REALLY STRUGGLING with 2-year-old and sleep. Anyone else? Any suggestions? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 10-17-2013, 05:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My 2 1/2 year-old ds has always struggled with sleep, however lately it has been totally unbearable.  He is so tired, and at nap or bed time, he just has a transformation, and won't stop acting crazy...jumping, wiggling, yelling, etc.  It often takes over an hour to get him to fall asleep, and by then I feel like my soul is just drained.  He does the same thing for my husband. Oh, and then he is awake by 6 am everyday.

We've tried lots of different things...extra exercise, lavender in the tub, music, making him lay in bed while reading books, only calm activities after dinner, changing bed time, etc.  Not matter what he just has this "transformation", and wakes up even more exhausted, and even more of a wreck.

I'm expecting another baby in February, and this is just totally exhausting!!

 

Anyone else experiencing anything similar?  Could this just be normal for a 2 yo?  Any suggestions to get him calm down at bed time?

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#2 of 15 Old 10-17-2013, 05:49 AM
 
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Have you tried cutting out or reducing his nap? I know nothing really helped my Ds2 until he was no longer napping. Now (thank God) he sleeps 10 hrs a night. I do remember him being pretty grouchy the first week or so of no napping ...then everything got sooo much easier. While he was taking a nap every day he would easily wake up 8 times a night and I was pregnant as well . It was exhausting to say the least.

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#3 of 15 Old 10-17-2013, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've considered it, but I really cherish that time for getting a few things done.  Were you able to get him to have down time or rest time?

Maybe I'll give it try.  Thanks!! :)

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#4 of 15 Old 10-17-2013, 06:50 AM
 
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What is bedtime? Mine get crazy just like that when OVERtired, if I put him down earlier he actually goes to sleep better and sleeps longer. I.e. If he doesnt get to bed until 9ish it takes forever to wind down and hes up at 6, but bed by 8 is generally quick and he will sleep til 7. I know you said you tried chamging bedtimes....maybe try an earlier time consistently for a while?

We do naps until around 3 1/2...maybe a slightly earlier nap would be shorter and allow him to be tired earlier at night?
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#5 of 15 Old 10-18-2013, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Generally bed time is 7:30.  We try to be done with books, back rubbing, etc., and out of the room by 7:30.  He doesn't stay in bed, and it's often 8:30 or 9 before he falls asleep.  We've tried naps at all different times.  The problem is that is always wakes up so early, 6am or earlier.

We did skip nap yesterday, and he was sound asleep by 7:15.  Up at 5:15 though, and super fussy today.  So, I gave in to nap time and he's been sleeping for almost 2 hours now.  We'll see how it goes tonight, and so on.

Do you have any great sleep music that you love or works for your kids?  Good ideas for part of your routine that helps your child calm down?

Thanks for your advice.

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#6 of 15 Old 10-18-2013, 05:43 PM
 
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Well, this could be totally wrong so take it with a grain of salt, but could there be something sensory going on?  We have a massively sensory seeking DS that sounds very similar.  He is a generally lousy sleeper and it takes about an hour for him to wind down.  While he does, he is insane, wild in bed. 

 

We realized a few things that help him calm down quicker.

1.  No sugar at all after 3 or 4.  I mean fruit or anything like that.

2. Make sure he has some protein for dinner.  At least something nice and solid to full him up.

3. Heavy work in the evening.  Not just exercise but lifting and pushing very heavy things.  Anything that offers a lot of resistance, for as long as he wants.  For us, the ideal is about an hour before bed time.

4. Something to push on as he calms down in bed.  We have a really heavy, big pillow that he likes.  He flops around with it, kicks and pushes.  It seems to act as an outlet for his need to wiggle. 

5. Let him get it out.  I used to really try to calm him down, only quiet music in the evening, nothing too high energy.  I don't care about any of that any more.  I actually feel like letting him run like a maniac or whatever he wants helps him calm down sooner.

