Nap time, bed time problems - PLEASE help! - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-07-2012, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi

I am desperate for advice.

My 22 mo old (high needs) DD will not go to sleep at nap or bed time without a fight. Hours of crying, demands for food or water. She seems tired probably overtired, lots of day time tantrums, but I can't seem to break the cycle. I try to get her to nap or bed earlier and get more screaming & protests. I move them later and she naps for over 3 hrs and then she won't go to bed at night till 10:30 sometimes. she does seem happier on those days though. If I wake her up early and I have a cranky kid who tantrums the rest of the day.
 
Just yesterday I let her skip her nap entirely, and she was a happy (though crazy) kid the rest of the afternoon. Then at bedtime she put up a little fight, though not nearly as bad. And she feel asleep at 7pm. Also, she had less tantrums that day and today. Today she was up around 7am. took a nap from 1:30-3pm. we started bedtime routine at 6:30 and she is still awake at 9:35. Lights have been out and room has been quiet since 7:30. Most of the time our bedtime routine runs as long as 2 hours trying to get her to sleep- we rock her, we read books, we sing, we sit there quietly, i put on the dr. karp cd.  But my husband and I are tired of spending so much of our evening just trying to get her to sleep. what are we doing wrong? should we just put on a movie and let her run around the house till she crashes at 10 or 11 at night?

 

Is this just a stage? Is it better to let her skip her naps ( I don't feel ready for this)? It seems almost like she is putting up a fight just to assert her will - could this be the issue? I am so lost here. I don't do CIO but when she has a tantrum I let it run it's course. I was thinking of trying that super nanny approach where you sit quietly in the room and basically ignore them till they fall asleep and slowly work your way out of the room. Any advice?

TIA

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Old 12-10-2012, 06:37 PM
 
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I don't have a lick of advice. I've been running into similar troubles with my 27mo. I'll be interested in learning from the responses!lurk.gif


Mama to baby girl, born 9/10; expecting baby #2 4/13.

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Old 12-10-2012, 06:51 PM
 
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We've been trying the Super Nanny method for months -- we're still stuck sitting in their room for hours. As soon as we step out of their door, if they're still awake, their up and making trouble again. Sorry, I have no advice, but did want to share what's NOT working for us.

P.S. I recently watched the Samuel L. Jackson reading of "Go the F*ck to Sleep" on YouTube, and it didn't solve our problems, but it gave me a good laugh and made me feel a little better about life orngbiggrin.gif

Love my 3 boys! joy.gif
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Old 12-10-2012, 10:26 PM
 
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I don't have a lick of advice. I've been running into similar troubles with my 27mo. I'll be interested in learning from the responses!lurk.gif

Same here, DS (27m) typically goes to sleep 1030 - 1100pm at night. I came on the forum to ask for advice getting him on to an earlier routine. His norm, is to wake up on his own in the morning (Grandma comes to our house to watch him) around 900 - 930am.

 

I am the one that stays up with him at night and get up early for work, so it's tough on me.  Occassionally he needs to get up early with me, to drop him off at Grandma's. Soon he will need to go with me early in the morning 1-2 times a week.

 

We have tried waking him earlier (8am) but he tends to be cranky. We have skipped naps (not purposely, he just didn't get his nap). If no nap, he does go down early, but he is also over-tired in the evening and a bear to deal with.

 

Since he still naps for 2-3 hours, I feel he needs his naps. I don't know if it's best to keep waking him early, hoping he will eventually convert to an earlier schedule. It seems his magic sleep-time is 1030 - 1100p.


