the toddler who only goes to sleep nestled between us... (at 11 pm) - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: when co-sleeping - do you have to go to bed at the same time as your child?
yes - i sleep when they go to sleep 12 27.91%
no - i pretend to sleep then sneak out 16 37.21%
no way!! 14 32.56%
what is co-sleeping ? i let 'em scream and sleep alone..... 1 2.33%
Voters: 43. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 21 Old 10-17-2010, 03:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Running out of ideas on what to do. We have been co-sleeping most of his life (he is now 19 months old) . he slept in an Arm's reach co-sleeper, as well as a pak-n-play which we would move him into, once he was sleeping.. he would wake up crying and end up picked up and back in the middle of our bed (since he was a newborn) ..

we now have a toddler bed, and if he is sleeping, we can move him into it. the toddler bed is still located in our bedroom for co-sleeping.

the problem is that currently, despite out early bedtime routine starting at 7:30 or 8 of a bath, storytime and mommamilk time, he isn't physically tired or ready to sleep by 8:30, or even 9 .( signs of tiredness such as rubbing the eyes). he is bouncing around and happily playing and staying up late.. he doesn't think bedtime is, until we are both in bed, and he is laying between us and the lights are out. the toddler thinks our bedtime, is his bedtime.... how on earth do i change this? my old fashioned mother says, well get a crib, shut the door and let him cry, which is exactly what i DONT want to do... so - how do we get him to go to sleep on his own, early ? or does this idea go against the co-sleeping theory??? since it's expecting him to sleep alone. he sleeps alone for naps, so i know he can do it....

tell me - do all the other families out there who co-sleep have a family bedtime when everyone goes to sleep at once??? are we stuck with him going to sleep at the same time as us forever? i'm ok with pretending to sleep until he falls asleep - however - tonight as i pretended to sleep, he quietly left the bed, walked around the room, and then opened the door and tried to go upstairs .. (to visit dad and grandma upstairs) ... it wasn't until ten pm, that my husband and i had to pretend to sleep with him in the middle, he finally fell asleep - two hours past the hoped for bedtime - of course lovely husband fell asleep for real, thus voiding all other plans for a saturday evening ( our rented movie went unwatched - and now i am here, online .. wondering - how can this continue?/ )

please - any thoughts on what to do???????? h e l p m e g e t t h e b o y to s l e e p ....

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#2 of 21 Old 10-17-2010, 09:08 AM
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What time does he nap? Get up?

At that age my kids were on a 7-7 schedule. Wake at 7 (or earlier), sleep at 7. One nap usually done by 3pm (sometimes a car nap earlier in the day so all naps done by 1).

Wind down starts at 6pm. Asleep by 7.

I can't stand my kids being up late. Sometime in the first few months their bedtime goes to a decent (for me) hour. As tiny babies they go to sleep at the same time as me.

I never pretended to go to sleep or anything. I really don't want them thinking anything other than their bedtime is earlier than mine. They know that mommy and daddy spend time together alone at the end of the day. I have nothing to hide with that.

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#3 of 21 Old 10-17-2010, 11:05 AM
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Instead of pretending to sleep, maybe all three of you could cuddle together and read him stories? And he goes to sleep with parents tucked around him? Then the next time he stirs in the night you're around him again--but he doesn't realize you weren't there the whole time.

And I can't really answer your poll because I'll play with my phone behind dd's head as she falls asleep. I don't pretend to sleep and I only go to sleep too if I'm tired.
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#4 of 21 Old 10-17-2010, 12:17 PM
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I don't know how to answer your poll really... DS goes to sleep around 11pm. DH & I stay in bed and talk or watch TV or read or whatever. Then DH goes to sleep and then I go to sleep around midnight. I don't really know what would happen if we left him in there alone, because by that time of night I'm too tired to bother getting out of bed, but I'm pretty sure he wouldn't sleep. I also don't believe that ALL toddlers are programmed to go to bed at 7 or 8pm. There is no way on earth DS would go to sleep that early, and many of my friends' toddlers don't go to sleep until at least 9pm. It's possible that his biological clock just isn't set to go to sleep that early.