 

Our DS is 4.5 now and things are SO much better so I really think for us it was just a thing he needed to do.  As he grows out of it, I've noticed he is basiclaly finding his own ways of calming his body down.

 

Not sure if that helps, but that's what we do :)

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#7 of 15 Old 10-18-2013, 06:00 PM
 
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We cut out naps when my son was 2.5 and though late afternoons were tough for 2-3 weeks, bedtime was better than it had EVER been. We would just play outside or do something active when DS hit that sleepy time around 3-4 pm.

Maybe you could try no naps for 2 weeks and. see how it goes? The first few days will be hard while your LO is adapting but if it's right, it will work out fine. If your LO keeps struggling with it then he's not ready.

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#8 of 15 Old 10-18-2013, 07:34 PM
 
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I second the sensory part - sometimes that can really help (the only time I turn to lullaby music is if I can see he's resting, nursing, right there on the edge of sleep and needs a little help).  That said, with my 2.5 year old - it's just been a looong phase of dropping the nap.  First, he'd skip it once a week, then a few times, now most days.  But if he does nap now, he won't sleep until 2 or 3 am.  If he doesn't nap, he gets wild in the late afternoon/evening until he crashes - sometimes it's early (6-7) and he's also often up early. He also wakes in the middle of the night sometimes now (usually because he has to pee) and is up for a good chunk (2-4 hours).

 

It's a really rocky time - I think their sleep hormones are regulating and they are transitioning their rhythms.  Unfortunately, that just takes alot of ups and downs and early bedtimes and late bedtimes and sometimes naps, sometimes not, and crazy evenings of tasmanian devil time (climbing on us, jumping on the bed, kicking pillows, running around the house, etc. really do seem to help him "get it out").

 

Maybe not what you'd hoped to hear. :)  I don't think there is a magic pill, though - just takes time to iron out the wrinkles. Hang in there! :hug


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#9 of 15 Old 10-19-2013, 05:05 AM
 
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I have to hold my nearly two year old until she fells asleep, as in a really tight bear hug. She struggles and cries, but she WILL NOT sleep without it. I think she needs the deep pressure ...


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#10 of 15 Old 10-19-2013, 05:42 PM
 
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Does he tend to wake up early no matter what?  (Like, what is the latest time he will ever sleep til, no matter how awful or good the night?)  If it's 6 or 7 a.m., it might make sense to try to have him ASLEEP by 7:30, which may mean being done with bedtime routine by 6:30, depending on how long it takes him to fall asleep.   Sometimes, during the transition away from napping, the numbers just don't add up, unfortunately.  They need, say, 7 or 8 hours from one sleep to the next, making for a 14 - 16 hour day and a grouchy kid. I've heard some people have success with creating a "napping window," and if he hasn't napped within that window, you just skip it for the day and put him to bed a bit earlier than usual.  Then you don't get into the late nap/even later bedtime issue.

 

I second, though, the advice about not necessarily doing soothing things at bedtime.  I remember coming on here for sleep help for my DD when she was a baby.  I mentioned that she would fall asleep dancing in my arms to "Best of Queen."  People were all, like, um, duh, you're supposed to do soothing things at bedtime.  But that just wasn't the answer for my kiddo.  I had to meet her at her energy level. 

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#11 of 15 Old 10-20-2013, 11:39 AM
 
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We also have cranked up the music for a pre-bed dance party to let out the last of the crazies, which leads to a quick nurse and out cold, vs the nursing and *hoping* she falls asleep and if not, hoping she goes into her bed without a fuss and will play with her little toys til she's ready to give in and sleep.  Definitely getting the routine done earlier helps.  I was keeping her up past her initial wind down time because DH would be on his way home from work and wanting to spend time with her, but I finally had to say sorry dear, she needs to be in bed sooner.  I try to have dinner done by 6 - 630 latest, followed by bath, and have her ready to nurse down by 7, which means asleep by 715 on the rare lucky nights, but 8 works too. We're not inflexible though and this is really my ideal schedule, not the one that happens all the time.  Last night, no idea what got into her but it was after 10 before she was finally asleep :dizzy  and she was still up once around 1am then awake by 730.

