My Toddler has Insomnia - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 09-27-2012, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 2.5 year old  son has been diagnosed with Insomnia.

 

He only gets a total of 8-10 hours sleep within 24 hours, is not yet sleeping through the night regularly & has a really, REALLY hard time settling...we are talking 1.5-2 hours of rocking to get him to sleep. (for naps and nighttime)

 

I am truly exhausted and wondering if there are any other mom's out there that have been or that are going through this?

I'm not in the camp of letting him cry it out to teach him to settle himself.

He's had a lot of issues with reflux and digestive issues and I sometimes still think that constipation is getting him tummy pain and keeping him up.

 

I am looking for tips on sleep schedules and techniques to help settle him so he feels safe and comfortable to sleep on his own.

 

He wakes usually at 5-6am, naps anywhere from 1.5-3 hours & is asleep by 8:30-9pm at night, but it just seems to be different everyday and I can't get him on a good schedule.

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#2 of 22 Old 09-27-2012, 03:21 PM
 
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Have you looked into food allergies or intolerances as the culprit?  A friend of mine's son had similar issues and years later they discovered that he was gluten intolerant and was in chronic pain.


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#3 of 22 Old 09-27-2012, 03:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes - we had also aways suspected this. Jaden's been Dairy and Wheat Free for most of his 2.5 years.

We recently introduced wheat again and things have stayed the same (no worse), but I still do think that Dairy may be an issue, so we are staying away from that although blood work and energy tests show that he's clear of allergens...I also know that sometimes it's not really accurate until kids are 3+years old as their immune systems are still developing.

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#4 of 22 Old 09-30-2012, 10:51 PM
 
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Is he really being rocked that whole time? Mine would never put up with that. I wonder if he needs more swinging type activities? Maybe he just doesn't need that much sleep?


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#5 of 22 Old 10-01-2012, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He rans back and forth between jumping into crib, lying down to jumping back up again and asking to be picked up and rocked. The back and forth process takes 1.5-2 hours.

We do have a park right accross the street and spend a couple of hours there everyday....but the final 30 min-1 hour at the end of getting him to sleep, is yes, rocking for that long....

He had really bad reflux till 16 months of age and bouncing and rocking are what comforted him....maybe it's all he knows?? But it's a LONG time to get him to settle....what do you do to settle yours and how long after lights out does your little one actually fall asleep?

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#6 of 22 Old 10-01-2012, 03:34 PM
 
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Curious what time you're starting this whole process to get him to sleep?  It sounds like he's the early bird type, so you probably want him asleep for the night by 7:30 or so assuming he naps a minimum of 1.5 hours in the day.  To me, that probably means starting bedtime at 6-ish, lights out at 6:45 or even earlier. He'd probably have to be awake from his nap by 2 at the latest to get this to work. 

 

But you didn't mention...what's his behavior like during the day?  Do you think he's just one of these kids that need less sleep, or does he seem tired/crazy all the time (i.e. you know he's running a major sleep deficit)?  If you do think he's seriously sleep deprived, I would definitely work on trying to get a consistent nap/wake up schedule.  And have a contingency plan for days that it doesn't work out right, to prevent him from getting even more sleep deprived (i.e. if he doesn't nap within a certain window, he misses out for the day but goes to bed an hour and a half earlier).

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#7 of 22 Old 10-03-2012, 01:27 PM
 
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You may want to consider other allergies...  Doris Rapp MD has a terrific book ...I think it's Is This My Child.  She gives advice on a total elimination diet in there and how to very slowly add things back in to watch for behavioral and physical symptoms, etc. that most don't thik to look for.  This book was the beginning of a HUGE difference in our lives....  maybe it can help you?  I don't recall what sleeping issues it covered but I'm pretty sure it did cover them.

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#8 of 22 Old 10-03-2012, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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To: Newmommalizzy

 

Yes - he IS the early bird type;) That's okay...I would be a lot happier with a 6am wake up then 4:30am-5am though....(especially with hours of wakefulness through the night)....sigh!

I took your advise tonight. Here's what we did:

Instead of going to the park after dinner with daddy and having lights out around 7:15-7:30pm, we had a 5:30pm dinner and quiet play with daddy till 6:10pm, then up to brush teeth, take a bath, get jammies on and say good night to daddy.

