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#1 of 7 Old 07-25-2014, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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threatening to close the door

OK, so I have posted a lot about bedtime and nap time. Sleeping has always been rotten with my oldest boy (2.5), with short breaks of easy routines. I have so far been sort of successful explaining why we sleep, "what mama does while you fall asleep," talking about fears and addressing them. This has all helped, but now that he is being really uncooperative at bedtime, with almost every step of the routine, I am resorting to threatening to shut the door if he "yells" because I don't want him to wake the baby. Then I open it almost immediately after to say that we can leave it open if he is quiet. This kind of works, but only if you keep doing it. I really don't like doing this!

I don't know what else to do, though, and I think I'm not seeing the situation clearly beyond my immense irritation. If I don't set this "limit," he calls me in, over and over and over to give him a "hug-a" and then as soon as I let go, cries for another. If I start to gently explain anything we are doing in the routine after this point, he will scream, hit, cry, push me away, then immediately cry for another hug. This can last for up to an hour (and did in the middle of the night last night), ending only when I explain that he will have a cranky mama if it continues.

I feel like a total jerk closing the door and really throughout this whole end of the bedtime routine, but I don't what to do instead. If he comes in my room, with baby, he tries to wake him up to play, and does not listen (and escalates) if I tell him to be quiet. I am really frustrated and right now reading Raising Your Spirited Child (re: bedtime). I want to give him the extra assurance and support he needs to sleep, but I don't know where to start.

Can somebody help me? I kind of want some validation that yeah, that bedtime tactic sucks and I shouldn't do it. And maybe some advice or commiseration? I feel like a bad mommy.
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#2 of 7 Old 07-25-2014, 09:00 PM
 
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Hi there. Sorry you are having problems getting your little guy to sleep. I know that a child not sleeping when I want/need them to is one of my biggest button pushers.

I will say that I think the technique is not working for you or him. It is probably making his anxiety of you leaving him worst. Our DD (who just turned 5) always has been a horrible sleeper. Although she does now sleep quite well, and we are just getting to the point of her putting herself to sleep.

I would suggest try laying with him while he goes to sleep. It sucks, you have less lime for yourself or housework or whatever. But I would say that right now your routine is taking a long time and a lot of frustration.

Our routine with our DD at that age.
Jammies, teeth brushed, washroom, etc.
Get in bed with her, read a couple of books. Lights out and sound machine on (we use waves lapping against the shore) but white noise is and a good thing, very soothing and relaxing.
Then it is eyes closed and no talking. Sometimes if she is having trouble being figetty or wanting to talk I would rub her back or tickle her back. She would usually be out in 15 minutes or so.

The only thing we do differently now at 5 is that we read chapters from a chapter book. Then I lay with her for 5-10 minutes and then leave saying I will come and check on her in 5 minutes. 50% of the time she is out before I check on her.

Laying with him will ease his fears. He is at the age where he is fearful of being alone. Plus you have another baby and so he probably feels like he doesn't get one-on-one time with Mommy as often as he would like. Laying with him until he falls asleep will comfort him, send him and you off for the night with less stress (from less arguing with him), give you both much needed one-on-one time together and probably be MUCH quicker than the arguing and fighting with a 2.5yr old about staying in bed and not yelling.

Good luck.

Me 40 eat.gif. Partner to mamacolleen 33 superhero.gif. DD born July 2009 blahblah.gif. Twin boys born Nov 2012.

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#3 of 7 Old 07-25-2014, 09:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you! It really helps to hear someone tell me that it's probably not working. I get a lot of "you're doing fine" and "you're such a good mom," but not much advice about stuff like this. Most people I know just don't remember what they did, resented what they did, or the let their kids cry it out.

Tonight I tried to do our routine as positively as possible, and tried not to show irritation about things that seemed like battling or stalling. I just cheerfully did the routine. I told him that after our song, he could relax his body and eventually fall asleep and that I would be nearby (in my room) and be there if he needed me. Then after the song, I told him that he didn't have to fall asleep right away and he could talk and sing to his animals, hug them, think about what he'd like to do in dreamland, etc. and that I would be just in the next room reading and doing "mama things." There was no real protest, just kind of checking in twice with "mama, mama" and I would say what I said again. He is asleep now.

I'm really shocked by how much easier and happier that was and now I can really see how both being negative about different behaviors and being withholding have really spoiled what could have been nice times at night - just because I have been anxious that he wouldn't sleep, that he'd wake the baby, etc.