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#5 of 21 Old 10-17-2010, 12:51 PM
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We currently do the 2 bed solution. (We have a 2 1/2 year old and a 13 month old.) They can't fall asleep in the same bed together, so my husband goes to bed, and often falls asleep, with the 13 month old, and I go to bed, and almost always fall asleep, with the 2 1/2 y.o. My older daughter needs very little sleep, and often doesn't nap, but still isn't ready to go to bed until LATE (for me.) I need normal amounts of sleep, and have to get up very early for work, unfortunately. We are going to try to "trade" babies now, so that I can get to bed a bit earlier, since I have to get up earlier. We'll see how that goes. I sometimes am able to slip away from the guest bed (where my older one sleeps) and get into the other bed, but she often notices and protests! Usually, though, I fall asleep before she does. No way either would sleep in a crib or toddler bed, or fall asleep without us there...

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#6 of 21 Old 10-17-2010, 01:06 PM
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His body says that bedtime is 8:30-9 pm. It is what it is. You can't make him sleep earlier than that. Just like you can't make him nurse or eat on an artificial schedule. Not all toddlers go to sleep by 8 pm. When does he get up in the morning? And how long and when is his nap in the daytime? The majority of toddlers need about 10-11 hours of sleep out of 24. With sleeping about 9-10 hours at night and 2 hours during the day, Dylan got his 11 hours of sleep he needed. Dylan didn't go to bed until 10 pm as a toddler. Dh has always been in bed by 9 pm. Dylan went to bed at 10 and I was in bed between 11 and midnight. Dh wakes up at 5 am (a time I insist doesn't exist except for nursing babies!), I wake up between 6 and 7, Dylan got up between 7 and 8 am as a toddler (took a 2-3 hour nap in the early afternoon) and now stumbles out of bed on his own betwen 8 and 9 as a 12 yo (10-11 hours of sleep to make up for the 9 hours he gets on school nights). But gets up at 7 am on school days (9 hours). His bedtime didn't go to 8 pm until he started Kindergarten (only stopped naps because K was afternoon) and by 3rd grade wat at 9 pm. Last year, for 6th grade, it went to 10 pm. Dh's and my schedules have been this was for 37 years, ever since we got married. He's a morning person and I'm a night owl.

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#7 of 21 Old 10-17-2010, 01:22 PM
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change comes slowly but it DOES happen.

you cant expect change overnight. perhaps over a period of a month. but you've got to keep the discipline up.

you HAVE to include evening play time. run at the park. run around in the grocery store. go to a fair. go out and do something so that his physical and intellectual needs are getting met. and then watch for tiredness. put him down THEN. if you miss the window he gets a second wind.

however are you prepared for him to get up earlier than he does now? because if he goes to bed on the time you want him to go to bed - which he will provided you do all that he needs - he might wake up earlier.

dd never went to bed before midnight till seh started first grade and had to be up no later than 7 am. aaaaaaaaaaaaargh weekends are not the same again. i want to snooze till noon. dd is up 7 am bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to go.

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#8 of 21 Old 10-17-2010, 01:29 PM
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If you want him to go to bed earlier, you will have to wake him up earlier in the morning, or cut out his nap, or wake him from his nap earlier, etc.

FWIW, my 25 month old doesn't go to bed until 9-9:30 and is still up at 6-6:30 AM..

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#9 of 21 Old 10-17-2010, 01:57 PM
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My 20 month old sleeps on a mat in our room, and usually gets to sleep around 10PM. My husband usually lays down on his mat with him, and pretends to sleep until he's out. He usually won't go down any earlier unless he's skipped his nap, but he doesn't get up until 8. I usually go to bed at midnight.

When does your son wake up? I figure that my kid will sleep about 10 hours at night, which gives me around 2 hours to be awake without him if I still want enough sleep myself (which I definitely do at 7 months pregnant). Maybe I could push his bedtime to 8:30 if I tried, but I'd have to be getting up at 6 or 6:30 to make it work.

As for how to get him to sleep, I don't have much help. We used to nurse to sleep, then it was songs, but right now pretending to be asleep is the only thing that works.
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#10 of 21 Old 10-17-2010, 02:17 PM
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I voted that I pretend to sleep, but really, I just lay in the bed next to him until he falls asleep. He freaks out if I'm not in the room with him, and if I'm doing anything, he get ramped up. So, I lay down next to him until he falls asleep, then I get up and do whatever it is that I need to do. Sometimes I do fall asleep with him, but thats an accident.

He used to go to bed really late, but then I started working pretty hard on getting a good routine going, and he started going to bed much earlier. We also get up early though - 7am usually b/c I'm in school. Now he always falls asleep at 8pm sharp - don't know why, but we lay down together between 7:15-7:30, and he rolls around in the bed, and then at 8pm his eyes close and he's asleep.
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#11 of 21 Old 10-17-2010, 02:49 PM
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We used to stick him in his Pack n Play in the living room. He'd fall asleep in there and DH and I would spend our evening together. We feed him at around 5:30, do our bedtime routine until 6:30ish (bath, pajamas, teeth, stories), and then it's time for him to sleep.