At 6:50pm we read our 2 books, then had a bottle of milk together in the rocker....I still needed to rock him as he didn't want to go in crib at all tonight but it's a first....he was asleep by 7:40pm!!!

That's about 1 hours earlier then usual....I am curious how the night will go and what his wake up time will be??? Let's see how it goes...

 

To answer you question on behavior - he is extremely tired during the day. We usually have to cancel play dates and miss appt/classes we are registered for because he's a zombie, but usually fights naps worse on those days and acts up A LOT...he's pretty hard to manage and I do really see a huge difference in his behavior on those rare night when he gets 9 hours of sleep.

 

What concerns me is that he can't seem to turn off....even tonight in the rocker he was constantly kicking his legs out, moving about and chattering away...then suddenly - poof...he's asleep....he goes from 100 to 0 in 1 second flat....seems like he's suddenly just taken over by sleep??? Have you heard of this or were your kids like that to. He never has just closed his eye's or layed down to rest...the tireder he is, the more hyper he gets - he has no off switch so even relaxing reading/massages are a challenge when he's jumping about.

 

Thanks for the tips and we will stick with a 6:45ish lights out for a few days and see how it goes.

Does anyone else have any tips?

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#9 of 22 Old 10-04-2012, 08:31 AM
 
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I took your advise tonight. Here's what we did:

Instead of going to the park after dinner with daddy and having lights out around 7:15-7:30pm, we had a 5:30pm dinner and quiet play with daddy till 6:10pm, then up to brush teeth, take a bath, get jammies on and say good night to daddy.

At 6:50pm we read our 2 books, then had a bottle of milk together in the rocker....I still needed to rock him as he didn't want to go in crib at all tonight but it's a first....he was asleep by 7:40pm!!!

That's about 1 hours earlier then usual....I am curious how the night will go and what his wake up time will be??? Let's see how it goes...

 

To answer you question on behavior - he is extremely tired during the day. We usually have to cancel play dates and miss appt/classes we are registered for because he's a zombie, but usually fights naps worse on those days and acts up A LOT...he's pretty hard to manage and I do really see a huge difference in his behavior on those rare night when he gets 9 hours of sleep.

 

What concerns me is that he can't seem to turn off....even tonight in the rocker he was constantly kicking his legs out, moving about and chattering away...then suddenly - poof...he's asleep....he goes from 100 to 0 in 1 second flat....seems like he's suddenly just taken over by sleep??? Have you heard of this or were your kids like that to. He never has just closed his eye's or layed down to rest...the tireder he is, the more hyper he gets - he has no off switch so even relaxing reading/massages are a challenge when he's jumping about.

 

 

No tips, but tons of commiseration!!! hug.gif  This is exactly how DS is - fights naps, hard to slow down - only as a night owl, it's all pushed to much later (except...he will finally pass out by midnight, only to be up on and off all night long, then get up at 5:30 am!).  We are also experimenting with cutting out (or cutting way back) on Daddy park time in the evening to get him to bed early.  Will be watching this thread for tips.  Good luck!


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#10 of 22 Old 10-04-2012, 03:20 PM
 
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To: Newmommalizzy

 

Yes - he IS the early bird type;) That's okay...I would be a lot happier with a 6am wake up then 4:30am-5am though....(especially with hours of wakefulness through the night)....sigh!

I took your advise tonight. Here's what we did:

Instead of going to the park after dinner with daddy and having lights out around 7:15-7:30pm, we had a 5:30pm dinner and quiet play with daddy till 6:10pm, then up to brush teeth, take a bath, get jammies on and say good night to daddy.

At 6:50pm we read our 2 books, then had a bottle of milk together in the rocker....I still needed to rock him as he didn't want to go in crib at all tonight but it's a first....he was asleep by 7:40pm!!!

That's about 1 hours earlier then usual....I am curious how the night will go and what his wake up time will be??? Let's see how it goes...

 

To answer you question on behavior - he is extremely tired during the day. We usually have to cancel play dates and miss appt/classes we are registered for because he's a zombie, but usually fights naps worse on those days and acts up A LOT...he's pretty hard to manage and I do really see a huge difference in his behavior on those rare night when he gets 9 hours of sleep.