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#12 of 15 Old 10-20-2013, 02:40 PM
 
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Hiya,

 

I've just updated the thread I started on a similar issue:

 

http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1383675/changing-routine-to-preserve-the-last-nap

 

You can see that I've finally had to face facts...though it didn't stop me persevering, and persevering....AND persevering!! In fact, as I wrote in that thread, I still put her in bed for her quiet time, but only because she can't escape. She is happy though, if she weren't we'd stop. Stopping even the bed quiet time is somewhere in the near future for us...and I'm dreading it. Strong word dread, but although the time apart is just a mere hour or hour and a half if I'm lucky...I need it so much. Not only to work (I work from home) but to recharge my exhausted self for the rest of the chaotic day.

 

I'm not sure what I'm going to do when she is finally ever-present.

It's a very tricky one.

 

I have unfortunate visions of using the television to babysit - but we already let her watch 45mins a day of selected video's...and I think that is too much. I want to resist taking the lazy television option.

I need to read more threads and opinions about how people get their kids to do any sort of non-interactive quiet time. I fear it might be impossible wishful thinking for us and our 'needs an audience, needs constant interaction' kiddie.

 

As for grumpiness. Well - ours is crazy grumpy at the mo (3 years, 2 months) - and I do put it down to less sleep. She was getting 12.5 when I started my thread earlier in the year...then it went to 12 in 24, and now, shockingly, sometimes she will get less than 11 hours a night, which I'm certain is not enough for her. Yesterday she took her second nap of the whole month, and it was for two hours. Obviously making up for weeks of sleep debt I think. I do hope she goes back to sleeping for a little longer.

She is also waking crazy-early some mornings (4.30 three mornings ago - now, that is just not cool at all).

 

GOOD LUCK!

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#13 of 15 Old 10-20-2013, 02:54 PM
 
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This thread is very timely for me- my 28 month old DS is having a lot of trouble adjusting to having a new sibling, and by far our worst crisis right now involves bed and nap time. I've always held him and cuddled until he's out, and now he's a night time wild man. He thrashes and yells and wiggles and wants to jump all over the place- sometimes clearly over tired but super wired. And often now I've got the baby in my arms so it's different for him and almost unmanageable for me. Bedtime used to take about 30 min, simetmes longer, but now it is at least a 1-2hour process and it's killing me. I've lost my patience a few times and I've even considered leaving him alone to CIO. That's what DP would like to do but I feel like quitting our routine cold turkey would do more harm than good.
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Originally Posted by fizgig View Post

Well, this could be totally wrong so take it with a grain of salt, but could there be something sensory going on?  We have a massively sensory seeking DS that sounds very similar.  He is a generally lousy sleeper and it takes about an hour for him to wind down.  While he does, he is insane, wild in bed. 

We realized a few things that help him calm down quicker.
1.  No sugar at all after 3 or 4.  I mean fruit or anything like that.
2. Make sure he has some protein for dinner.  At least something nice and solid to full him up.
3. Heavy work in the evening.  Not just exercise but lifting and pushing very heavy things.  Anything that offers a lot of resistance, for as long as he wants.  For us, the ideal is about an hour before bed time.
4. Something to push on as he calms down in bed.  We have a really heavy, big pillow that he likes.  He flops around with it, kicks and pushes.  It seems to act as an outlet for his need to wiggle. 
5. Let him get it out.  I used to really try to calm him down, only quiet music in the evening, nothing too high energy.  I don't care about any of that any more.  I actually feel like letting him run like a maniac or whatever he wants helps him calm down sooner.

Our DS is 4.5 now and things are SO much better so I really think for us it was just a thing he needed to do.  As he grows out of it, I've noticed he is basiclaly finding his own ways of calming his body down.