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Old 12-11-2012, 01:42 AM
 
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Also not much advice just chiming in to sympathize as we are in the same exact boat. DS is 2 1/2 and same story. I don't know who Super Nanny is but I do use the approach of just sort of tuning out and laying there and let him do his thing til he's ready to come to bed. It doesn't help me feel any better as I end up spending hours in there and usually fall asleep before he does and get just as annoyed as with any other approach. I do sometimes say to him tha I need a break and I'm going in the other room and he is not to come in there and bother me until he's ready for lights out and story time (I tell him stories in the dark as he falls asleep). Sometimes that works and either I get a nice break while he just plays quietly alone, or he will come in within a few minutes and be ready for bed. Sometimes though it doesn't work and he gets real upset if I leave and I am not wanting to do a CIO type thing so I go back in then. In general though I feel so incredibly lost around bedtime, we have tried everything. Even on days he doesn't nap he's still usually up til at least 9:30. This is the most frustrating part of parenting right now, as has been going on for months. I wish I had some good advice but I don't I am just as stuck and annoyed as you. I wish us all luck and at least I can say for sure: this too shall pass. grouphug.gif
 


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Old 12-12-2012, 03:18 PM
 
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You may have already tried some of these, but here's a few ideas I've tried myself:

 

Very structured daily routines during the daytime (where things happen in the same order and are utterly predictable).

 

Lots of exercise/outdoor time (wear 'em out)

 

Very unstimulating environment (low lighting/noise levels) during the last hour or two that you want her awake.

 

Very unstimulating sleep environment (If you haven't already, remove all toys from her bedroom so there's nothing to play with).

 

I wouldn't let her run around the house (too annoying, and it won't help the sleep issue), but my son went through a stage around 18-34 months where he just wanted to run around his room for hours and fall down in bed over and over...so I just let him.  He was happy doing that, it was totally safe (there was nothing in there for him to hurt himself with) and eventually he'd pass out.  A lot easier than insisting he go to sleep. 

 

Is this just a stage? Maybe.  But some kids are just like that...period.

 

Is it better to let her skip her naps?  Maybe, some kids stop napping at like 18 months.  But then again, maybe not.  You could try a day here and a day there and see if those days are better, and assess whether you think it's worth phasing out naps or keeping them.  Also, in lieu of naps, you could do quiet time.
 
It seems almost like she is putting up a fight just to assert her will - could this be the issue? You say she's high needs, is she generally willful about everything else in her life, or just this?  Because most kids (even the most docile ones around) are real ornery about going to bed.
 
I was thinking of trying that super nanny approach where you sit quietly in the room and basically ignore them till they fall asleep and slowly work your way out of the room. You could try that, but it never worked for me at all.  If I was in the room, it was party time with mom, so he would get more amped up, rather than less, and of course mine always woke up whenever you tried to leave, so it was pointless to waste the time staying in there.
 

Don't know if any of that helps at all, but those are my thoughts.  Bedtime and toddlers are a difficult proposition even in the best of times.

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Old 12-12-2012, 10:50 PM
 
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I'm a fan of the "you don't have to go to sleep, but you need to stay in your room" approach. We bought lights that are easy to turn on and off so that each of our kids could turn the lights off on their own. DS (now 5) wasn't quite 2 when we started that. He used to look at books and would eventually fall asleep. DD (3 in Feb) tends to lie there staring off into space shrug.gif , and sometimes we'd find her asleep in the middle of her floor. When that would happen, we'd pick her up and put her in bed, but that hasn't happened in a while. I know there were times when she was out of bed, but she not only made it back into bed to go to sleep, but she tucked herself in as well.

 

What does your DD sleep in? DD hated her crib at a very early age (she only slept in it a handful of times...), so we switched to a floor bed. It made the whole "tucking herself in" possible, and it seemed to make things more comfortable for everyone, most importantly: her. She still cries every so often about an hour after she's been asleep. I go into her room, hug her and let her know that I'm there, and I ask her if I can stay for a few minutes. That calms her down quickly for some reason. If five minutes pass and she's still awake, I'll tell her that my few minutes are up, but I'll be back to check in on her. I do follow up on that, and sometimes she's still awake when I do, so she knows that I really do come back.