 

What concerns me is that he can't seem to turn off....even tonight in the rocker he was constantly kicking his legs out, moving about and chattering away...then suddenly - poof...he's asleep....he goes from 100 to 0 in 1 second flat....seems like he's suddenly just taken over by sleep??? Have you heard of this or were your kids like that to. He never has just closed his eye's or layed down to rest...the tireder he is, the more hyper he gets - he has no off switch so even relaxing reading/massages are a challenge when he's jumping about.

 

Thanks for the tips and we will stick with a 6:45ish lights out for a few days and see how it goes.

Does anyone else have any tips?

 

Curious to know how the rest of the night went, Jadens-Mommy.  It would be amazing if you were just missing his sleep window and his overtiredness was causing him not to sleep.  My daughter sleeps very poorly when she's overtired, too.  She's also an early bird with an internal 6 a.m. alarm.  I've tried later bedtimes, but her wake-up time is just stuck.  If I want her to get enough sleep, she just has to be in bed by 6. Not ideal, but it's better than her not sleeping. 

 

The inability to turn off - that may be because he's overtired.  But my daughter's a lot like that, too.  She also has  never "just" fallen asleep, except when very sick, and supposedly relaxing things don't generally relax her.  I remember reading "put her in the crib when she's drowsy" and thinking, "Um.....drowsy?  Do babies get drowsy?"  I think some kids are just that way.  :)

 

Anyway, I hope you get some relief for yourself and your poor exhausted boy.  Keep us posted.

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#11 of 22 Old 10-05-2012, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay ladies....here's the update on night 2 of earlier bedtime.

 

Night 1

50 minutes to settle into sleep in rocker with me - asleep at 7:40pm.

Woke at 4am (yikes) and I had to hold him again in rocker till 5:30am when he passed out and I was able to bring him to my bed (wouldn't go in crib)

He then slept from 5:30am-6:15am.....all in all he got 9.25 hours of night sleep and 1.75 hours during the day = 11 hours in total

Total hours are good but still spent 3.75 hours that day in the rocker with him (naps, night and middle of the night) + .75 hours co-sleeping

 

Not sure is this is working yet....think we need to stick with it a few more days??

 

Day & Night 2

Napped 12:20pm-2:15pm (2 hours) but took me 1.25 hours to get him to sleep in rocker

1.25 hours to settle into sleep in rocker with me - asleep at 8pm.

Woke at 2am and I had to hold him again in rocker till 3am when he fell asleep and I was able to put him in his own crib.

He then slept until 5:15am and we stayed in rocker with me (totally awake and asking for milk) till 6am wake up time when we turned lights on.....night 2, he got 8.25 hours of night sleep and about 2 hours during the day = 10.25 hours in total

We spent 3.5 hours that day in the rocker with together to get him to settle to sleep (naps, night and middle of the night)

 

Not ideal for sure, but total hours are more....night 1 we headed upstairs at 6:10pm and night 2 at 6:20pm....tonights going to be a 6pm sharp and I'll update everyone in a couple of days.

If anyone reading this has more tips, please let me know....we would appreciate all the help we can get (and share:)

 

He's napping now...and I'm off for one too (nighty-night ladies:)

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#12 of 22 Old 10-05-2012, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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To: Pickle18

 

You must be so tired too - wow - sleep deprivation is so hard!

Let me know how is goes for you guys having a calmer evening and what is mean to you little ones sleep.

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#13 of 22 Old 10-05-2012, 10:09 AM
 
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This sounds like both my kids at this age, the wiredness, the fighting sleep, the never laying down on their own, the super early waking - and the answer was...brace yourself....dropping naps.  With a nap, they would log between 8--9 hours total sleep per 24 hours.  With no nap, they were up between 5:30-6am, but asleep by 7-ishpm, so an extra 2 hours.  We just changed our evening schedule so that we ate at 5:30, and they were in bed by 6:30 - yes, they didn't see my husband a lot during that time period, but sleep was the PRIMARY OBJECTIVE at that point, and they bonded with him at other times (mornings, weekends).  It was a short time frame (a year or so for each kid), and declining evening invitations to events/changing up our evening routine as worth it.    They were both always early risers as toddler/preschoolers, and were always on the low end of sleep needs. It's ummmmm....tiring. To say the least.  But I never thought of it as pathologic or something that needed to be diagnosed, just as something that needed to be managed and making changes in our routine and readjusting our expectations of "normal" was the key.  FWIW, they are both very bright, very energetic, inquisitive kids who we are relatively sure inherited DH's ADD, and all of those things add up to kids who are not impressed with the beautiful dreamland that is sleep.  lol.gif