Thank you for the reminder that it is still OK to lie with him, that he doesn't have to be independent yet. You are right, the inconvenience of lying down next to your sweet child really beats arguing for an hour! Thank you for the reality-check and supporting me in being gentle, but structured, with bedtime. Next time bedtime is hard, and my current strategy isn't working, I'll try to remember that I can lie with him. It won't be long until he won't let me!
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#4 of 7 Old 07-26-2014, 09:57 AM
 
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Our 28 month son still sleeps in his "sidecar" crib, and I still have to lie with him for him to fall asleep. I know we won't be doing this forever so I'm okay with it.... but I do love hearing his quiet narrative to himself. Whispering about the truck he saw, the trip to the zoo with his grandparents, the rotisserie chickens in the grocery store.... whatever is on his mind gets verbally dumped, then he's ready for bed. I would miss that.
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#5 of 7 Old 07-28-2014, 02:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lauran520 View Post
Our 28 month son still sleeps in his "sidecar" crib, and I still have to lie with him for him to fall asleep. I know we won't be doing this forever so I'm okay with it.... but I do love hearing his quiet narrative to himself. Whispering about the truck he saw, the trip to the zoo with his grandparents, the rotisserie chickens in the grocery store.... whatever is on his mind gets verbally dumped, then he's ready for bed. I would miss that.

I also lie with my 3.5 yo DS as he falls asleep, and would very much miss the things he murmurs as he falls asleep. Also, a few times he has cuddled up to me and said things like, "it's okay mom, it's just sleep, you don't have to be afraid. This is just our room, not the dark forest. You are safe." And it really made me wonder if these are the fears that he has about sleeping, and why he actively fought sleep for his first three years. It's a vulnerable act, letting your guard down enough to fall asleep, and I think it can be really scary for some kids.

I'm glad things are going better, OP! Hopefully an attitude check is enough to do the trick.



Living and loving in ATX with DH (of 7 years) and DS (3.5)
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#6 of 7 Old 07-28-2014, 02:42 PM
 
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I stayed with my child until she fell asleep 80% of the time. But If that wasn't an option I explained that she was on her own due to my obligations and she should know that I would check in. In those cases I only responded to pronounced distress.

She was never in a crib. We had a large child-safe room with all her toys, a large mattress on the floor, mats & blankets, & several nightlights so that she could explore whenever. So if she was unhappy she could explore & play quietly. We very often found her sacked out among a pile of toys & blankets in various places in the room and would move her to her mattress later on after she was asleep. When she was older she would read if she wasn't ready to sleep when it was bedtime.

To me the difference between bedtime and sleep is up to the individual. Putting a child in a small pen and demanding that they sleep never seemed right to me.

I'm also a little bit concerned as to why sleep is frightening to the child? Maybe make a prolonged elaborate happy bedtime ritual and an assessment of the child's daily exposure to disturbing stimuli?

Last edited by pumabearclan; 07-29-2014 at 06:41 AM.
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#7 of 7 Old 07-31-2014, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by pumabearclan View Post
I stayed with my child until she fell asleep 80% of the time. But If that wasn't an option I explained that she was on her own due to my obligations and she should know that I would check in. In those cases I only responded to pronounced distress.

She was never in a crib. We had a large child-safe room with all her toys, a large mattress on the floor, mats & blankets, & several nightlights so that she could explore whenever. So if she was unhappy she could explore & play quietly. We very often found her sacked out among a pile of toys & blankets in various places in the room and would move her to her mattress later on after she was asleep. When she was older she would read if she wasn't ready to sleep when it was bedtime.

To me the difference between bedtime and sleep is up to the individual. Putting a child in a small pen and demanding that they sleep never seemed right to me.

I'm also a little bit concerned as to why sleep is frightening to the child? Maybe make a prolonged elaborate happy bedtime ritual and an assessment of the child's daily exposure to disturbing stimuli?
Update: bedtime is going smoothly, no shutting the door, just offering lots of reassurance about any nighttime fears. I have made my bed gigantic and now he can wander in at night without interrupting anyone else's sleep.

I don't really think he is feeling particularly disturbed by anything during the day, although we did have a talk about how he thought scary "strangers" were living in the trees and making noises, and I realized that he thought our neighbors, who he can hear through nearby trees, were these scary strangers. He'll usually tip me off by trying to reassure himself of things he fears, like "windows don't have mouths. They can't eat me," etc.

Anyway, thanks for the input. We are thankfully doing fine an enjoying bedtime again.
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