The Pack n Play broke so we've started taking him upstairs to his crib, which is as big as a toddler bed (it can convert to one). We haven't converted it because he won't stay in it, given the choice. But I sit up on our very cozy bed with him and knit or read while he winds down in his crib with books and soft toys. Eventually he falls asleep and I go back downstairs. When DH and I come up to bed many hours later (we're both night owls), we move him from his crib to the family bed. (We tried leaving him there to see if he was ready to sleep on his own, but he always woke up in the middle of the night crying for us, so now we move him preemptively.)

With a babe on the way I don't mind settling into this kind of routine, because I know within a couple of weeks I'll be lucky to stay up later than my toddler. Spending thirty minutes or so quietly knitting or reading while DS goes to sleep is actually really pleasant and a part of my day that I look forward to now. And I don't have to deal with the bulky, ugly Pack n Play anymore.

It's not as free range as I'd like but it works for our family. Also, I find that if he doesn't get the nap time he needs, he actually sleeps worse at night. When he's overtired our bedtime routine really drags on and it's miserable for everyone. We're all up by 6 or 6:30 every morning so it's really important to us that he is in bed on time.

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#12 of 21 Old 10-17-2010, 03:40 PM
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My 2 yo has a reasonable bedtime- about 7pm. I read him a book and settle him into bed, and then I leave the room. Sometimes he will fuss for a very brief period, but most of the time he just drifts off to sleep on his own. If he fusses, I will go back in to sit with him for a bit, and leave again while he is still awake. He is pretty good about sleep though. I do not, and have not done CIO with him- when I comment here about 'fussing' it really is simply a matter of very brief 'I don't want to sleep' sort of complaint not a matter of being abandoned and scared/frustrated. It is moments long, not minutes. I am ok with that for a 2 year old, my 1 year old doesn't have the ability to soothe himself through those moments yet.

My 1 yo has always needed a lot more parenting to sleep. He is just learning to fall asleep alone in his pack and play earlier in the evening, but still will not tolerate being put to 'bed' until I go to bed with him. The pack and play (in my kitchen, so he is always very nearby) is out bedtime compromise with him. He also doesn't sleep at a very reliable time yet, but I suspect that within a month or so we'll have a 7-7ish pattern down.

It is very important for me, that my kids learn they can go to sleep before the adults do.

(My 8 year old had a great 7-7 sleep schedule until a couple years ago. Now she is in bed at 9pm and up at about 7 am. The household rule is that she needs to be in her room reading or otherwise doing something quiet by 8:30.)
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#13 of 21 Old 10-17-2010, 05:36 PM
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I'm so glad I found this post because I thought I had the only child who goes to bed at 10-11PM. To make matters worse, he has to be nursed to sleep and will also wake up many times in the night and only settle back to sleep if I nurse him in bed. He bounces around the room until my husband and I are watching a show and then he will settle in between us, look happily from one to the other parent, patting us in turns, and sleep.

I think maybe with my next child I will try a crib very early on so that I won't have to go to bed at the same time as my child/have the child awake until it is our bedtime. It was so easy when he was a baby but now I only worry that he is not getting enough sleep. After reading the posts, I realize I'm not the only one and this may actually be normal!
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#14 of 21 Old 10-17-2010, 06:09 PM
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I don't have any great advice since bedtime has always been a bit of a struggle. I voted that I sleep when they sleep, since I usually don't get back up; however, I don't actually fall asleep right away (8:30-9 pm for them). I always read for a while with my trusty reading light. Sometimes I am on my laptop if I have work or online surfing to do. I do look forward to the day we have a bit more adult/alone time. But for now, this works for us.

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#15 of 21 Old 10-17-2010, 07:43 PM
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Family bedtime here, too. Between 2 babies.
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#16 of 21 Old 10-17-2010, 09:35 PM
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I voted that I pretend to sleep and then sneak away, but really I don't do that. I nurse DD to sleep usually around 9 or so and then put her in the crib. She usually wakes up within the hour and then I either take her to bed with me(if I am ready to sleep) or I nurse her back to sleep and put her in the crib or in the bed. She always ends up in the bed eventually, although I am trying to get her to sleep in the crib. BTW she is 13 months old.