 

We figured this out when they were taking 7+ hours after their nap before they were able to fall asleep for the night(3pm nap wake, 10pm bedtime)...BUT also weren't ready for a nap until 7+ hours after they woke up (5:30am wakeup, 1pm nap).  It was mathematically impossible for them to nap and log more than 8-9 hours a day.  

 

I know kids are "supposed" to nap up through preschool and even into Kindy for some, but mine were done with naps at 26 and 28 months, respectively, because otherwise they got so little sleep they were a mess.  Dropping naps for a 2-yo sounds crazy, but total net sleep increased remarkably in our house when we did.  I won't say that the 4pm-7pm "witching hours" were pretty at first, because they were not - keeping a cranky toddler/preschooler awake but calm and not overstimulating them while trying to get dinner and bedtime done was challenging at first.  But, through trial and error we figured out routines that helped it all work out. 

 

They are 8 and 6 now, and just last year was when they started sleeping in routinely past 6:30am.  

 

 

FWIW both of my kids have behavioral issues related to dairy, and artificial additives in foods.  Wheat is also a culprit for a lot of people.  

 

Good luck!!


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#14 of 22 Old 10-05-2012, 12:05 PM
 
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Jadens-Mommy - this sounds so much like our house lately!  I find it usually takes about 2 hours for DS to fall asleep AFTER we've run through the whole bedtime routine and lights out.  He gets in and out of bed, using the potty more, wants to nurse on the couch instead of in bed, plays quietly with toys (sometimes I can get him to bring some tiny trucks to bed, and we put them to sleep too - occasionally that helps, but not really any earlier than normal).

 

As I mentioned, we too deal with the early morning wake-ups - it can take anywhere from 2-3 hours to get him back to sleep for a bit later in the morning, but then that replaces his afternoon nap.  So he ends up with waaaay too little sleep total.  Today he woke up late morning (after falling asleep at 11:30 pm!), but hasn't yet taken a nap.

 

It is exhausting! caffix.gif I try to bear the brunt of it since DH works full-time, but he inevitably gets less sleep too (and we have zero alone time!).  I'm reading Sleepless In America right now to find tips on how to help him sleep.  Same author as Raising Your Spirited Child.  

 

Once again - hugs and good luck!!! hug2.gif  It sounds like you might be on the right track.  I just tried to take DS to the park a little while ago (we actually made it out at 1 pm, but I'd been trying for forever - he really locks into his lil "projects") for an hour to get him some sunlight and outdoor activity earlier in the day.  It doesn't seem to have helped, as he is still running wild, but I'm hoping he'll take a nap soon - he's been yawning since 1 pm and has dark circles under his eyes now but won't sleep *sigh*. 


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#15 of 22 Old 10-07-2012, 09:40 PM
 
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Not many kids are going to -want- to lay down in their bed and fall asleep unless they know it's the routine and know that is what they are supposed to do. The only way they can know that is if you dont spend hours rocking him to sleep. I get you that you don't want to CIO, ok, that's just one way to make this transition happen, but 2.5 years old, the kid -knows- he's getting what he wants (which is rocking and not having to fall asleep when he wants to). I say don't let -him- determine the bedtime routine... he's 2.5! He has no idea what to do and why he needs to do it. You need to pick a schedule, or pick a plan and stick with i e.g. bedtime routine is 30 minutes, after that no more rocking and just keep putting him back in bed so he knows what the routine is and the expectations are. Or whatever you want to do.... How can he ever know what he is supposed to do if you don't show him, nightly. The same routine every time. And not let him call the shots by not doing what you want him to do (which is always going to be the best decision for him).

 

One night it took my husband putting my daughter (25 months) back in bed OVER 100 times. But we picked our side and stuck to it - she needs to know bed is bed. Three days of that and now she sleeps from 7pm until 7am and doesn't ever wake up. She goes to bed within 15 seconds. I've timed it.
 

