"goodnight" and then leave the room? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 09-28-2010, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
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I am hoping to get to this point soon with my 3 year old. I'd like to be able to end the routine with "goodnight" and give him a kiss and walk out of the room. Trying it tonight and it's not working...he's yelling "mommmmmyyy dadddddy" which i'm ignoring (he's not crying it, more of a sing song voice) but then every now and then is coming running out.

Dh has been picking him up and saying "goodnight" and putting him back in bed, but he's still awake. We started this at 8 and it's now almost 9. Now he's laying in bed but annoyingly kicking the walls

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#2 of 11 Old 09-28-2010, 10:46 PM
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I wasn't able to do this with my ds til he was about 4.5. My dd is 3 and she's not ready yet. She likes to have someone lie with her til she's asleep (well, me, she won't go for dh just yet though she will have to before February!). There have been a few times where I have told her that I needed to get up to make dh's lunch for work & when I went back to her she was asleep. She's just not ready yet. I know I would love for it to happen now but I'd rather come to it when she's ready. Once ds was ready, he never went back- now he goes to bed when she does but he reads for an hour or so, then calls us in for a good night hug and goes to sleep on his own.

However, I don't see any problem in what you guys are doing, I wouldn't have an issue with him calling out, as long as he wasn't upset, or by returning him back in when he came out.

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#3 of 11 Old 09-28-2010, 10:59 PM
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My DH can do this every night with DS1 -- reads a story and then says "goodnight, see you in the morning when you wake up". Sometimes DS1 plays for a while but never leaves the room.

If I do his bedtime, I have to lay there until he falls asleep. DH says it is because I am a softie and DS1 knows I will stay. I love to cuddle my big boy though, especially now that DS2 is going to bed so much easier.

Loving my two wild and crazy boys -- DS1 06/07 and DS2 12/09
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#4 of 11 Old 09-28-2010, 11:03 PM
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Around 3yo is when each of my kids started letting me leave the room in the goodnight routine. Ds2 is 3.5 now and I spend a few minutes sitting, then I tell him I'll be at the door, and I stand watching in the doorway for a few minutes, and (this is just his personality) he's able to snuggle down and get serious about trying to go to sleep at that point and I can sneak away. DS1 needed more incentive and pleading and checking on and music, etc. He at almost 6yo still needs the "incentive" of knowing that if he stays in bed he'll get a story the next night... and if he doesn't he won't.

All that to say sounds like you're doing ok if he's good-naturedly calling you and not really upset. Is he taking a nap during the day? If yes, if you cut out the nap I'm pretty sure you'll have a muuuch easier time at night with this. That's how it was for us, at least.
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#5 of 11 Old 09-28-2010, 11:32 PM
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We do this too. A few tricks that make it easier for us are:

if ds is ultra wound up we give him some chamomile tea or sometimes even melatonin although he doesn't take the melatonin every night.

Also, white noise, music, a calm bedtime routine with a lot of snuggles help. However I notice that snuggling with him in his room makes it harder for him to let us leave him on his own to go to bed. So, we all sit together and read stories on the couch and then he goes to bed. the more prolonged the "goodnight" ritual at his bed side, the more complaining I get.

And my ds, too, has been known to kick the walls and play with hi finger s for two hours before finally drifting off.

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#6 of 11 Old 09-28-2010, 11:49 PM
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I think you can get there. We do it all the time with DD1. She's 5yo, extraordinarily persistant, and has all kinds of sleep issues. DH is a sucker and can be easily persuaded to lie in bed with her until she's asleep. What this means is that *he* falls asleep while she plays/reads books etc. This drives me crazy as every time he does this, I have to start the whole process again in terms of getting her used to falling asleep alone. So we do this whole process a lot.

We don't go as cold-turkey as it sounds like you are. We tell DD that she can lie quietly and we will come check on her every 10 minutes. And then we *do* check on her every 10 minutes. Each night we can make that time frame a little longer - every 15 minutes, then every 20 minutes etc. Sometimes that's enough.

Sometimes she's more needy and comes out of her room and calls out even when she knows we will be checking on her. This is *not* ok with me, because it disturbs her little sister. So we will tell her that she can call out three times (pick your number of times) after those three times we will not respond to her. I reassure her I will still check on her, but she cannot call out anymore. When she was younger, I'd put three items out on her dresser(books, toys, whatever...) and each time she called out and I came to her, I'd remove one from the pile (not take it away, just move it aside). Then she'd be able to tell easily how close she was to using up her chances.

You'll get there. Just take each step slowly and stick with it!!
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#7 of 11 Old 09-28-2010, 11:56 PM
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We've been working on this with DD for a while now, and it took her being over 3 YO before she was ready for us to no longer be in the room with her while she fell asleep. Here's what we did:
  1. Cut out naps for a few weeks. This was at a time when she seemed to be phasing out of her naps anyway. I wouldn't have done this if she had still really needed them. We did end up going back to naps, by the way.
  2. Told her that DH had to do chores and couldn't stay with her at night anymore but that if she was still awake when I was done putting DS to bed – and had laid quietly while I was doing so – then she could come sleep on her little bed in our room. She only stayed up once: the first night. The rest of the time she was too pooped out to stay awake.