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#17 of 21 Old 10-17-2010, 09:50 PM
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With our first, either DH or I would lie down next to him until he fell asleep. Your child sounds a lot like our DS1: he was always alert at night and just would not relax to fall asleep (ours was always up by 6am-- not sure what time yours gets up). We would be in there for HOURS every night, and whichever parent was putting DS to bed would inevitably fall asleep in there and wake up a few hours later with a sleeping child but feeling grumpy about having missed the entire evening. I'm sorry to say that it was like this for years, basically until he stopped napping entirely just after he turned 3, and then he started to fall asleep at 7:30 as soon as his head hit the pillow.

With DS2 we wised up... we still coslept until he was 2 (then we moved the kids into a shared sibling bed) but we transitioned him from falling asleep with us lying down with him to one of us sitting in a chair next to the bed and patting him on the back until he fell asleep. We actually still do this with both kids since they still share a room, but we've got the whole bedtime-books-songs-backrubbing down to a half hour, which is perfect for us.

I agree with the pps that you need to look at the amount of sleep he's getting; start waking him up in the morning if he is sleeping late, or only allow a shorter nap, or try harder to wear him out in the early evening, and then be very consistent with the bedtime routine. I would highly suggest trying to transition to sitting next to him, within arms reach where you could rub his back. He would not feel scared/lonely and yet it's much harder (though not impossible!) for the parent to fall asleep seated in a chair (use an uncomfortable chair!). You could even get to the point where you are sitting with him but working on a laptop, listening to an iPod, etc which will make it more bearable if he still takes a long time to wind down. It will definitely take some time and patience, but do not give up-- give it a solid month of telling him that you will be doing it this new way and I believe he'll get used to the new normal. Good luck!
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#18 of 21 Old 10-17-2010, 10:37 PM
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DD will not go to bed any earlier than 10:00 pm and it is usually more like 11:00 pm. We have tried getting her to bed sooner and she treats it like a nap and is up and awake bright eyed and bushy tailed until the wee hours of the morn if she goes to bed any earlier. This is just the way she is. She is very social with DH and I and doesn't like to miss anything! She has gone to sleep with us like this since she was born.

It's not a popular opinion around here. Everyone thinks that toddlers should go to sleep at 7:00 or 8:00 pm and I'm not sure why. If your toddler changes his schedule, great for you! If he doesn't, don't get upset, just except him for a night owl and come up with a different arrangement for you and DH to spend some time together. Maybe a weekend breakfast while DS spends a few hours with a relative or a sitter.

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#19 of 21 Old 10-18-2010, 12:42 AM
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With our family bed comes family bedtime. We've always done it and it just seems normal now. Eventually it will change once she is older and wants her own space but for now we all go to sleep at the same time (usually 9:30-10, by the way). I don't really mind it. Sometimes DH and I sneak out to the floor for cuddle time then sneak back in, but we are always all in the same room.

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#20 of 21 Old 10-18-2010, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by foodymama View Post
Everyone thinks that toddlers should go to sleep at 7:00 or 8:00 pm and I'm not sure why. If your toddler changes his schedule, great for you! If he doesn't, don't get upset, just except him for a night owl and come up with a different arrangement for you and DH to spend some time together. .

My ds naturally falls into a 10 or 11pm to 830-9am schedule. I am currently trying to get his schedule to shift earlier because my dh has a new job w/an insanely early schedule. It only works on no nap days. I don't get anymore alone time w/dh during the week anyway with his new schedule.
On the weekends, ds goes down when he is tired. I usually lay w/him & nurse him to sleep & sneak off. He is usually down for the night, unless he was overtired to begin with.....then rinse/repeat.

I figure this phase in his life is but a blip in time, so I can ride his wave for now .
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#21 of 21 Old 10-18-2010, 01:24 AM
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Looking at the other responses, it seems like it varies a lot how long a toddler will stay down for the night (mine is about 10 hrs, some people seem to get less, while others get 12). How long does yours stay down? And what time do you want to get up in the morning?

It seems like that might be the best place to start. If he wakes up later than you'd like, wake him earlier, and you might get him down earlier. If he wakes up at a good time already, try cutting out naps (my kid sleeps closer to 12 hrs at night when he doesn't nap). And if both the naps and the morning are working well, maybe you're stuck with that schedule for now.

Not that I've got it all figured out either, but after trying all sorts of things and keeping track of sleep and wake times over several weeks, I'm pretty convinced that no bedtime routine will change the basic pattern of how long he's willing to stay down at night.
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