 

At bedtime, I concede on things that are inconsequential to me, for instance, for some reason it's a big deal for her if she can keep her door open. We can let that happen in our house (although I know not everyone's situation is the same as mine), so I let her feel that control over the bedtime routine by asking her if she'd like to keep her door open. Sometimes she'll ask before I do, and regardless, the answer is yes, though I am the one who determines how far open it can be. When we're done reading our bedtime books, I then ask her, "Do you want me to stay with you for one more minute or for two more minutes?" (The choices could easily be 5 or 10 minutes, but I became greedy with my me-time a while back.) She gets to feel control by getting to choose, and I'm only committed to one or two minutes. A few times she answered with "Two... HOURS!" (lol), but I responded with my usual, "you can choose one minute or two minutes. If you can't choose, I'll choose for you." Both DD and DS know how that usually goes. On the nights when she seems like she might be troubled with my impending departure, after she chooses the two minutes (she always chooses two minutes), I'll ask her if she'd like to hold hands too, which she does. One of the things I learned with all of this is that once the choices have been made, I need to do my part and hold her to those choices so she understands what her decisions mean. After two minutes, we're done. She's almost always awake when I leave her room and sees that when she chooses two minutes, she gets two minutes. If she's upset, I'll tell her I'll be back in 10 minutes to check on her, that she doesn't have to go to sleep, but she needs to stay in her room. We did this a lot at first.

 

One last thing... DS was an amazing napper. He could take two naps and still be in bed at his normal time and wake up at a good time the next morning. DD... oh no. No no no. We learned early on that powering through and skipping naps is the best course of action for her (and us). Yes, somedays she'll be cranky in the evening, but it's totally worth it compared to taking that nap and struggling at bedtime (which is between 7:30 and 8). That said, there have been times when she put herself down for naps (once I found her in my own bed tucked under the covers and everything), but usually when that happened, bedtime was surprisingly uneventful. I suppose she knew she needed the rest.

 

Best of luck to you with all this. Sorry for the long post. Every kid is different (even within the same family!), so I hope you find what works for you and your DD!

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Old 12-13-2012, 09:04 PM
 
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I just wanted to suggest Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution for toddlers if you haven't already checked that out. It has lots of suggestions with tons of different ideas and tools to try out and see what works best for your child. With my daughter (who turned three in October), we gave up naps a few months before her third birthday. I felt it was time because if she took a nap, she went to bed much later and with such a battle. It took a couple weeks for her to adjust completely, though. She still had a lull in the afternoon, but that was far more bearable than the bedtime fight. I also tried to take it easy for those first few days with no nap, so she wouldn't be too exhausted. She transitioned well, and I was very grateful to have done it. The book I mentioned has a good section on assessing whether your toddler is ready to give up their nap. Good luck, and I HTH!!
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:35 PM
 
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DS (24mo) is/was *exactly* the same way.  High needs, never a great sleeper.  He fights napping so hard that sometimes it's 3 or 4 before he finally succumbs, then he's awake until 10 or 11 at night.  He resists falling asleep to the blue bitter end.  His eyes will roll back and he'll lift his eyebrows to try to keep his eyelids open, and he's even used his fingers to hold his eyes open before!

 

We did the structured routine thing for a while, but it wasn't working.  It was just more opportunity for him to resist.  Once we started the routine it was instant meltdown, no matter how early or late we started it.  Instead, we dim the lights after dinner and try to keep the play pretty quiet.  DS, like most high-energy kids, does NOT get worn out, and the advice to run them ragged will backfire on you.  Rough housing, physical play, time at the park - no amount will ever wear him out, and will only rev him up.  So we keep the house quiet and dim, and when I sense him getting tired I just go get into the bed and he'll eventually follow and nurse.  From there, it's still another 30-60 minutes before he's actually asleep.