Not sure if that helps, but that's what we do smile.gif

These are some great ideas- we are going to try some of this! Thanks!

chicken3.gif mama to two teens and two tots partners.gif madly in love with DP guitar.gif

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#14 of 15 Old 10-20-2013, 03:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennyanydots View Post

This thread is very timely for me- my 28 month old DS is having a lot of trouble adjusting to having a new sibling, and by far our worst crisis right now involves bed and nap time. I've always held him and cuddled until he's out, and now he's a night time wild man. He thrashes and yells and wiggles and wants to jump all over the place- sometimes clearly over tired but super wired. And often now I've got the baby in my arms so it's different for him and almost unmanageable for me. Bedtime used to take about 30 min, simetmes longer, but now it is at least a 1-2hour process and it's killing me. I've lost my patience a few times and I've even considered leaving him alone to CIO. That's what DP would like to do but I feel like quitting our routine cold turkey would do more harm than good.
These are some great ideas- we are going to try some of this! Thanks!

 

I saw your other thread, but didn't feel I was qualified to answer (sorry you got no timely replies).

 

It's so difficult this whole raising children business, because all children and parents and the subsequent family dynamics / habits / routines / desires, are all so different!

My only advice would be to maybe pick the thing that irks (and tires you out) the most about your current 'routine', and work gently on changing that one thing. If it's the rocking...maybe read up on alternatives (though it sounds like you probably have already) and try one or two that feel comfortable to you.

 

This is a hugely unpopular stance, but we have had to let our girl CIO - or a modified form of that - a couple of times in her short life. Three times actually, which equates to once a year. It was a last resort, and each time worked almost straight away - i.e. after a couple of nights. But there are so many caveats I would need to add to that, that I'd be here all day explaining it all. Essentially, she has always slept independently of us for one thing...and from very early on I had not parented her to sleep, so she was used to 'putting herself' to sleep. Yes...I could go on and on, except I will just say that we visited her during these CIO times so she was not abandoned, and the most she ever cried was about an hour.

 

I don't recommend it if you have other gentler alternatives, and especially if your kiddie is used to such intimate and gentle bedtimes at the moment, but I did want to throw it out there that some people do CIO, and it's not a heartless disaster. As parents we were on the brink those three times having tried everything we could think of. It was distressing - but it also worked, and quickly, and we got our 'good' (that's so relative that term) sleeper back. Different story if you're starting off with a not-so good sleeper perhaps, and also have lots of other habits and routines in place.

 

Exercise seems key to us too - but so does some balance in the day. I carefully monitor our LO, and when she seems verging on melting down...we have a story, or five or ten if need be! She needs regular recharging to make it through the day...but is still often a bit manic pre-and-post dinner and seems to find extra energy. We have a long story wind down after a bath...and I guess because she is used to it now, she accepts it's bedtime and will play for a few minutes and go to sleep.

However, she is still in a crib/cot, and can't go mental and escape. Talk to me again when she's in a big bed!

 

 

One last little thought is you could try asking HIM what you could do to make bedtime a bit shorter and better (or whatever you want to achieve). I regularly now ask my girl her thoughts, and/or ask her to help solve a problem that we might have. She is surprisingly creative about it sometimes, and the great thing is that if she has a part in it...she often remembers the new rule or routine or thing (like an elephant) and reminds ME how it's all meant to go. Worth a try?

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#15 of 15 Old 10-20-2013, 05:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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He's pretty much been waking up between 5-6 for the last few weeks.  We've been doing no naps for the past few days, except once because he was a wreck, and today he actually slept til 7! Woohoo.  He did wake up to pee at 4 though.  Potty training is still new, and it did seem to coincide with this sleep drama.  Maybe related?  Bedtime has been a breeze though since no naps, just difficult evenings.

He was so grouchy this evening, that I might try nap tomorrow, and maybe just do no naps when his craziness starts up again.  Idk, I'm so not good at being consistent. 

 

Thanks everyone for all your replies.  It's been really helpful.  I'm sorry I don't have any great advice for the rest of you with sleep issues, but it does make me feel better that I'm not the only one.  We're expecting another baby in Feb, so hopefully we can have something figured out by then.  I'm sure that will be the beginning of new issues though :)

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