I'm not trying to be harsh but sometimes these boards don't advocate any other side besides a child-run decision making process but you know what? Their brain chemistry isnt -able- to choose correctly, they have no idea -why- they should do things and run on instincts and neurochemicals that are nowhere -near- ready for decisions like this. You can call it allergies or nap/no nap issues or whatever but a lot of times it's just that the kids don't know what is expected of them and don't have any capability of choosing correctly. Puberty in homo sapiens is12ish! That means 12 years of pre-programmed parental assistance is required to keep the species alive. This isn't like cats who can start having their own litters at 6 months old here... there is a loooong developmental sequence built-in genetically for our species. That means understanding that adults need to choose what is best for the child, not the other way around. Again, I'm honestly not trying to be harsh but some understanding of our species from a genetic and biological standpoint goes a long way.

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#16 of 22 Old 10-08-2012, 10:11 AM
 
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I'm gonna say that bedtimes were also a problem for us while DD was still napping.  We dropped naps around 18 mo.  She gets plenty of sleep without the nap and with the nap, naptime was a nightmare, going to bed was a nightmare.  It would take an hour or hour and a half to put her to sleep in both situations, with lots of screaming (while we held her, nursed her, etc) and when we dropped the nap suddenly everything got waaay easier and she began sleeping more.  There was a period of about a year where she was only really getting 10hrs a night, with no ill effects, but I recently began starting bedtime around 6:30 and she is now getting 12hrs a night which was something I never imagined would happen (7-7).

 

DD also kicks around and talks to herself and then suddenly falls asleep. 

 

Some kids are just tough sleepers pretty much no matter what you do.  But, I think graciegal has some good points about routine and expectation.  I find that careful observation of DD tells me which limits are reasonable and necessary for me to set, and then setting them and being firm about it gives her the structure to be able to do whatever she needs to do, including sleep well. 

 

Changing from rocking him to not rocking him will probably help with his sleep because then he can be more in charge of himself and his sleep..  Does that make sense?  As long as he has to be rocked, he is completely dependent on someone else to rock him, and at 2.5 that might be very frustrating for him (as I am sure it is for you to be up in the night rocking him). 

 

Transitioning to laying down in bed without movement would probably be helpful because even though he'll still need you there, he can have a little more control.  He may have some sensory issues that make that difficult and if his sleep cue is rocking and being held, maybe something like a heavy blanket might give a similar feeling as being held.  I'm not sure there is anything to give him that will simulate the motion of rocking.  And yeah, there will probably be tears.  If you are there with him, and he's verbal enough for you to explain to him why you are going to just lay in bed with him and hold him, that is not CIO.  He might not totally be able to understand this is good for him, be he will be able to know you are there with love and that you are doing this because it is good for him.  The crying is normal - of course he is going to feel upset and sad and confused that his routine is changing, and he is allowed to have those feelings.  It doesn't mean you are doing something wrong.  But yeah, the more predictable it is for them, the easier it is for them to do it. 


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#17 of 22 Old 10-09-2012, 06:26 PM
 
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Transitioning to laying down in bed without movement would probably be helpful because even though he'll still need you there, he can have a little more control. 

 

I'll note, as an early nap dropper, that by that point  both kids were in their own rooms in a twin bed and boxspring on the floor (DS went at about 20 months, DD was on a twin bed from 14 months on because she was found scaling her crib to climb INTO it and we freaked out about that so figured she was safer closer to the floor.  We'd lay with them to fall asleep, and then leave.  That continued until they were about 4, we'd be in the room with them.  At that point we were part time cosleeping, they would come in whenever they woke up after midnight-ish, and that was OK with us. We did have a "we'll lay with you as long as you're laying still, eyes closed, no talking/singing/making noises."  That was the limit we enforced, and that took a week or two to enforce of us leaving the room briefly and coming back in  (i'm talking like 15 seconds, and asking if they wanted to try again) until they realized that laying down/bedtime wasn't play/talk time.  

 

Sooo, there you go.  A little more detail on our logistics wayyy back when.  lol.