 

This week, it seems that he's starting to drop his nap.  We had two no nap days, then two nap days, then today was a no nap day.  Honestly, the no nap days are so much easier.  He goes to bed at 8, falls asleep in less than ten minutes, and still wakes up around the same time (8a).  




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Old 12-14-2012, 01:44 AM
 
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I agree with spending time outdoors each day in the sunlight, even if it's cool out. Just going for a quick walk to the mailbox and back. Have you tried using some type of white noise? My 3 y o sleeps to that usually, but not always.


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Old 12-14-2012, 08:38 AM
 
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The No Cry Sleep Solution book is great and is what our pediatrician recommends too.

 

But I have to admit that it doesn't work real well right now for our DD, who is usually a terrible sleeper...she is really sensitive to physical discomfort and has not slept through the night consistently since she started teething at about 8 months (she's 15 months now). :(  But on the rare occasions when nothing bothers her, she is very good about going to sleep, thanks (I think) to some no-cry sleep training we did when she was really little. 

 

I also have to admit that even though I know taking a nap at 6 means that she won't go to bed till 10, on days when she hasn't been able to sleep at all due to teething or illness, I let my DD take a nap at 6.  Sometimes that half hour of sleep is the difference between me tearing my hair out and all of us having a pleasant evening.


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Old 12-14-2012, 11:19 AM
 
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Some PPs mentioned saying, "You have to go to your room for an hour, but you don't have to sleep," and that is the thing that has Changed My Life.

 

Here's how we did it. I'm writing this because I feel like people make it sound like they just put their kid in there and shut the door and they magically sleep. That would never work for my kid.

 

I bought the Winnie the Pooh audio books by Peter Dennis for his 2nd birthday, and put them on an old ipod.

 

I took him to his room after lunch (this would be at about ... 26 months). I said, "I need you to stay in here for ten minutes. I'll come check on you halfway through. I'm going to put the pooh story on for you to listen to."

 

I set a timer and was 100% faithful about checking on him in the middle.

 

Each day, I added 2 minutes. 

 

Once I got to 60 minutes total, I started moving the "check in" point later by one minute every day. Once it got past 40 minutes, he started falling asleep before I checked on him, most days. He'll often sleep for an hour or more (!). 

 

My son has always been a sleep-resistor. For his first year, he never slept more than 45 mins at a time during the day and 2 hours at a time at night. Now, like magic, he puts himself down for his nap. He even does better at bedtime.

 

It's amazing and wonderful. He actually looks forward to "rest time!"


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Old 12-14-2012, 04:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nilatti View Post

Some PPs mentioned saying, "You have to go to your room for an hour, but you don't have to sleep," and that is the thing that has Changed My Life.

 

Here's how we did it. I'm writing this because I feel like people make it sound like they just put their kid in there and shut the door and they magically sleep. That would never work for my kid.

 

I bought the Winnie the Pooh audio books by Peter Dennis for his 2nd birthday, and put them on an old ipod.

 

I took him to his room after lunch (this would be at about ... 26 months). I said, "I need you to stay in here for ten minutes. I'll come check on you halfway through. I'm going to put the pooh story on for you to listen to."

 

I set a timer and was 100% faithful about checking on him in the middle.

 

Each day, I added 2 minutes. 

 

Once I got to 60 minutes total, I started moving the "check in" point later by one minute every day. Once it got past 40 minutes, he started falling asleep before I checked on him, most days. He'll often sleep for an hour or more (!). 

 

My son has always been a sleep-resistor. For his first year, he never slept more than 45 mins at a time during the day and 2 hours at a time at night. Now, like magic, he puts himself down for his nap. He even does better at bedtime.

 

It's amazing and wonderful. He actually looks forward to "rest time!"


Nilatti, I love this idea. 

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Old 12-15-2012, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much much for the advice and support. I'm going to try it all. Also, I am reading Sleepless in America and it has a lot of good tips. I also think some of her sleep resistance could come from food/GI issues, so we are investigating that too.
 

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