Of course, now she's going through a stalling phase. Yesterday she and I made a Good Night Poster for her room. Basically, at the top it says, "Good Night C.!" Then, there are six magazine pictures that I cut out (bath, tooth brush, story, bed, prayers, light's out) along with numbers to show the order in which we do things.

Tonight was our first test-run and it seemed to go pretty smoothly. No screaming or major delay attempts. Yes!

We did also become a bit more strict about not adding things to the bedtime routine. No more getting up to ask for things, etc. And, we put up the baby gate in her doorway but left the door open so she can see the light on in the dining room and hear us quietly moving around.

Hope this helps a bit!

SAHM to DD (6/07) and DS (10/09); happily married to DH since 2/04 .
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#8 of 11 Old 09-29-2010, 01:16 AM
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I still stay with my 4 1/2 year old until she's asleep most nights, but if my youngest isn't falling asleep easily and is being disruptive, I leave my oldest alone to fall asleep. Our deal is a book on CD, and I'll check in at the end of the story. Most of our CDs are 30-60 minutes long, and she'll usually fall asleep before the end. If not, I'll offer a drink/pee/brief cuddle at the end, and either start another CD (if I'm still busy), or cuddle or read until she falls asleep.

Another thing that really helps with bedtime on the harder nights is doing a progressive relaxation exercise for her before I leave. Sometimes she's just wound up or had a hard day, and she gets less worked up about me leaving if she's had "help" to relax first.

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#9 of 11 Old 09-29-2010, 01:43 AM
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One thing that we did was to 'check on' the kids at regular intervals when we were trying to get them to fall asleep on their own.

So, we'd set the timer first for 5 minutes and the check back in. The next time was 10, then next 15, then next 20. I think we got up to 25 some nights, but not often. If the kids knew that we were coming back (and they could hear the timer, so they KNEW), then they could relax and go to sleep.

But before we did that, we started by shortening the time in their room. So, we'd stay for 15 minutes, then check every 5, 10, 15, etc. Then we'd stay for 10, then check every 5, 10, etc. Then 5, then check. We did this over the period of a week or so.

That being said, for my kids 3 1/2 was just the cusp of being able to fall asleep by themselves. Ds could do it, but dd couldn't until she was 5.

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#10 of 11 Old 09-29-2010, 01:45 AM
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I am able to put my 2-year-old to sleep like this... But I think that's just because she was ready.

We moved her from our bed right after her second birthday. There are still some nights that she doesn't want to go to sleep. But they are few and far between. Usually these were the nights that my husband didn't have to work, and so her routine was off. Generally we just do whatever it takes to get ready for bed. Sometimes this means bathing, but not every night. The main staples are: brushing teeth, getting jammies, reading our nighttime story, getting BIG hugs, and then laying down. She also gets her pacifier after climbing into bed. I'm not so sure how all of this will go once we take her pacifier away completely. She's managed to forget to ask for a it a couple of times and fell asleep okay. But the few times I simply told her "No", it was quite awhile before she fell asleep (and even then, it was after I gave her a pacifier or nursed her or something). It should also be noted that her older sister has slept in her room since transition. Her sister has a mattress on the floor for right now, so that probably helped things tremendously. (Meaning, she didn't go right from sleeping in bed with two people to sleeping in her room all alone.) But it's been about three months since she moved to her own room, and just this week I've started putting her to bed before her sister and it's going well. She doesn't complain about being alone and she seems to go to sleep just fine.

I wish there was some magic answer. I was never really good at leaving my kids to work through this stuff alone. It really bothered me. The whole CIO thing isn't for me. I was just super lucky that both of them "got it" with minimal effort. I think it really depends on the child as to when they are ready for falling asleep on their own. I hope your LO is able to do this for you soon. If you don't already have a clear nighttime routine, then I would plan on creating one for him. It doesn't mean that you have to do everything at the same time every night. For us it's just about providing cues to our children that bedtime is coming, that way they don't feel like it's just sprung on them. I mention brushing her teeth and my toddler automatically asks if it's bedtime. Sometimes she's not happy about the news, but since it's a multi-step process, she has time to accept it before the actual point where she lays down and I leave.

I'm me. In love with this guy. We're bringing up two girls: Big A (8) and Little A (3)

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#11 of 11 Old 09-29-2010, 09:52 AM
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We also started this with the "I'll check on you in 5 minutes" thing. Then we'd start stretching it out. Another thing that helped was playing a soothing bedtime song on repeat. Kinda gave him something to focus on? He doesn't need it anymore though.

It just takes time, and patience. I would say if he's in there for an hour awake he isn't ready for bed. Maybe play with the bedtime a bit?
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