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#18 of 22 Old 10-10-2012, 11:08 AM
 
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I am in a rush so I haven't read the other responses so I apologie if someone has already mentioned this. We have a 3.5 year old much like this and we (approved by doc) have started to give him a tiny dose of melatonin to help him get to sleep and use BACHS sleep remedy to help him sleep (night terrors). It has been life changing for us and totally safe. You can just do the melatonin for a couple months to get him in the routine but the sleep remedy we have used for almost a year now and it helps him through those humps at night. Now he loves being in his own bed (used to sleep with us until age 3) and even now gets up in the middle of the night to pee and goes right back to sleep, truly a blessing!!

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#19 of 22 Old 10-10-2012, 11:21 AM
 
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How's it going, OP?

 

We have been up and down here.  I highly recommend Sleepless in America - it's got a lot of great ideas and tips, customized to your kid.  The only thing is, it takes a while to try it all out and see what helps.  We are in the middle of this now.  It talks about temperament, timing and tension - the former lists four traits that could keep your kid up and how to help them.  They include: intense, slow-to-adapt (transition issues), high energy, irregular schedule, and sensitive to environment/stimulation.  Well, no surprise here, DS has all five! duh.gif

 

Plus, it talks about things like parental stress (we are cutting back on this), developmental milestones (DS is hitting one at 18 months), and recent changes/events (DS was in the hospital a couple weeks ago, so that is likely not helping).  Even positive exciting things can keep them up.  So many variables!

 

Day before yesterday, DS took only a 30 minute cat nap and was MUCH easier to get to sleep at night.  Ditto yesterday, when he skipped his nap.  BUT he isn't yet making up the hours he misses by missing his nap AND he is still up every hour on the hour (at least!).  *sigh*

 

Today, he is napping, after getting up pretty early for him (8:15).  We'll see how this plays out.  Hope things are improving for you!


~ Lucky wife of DH blowkiss.gifand loving mama to DS biggrinbounce.gif (04/11) ~

 

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#20 of 22 Old 10-10-2012, 04:46 PM
 
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I don't agree that children need to have parents make all their decisions about sleep until they are 12. I think that maybe in a world that expects them to be in bed, alone, at a specific time every night (to get up for daycare, etc.), that perhaps that might be true. But I am positive that until very recently that was not what was expected of them, and in changing our expectations without changing their wiring, we are setting them up for failure. There are plenty of cultures that do not expect toddlers and preschoolers to be in bed at 7 pm alone for 12 hours. Indian culture, for example, tends to keep kids up pretty late, and when they do go to sleep, it is with the parents. I think if your child naturally awakes early, then you do need to at least lie down with them to help them get ready to sleep. Rocking for that long sounds like it isn't helping that much though. I would look into food allergies, and also sensory processing issues as well. Some kids are just super sensitive. Have you already put blackout curtains on the window in the room where he sleeps? Made sure that his sleeping clothes and blanket (if he has one) are comfortable and that the room isn't too hot or cold? Have you tried wearing him while you walk around the block to see if that helps more? When you say he is sleep-deprived, would you say that when he's overtired he gets more active?


Jen 47 DS C 2/03  angel.gif04/29/08/ DD S 10/28/09 DH Bill '97.

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#21 of 22 Old 10-10-2012, 07:36 PM
 
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Our daughter had great difficulty falling asleep and we went to a naturopathic doctor who recommended children's liquid melatonin. It tastes good too. We ended up trying a combination of things, so I'm not sure exactly what worked best.  But melatonin was part of it. 

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#22 of 22 Old 10-18-2012, 07:16 AM
 
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OP - how are things going?

 

I'm hesitant to type it, but things seem to be going ok here.  We've moved his bedtime up and his wake time, and he's napping more consistently (instead of dropping naps here and there).  We modified his bedtime routine by watching all the things he did AFTER he climbed out of bed in a frantic state (we realized he needed a bedtime snack, some water play, some quiet play with trucks in bed - and a new goodnight book about trucks helped alot, too!).

 

I still think alot of it is also teething/developmental, but hopefully we are in for smoother sailing (fingers crossed!).

 

Hope you've found some tools that work for you!


~ Lucky wife of DH blowkiss.gifand loving mama to DS biggrinbounce.gif (04/11) ~

 

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