My 2 year old DS needs to be swaddled still to go to sleep or he just.. won't. I've tried just having him lay down and rub his back, let him tucker himself out, use the rocking chair, etc. but nope, swaddling is the only thing that'll put him to sleep(minus his car seat...) is this normal? Fine?
Wife to DH (12.10.2009), Anchorage based doula , Proud mama to Autumn (09.03.2008), Sylas (04.25.2010), (06.11.2012), Calliope(04.23.2013) .
Heather , momma to ' Parker- 10, Carlee- 7 and our baby Genevieve Faith - 8-27-10
Unusual? Probably. A big deal in the scheme of things? Probably not.
I say if it's working, don't fix it. Toddlers love their bedtime rituals, and if it results in everyone getting sleep, by all means, go with it.
Besides, kids change a lot from 2-3. A lot of the holdovers from infancy disappear during this age, so he may grow out of it. And if not, there's definitely worse things to worry about.
You could try a weighted blanket at night (http://www.kozieclothes.com/sensory/weighted-blankets). My son used to have proprioceptive (among other sensory) issues, so we had him wearing weighted belts, compression vests, etc. and the calming effects of these items was remarkable. You could consult an occupational therapist for the proper weight for the blanket for your son's size. You can make your own using those plastic pellets people use to add weight to stuffed animals and bean bags. There are several tutorials online.
The pressure on the body can have a calming effect, which is why he may need it to fall asleep at night. That could also explain why the seatbelts and the pressure of being strapped in his carseat helps him to fall asleep too. It might help to pour Epsom salts in his bath before bed, as that can be calming to the central nervous system. It may or may not work, but could be worth a shot.
Other options might be joint compressions where you push the joints together. Here's a great site for video demonstrations: http://sensoryandmore.com/2011/08/11/joint-compressions/ I also recommend the brushing technique as well that is mentioned. We purchased the same brush that the lady in the video is using from the therapy place my son attended.
Best to you and your son!
Just wanted to mention that my 2.5 year old has slept in a kids' size mummy bag by Kelty for the past 4 months since we went camping. I suspect sensory sensitivies in her, also, and it's amazing how well she took to this sleeping bag. Might be another option for the future.