making bedtime easier . . . - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 07-16-2014, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
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making bedtime easier . . .

So, we had a great routine going, pretty much flawless. But after some vacationing and a longer separation from dad, my 2.5 year-old is throwing a curveball at bedtime - refusing to get in bed most of the time, kicking the covers off and then asking me to put them on (then kicking them off again and again), saying "I want . . . " and trailing off so that I am standing there endlessly listening for the rest of the sentence, interrupting our bedtime song to say he wants water, but it is right next to his head. It doesn't work anymore to say "you can lie down all by yourself or I can put you down and pull the covers up for you." It's just not working! I have tried a bit to tell him that his dad is here to stay and I am not going to leave (he was worried about that, too), but I don't know how to address those underlying fears, especially when he is really focused on kicking the sheets, jumping off of things (then bumping his head), etc.

I think it might help to take a step back and give him more decision-making power in the bedtime routine, but I still want him to get enough sleep. Sometimes, if I don't push my bedtime agenda, he asks to go to sleep. Would you leave it up to your toddler to tell you when to put him to sleep? Or are there other ways to give some power over? I was thinking of making a poster of the bedtime routine, with choices at some of the steps for him. I don't know.

Does anyone have any ideas for me? I feel like the way we are doing it now is not working and he's feeling my irritation, rather than getting his needs met.
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#2 of 8 Old 07-18-2014, 01:04 PM
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Hi there, I'm so sorry that I've no advice. I'm struggling hugely here with my DS (2yr7mon). It's been particularly tough for about 2 months. I wonder if this is a stage that a lot of toddlers go through???? It's so hard! You are not alone.
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#3 of 8 Old 07-18-2014, 03:19 PM
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It may take some time. I would go through your routine so he knows what to expect (from repetition, not a poster). I didn't have separation issues but I think that with any routine in your home you need to stick to it even if it takes awhile for everyone to feel OK with it. What I did do was to stick a routine that included checking in 20-30 min after bedtime to see if the child was asleep or wanted to talk & needed reassurance. I kept this a brief, positive check. Try to focus not on what the change has been but what the new routine will be and demonstrate that it's happy and safe for everyone in the household.
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#4 of 8 Old 07-22-2014, 05:37 AM
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Try to focus not on what the change has been but what the new routine will be and demonstrate that it's happy and safe for everyone in the household.
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#5 of 8 Old 08-04-2014, 10:36 AM
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I am so glad I'm not alone on this one! My son is 2yrs 5months and has recently been asking for us to lay on the floor next to his bed.
I feel bad because our bedroom is up two sets of stairs, and I guess he just wants to be where everyone else is. I have taken him into
our bed a couple of times, but don't want this to become a habit. I've got some new fun sheets/pillows coming, in hopes that will be
an additional comfort. For my situation, is it still best not to close the door? I worry about him going up and down 2 flights of stairs, and
am not sure what the safest course of action would be. Any advice would be appreciated!
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#6 of 8 Old 08-04-2014, 03:59 PM
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My first child's bedtime was extremely hard for everyone in the family. She was a horrible sleeper from the time of birth to about 3 yrs old. I felt like I tried everything; leaving me crying and frustrated every night. My second child was a born sleeper. He was wonderful to put to bed. I suppose the best advice I can give is find a routine and stick to it and your little guy will adapt over time. I think that a poster is a great idea. Maybe not so much letting him decide, but just a visual to know what happens next. Dinner, bath time, jammies, brushing teeth, a book which he could pick out, a song, hug and kiss, then lights out. Perhaps a reward the next day if he goes to bed successfully; like a morning book, or picking what he eats for breakfast etc. But the best thing for him is a firm, loving routine that does not change. I think that kids thrive on routine! Maybe you could set a timer for talking time, like five minutes or so... you could tell him that you will check on him in ten minutes after cover up...

Oh and I don't know if you've ever seen the "moon in my room" nightlight; it is super cool. It is a moon that hangs on the wall and has a remote control to set the moon to one of the eight stages the moon goes through. You can find it for about $20 at toys r us, and if you are looking to give him control with something that may be an option. My son got one for Christmas and falls asleep just about every night with the remote in his hand. He really enjoys picking out which moon he will have for the night. You could end the night with a kiss and hug and hand him his remote to pick his moon and slip out of the room. However you do it, I totally understand how hard bedtime can be! Good luck Mama!

Breezy married to my sweetie pie David With two beautiful children that love each other very much and a beautiful baby girl who just arrived on October 31st, 2014!

Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.

-Benjamin Franklin

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#7 of 8 Old 08-06-2014, 04:44 AM
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well, i completely understand, my DD is 2.5 yrs old, and bedtime is a struggle!! it really depends on how set you are on a bedtime-sometimes, for some toddlers, its best to let them tell you when they want to go to bed. but if this doesn't work for you, or you're still set on a particular bedtime, maybe have a collection of dolls and stuffies, all with pillows, aka "beds" of their own, unless he wants to "co-sleep". then he can get them ready for bed, have them listen to a story, and put them to bed.
hope this works!
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#8 of 8 Old 08-07-2014, 05:03 AM
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Bedtimes are the toughest part of the day when they go badly and the best part of the day when they go well! I liked the tip above about having a moonclock.

My toddler is a bit younger and is going through a phase where he likes having us in the room but we have gritted our teeth and tried to get through it. Fortunately he is young enough that he can stay in a crib still so we don't have the risk of him toddling off round the house. Maybe even look into using a nightlight that projects onto the roof and give him something to focus on? Nothing too stimulating obviously! is offline  

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