within 10 minutes at night, and slept for almost 12 hours, but he is very miserable late afternoon, and gets upset at every little thing, if he naps whether it's for 10 minutes or an hour, he takes forever to fall asleep at night, and it's driving me crazy, I really do think he still needs a nap during the day, I'm just wondering what time to put him down at night where he will fall asleep quickly and not take over an hour to fall asleep and lose out on sleep. Putting him to bed later than 7 has never worked in the past, I'm wondering if it might help now that he's a little older? he wakes up between 6 and 7, and when I do let him nap I wake him up no later than 1pm. I'm wondering if anyone else has had this problem and what they did about it?


Thanks for your time.

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#2 of 6 Old 06-18-2012, 05:18 PM
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My first thought when I read your post was that it could have something to do with the summer sun.  My daughter (27 months, NOT a good sleeper) started waking up much earlier as the days got longer.  We have blackout curtains, but there's still a perceivable shift in light in the room at 5 or 5:30, and it definitely wakes her up.  If your son is playing outside later in the day, or even just getting more evening sunlight, it might make him take longer to fall asleep.


On the other hand, it could be that his sleep needs have changed.  My daughter does best these days with about 12 hours of sleep, usually all at night.  If he's a good napper, I would try shortening his night by an hour, then planning for about 5 hours between the end of nap and lights out.  (So...wake-up at 6:30, nap from 12 - 2, lights out at 7, hopefully asleep by 7:30).  My daughter's the type that takes longer to fall asleep at night if she's overtired.  Maybe because of all the sleep troubles you've been pushing bedtime further from naptime and he's getting too tired? 

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#3 of 6 Old 06-18-2012, 06:59 PM
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My kids have stopped napping right at 2, either they stopped themselves or I stopped them because they would take FORVER to fall asleep at night if they napped. We only do early naps as well. And when they stop napping, there can be a several week or couple month adjustment until they figure out how to power through the late afternoon. Or maybe he can still nap just with a later bedtime. 

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#4 of 6 Old 06-19-2012, 02:34 AM
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My daughter is younger but this may help. With the hot weather, she needs wind down time between her bath and bedtime. If she doesn't get 45 mins to an hour after her bath to cool off and run around then she is a nightmare at bedtime. If bath is part of your bedtime routine, I suggest moving it up to see if that helps.
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#5 of 6 Old 06-19-2012, 09:29 PM
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This is my first post on Mothering - seems an appropriate place to start since it feels like I've spent the last 2 years trying to get my daughter to sleep;-)


My daughter is 28 months, and she's also in that awkward phase where napping seems to throw off her nighttime sleep, but she still really needs it, or she'll turn into a cranky monster in the late afternoon.  She's a very erratic sleeper, and never settles into a schedule for more than a few weeks, but right now she's sleeping from about 9:30pm-8am, with a 1.5 hour nap in the afternoon (usually between 1:30-3).  I also find she needs at least 5.5 hours between wakeup and being tired enough to fall asleep again.  I have tried many times to move bedtime earlier, but I find if I try to put her to bed too early, then bedtime drags out into a 2 hour ordeal.  If I make sure she's been awake for long enough before I attempt bedtime, it only takes about half an hour, which is a major improvement for us.  I also wake her up from her nap if it's lasting too long, which seems tragic considering all the time that has gone into putting her to sleep in the first place!


Maybe it would be worth trying a slightly later bedtime if you want to keep the daytime nap?


Our other sleep issue right now is that she still nurses to sleep at nap time.  At night, I put her in her crib awake and she falls asleep on her own, but that totally doesn't work at naptime - she has to be asleep when I put her in the crib.  I fear weaning, since I have no idea how I would get her to nap.

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#6 of 6 Old 06-26-2012, 07:56 AM
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Mamapenguin- I had the same nap problem (only nursing to sleep for nap) and one day (because of pregnancy related soreness) I told her that we wouldn't be nursing for naptime anymore (it was the last session to go for weaning) but that I would lay with her (in my bed) and it took a few weeks of testing boundaries but she finally will lay down and nap with me for 1-2 hours most days without a struggle. I started a sticker reward chart because she was turning naptime into a fight/game and was take 1-1.5 hours to actually fall asleep. 

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