HELP! Bedtime is driving me INSANE! 22mo will.not. go to bed without throwing the biggest tantrum of all time every night!!! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 11-16-2010, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Grrr....this is driving me NUTS!!

 

Our bedtime routine looks like this:

 

Read a few books

 

Nurse both sides for about 5-10min (my milk supply is awful, so its just cuddly nursing time, not milky nursing time)

 

try for 30min to get ds to lay down while he SCREAMS BLUE MURDER, try to be patient and tell him to lay down, I love him, its night night time, its time to go to sleep, blah blah blah, and finally lose it and yell at him to lay down and go to sleep

 

He lays down, and is out within 10min

 

I CANNOT stand it!!  I feel terribly guilty for yelling at him, but I can't listen to him SCREAM BLUE MURDER for an hour everynight.  I give him a sippy cup with milk to drink, and he usually drinks that while sitting in my lap, but then as soon as I ask him to lay down and go to sleep he LOSES it!  I think it's b/c he doesn't want to go to sleep, but he will.not.fall.asleep. if I hold him or rock him (seriously, I've rocked him for over an hour and he will.not.sleep.)

 

WWYD?????  I don't like yelling at him, but he WILL NOT lay down until I do.  It's like, I yell at him, and then he realizes I'm serious.  If I try to physically lay him down, he will continue with the screaming blue murder, get up, follow me and scream blue murder - I cannot figure out how to get this tantruming to stop.  We've tried earlier bedtimes, later bedtimes, nothing works.

 

Also, he's VERY verbal for 22mo - he's been speaking in full sentences for weeks now (saying things like, "Want to go to M's house to watch basketball, it would be wonderful")  He generally asks for what he wants/needs/likes, will tell me when he doesn't like things, talks about EVERYTHING - his vocabulary is huge, the only thing missing when he talks is little words like "is". 

 

HELP!!!

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#2 of 19 Old 11-16-2010, 05:50 PM
 
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honestly? I would get rid of the routine and just wait until he's tired. I've learned that my kids fall asleep when they are tired no matter what I do beforehand or how early I try to put them to bed. YMMV


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#3 of 19 Old 11-16-2010, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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See, he IS tired when this is happening. He falls asleep within 10minutes of laying down - if he wasn't tired, he wouldn't fall asleep (BTDT). The routine is there b/c he won't nurse to sleep, but needs to nurse before he goes to sleep (otherwise he won't sleep).

 

I just don't know how to deal with these pre-bedtime tantrums - I can't get him to calm down without yelling at him, which I hate to do b/c it makes me feel like the worst mother on the planet.

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#4 of 19 Old 11-16-2010, 08:02 PM
 
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What do you think would happen if you nursed him, then just let him get up and do whatever he wanted to do for a while?  If I were you, I'd probably try that.  Eventually, I imagine he'd fall asleep somewhere, or get too sleepy to protest when you put him in bed.  It might be frustrating to have him awake longer when you're ready for some kid-free time, but it can't be any worse than the screaming sessions you're dealing with now. 

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#5 of 19 Old 11-16-2010, 08:50 PM
 
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I can sympathize with wanting kid-free time in the evening. Totally. BUT, I agree with Daffodil that the screaming is probably worse than an extra 30-40 min. If my ds2 (25 months) isn't tired enough, nursing re-energizes him. I let him get up to play for a bit then when he's looking tired, we try laying down again. 


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#6 of 19 Old 11-16-2010, 09:55 PM
 
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Your guy is a little young for nap dropping and it sounds like you've tried everything, but I just wanted to chime in and say that dropping the nap was what cut the bedtime tantrums/hysterics/etc. for us.  I think he's still tired and he could use the sleep he'd get from a nap, but I don't like who I am as a parent on the days he gets one.  Does any of that resonate for you?

 

How long has it been going on?  Could it be a phase due to language explosion or other developmental milestone?  Mine always have a worse time falling asleep when those things are in flux.

 

Hugs to you, mama.  BTDT, and I know how horrible it feels all around. 


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#7 of 19 Old 11-17-2010, 07:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by To-Fu View Post

Your guy is a little young for nap dropping and it sounds like you've tried everything, but I just wanted to chime in and say that dropping the nap was what cut the bedtime tantrums/hysterics/etc. for us.  I think he's still tired and he could use the sleep he'd get from a nap, but I don't like who I am as a parent on the days he gets one.  Does any of that resonate for you?

 

How long has it been going on?  Could it be a phase due to language explosion or other developmental milestone?  Mine always have a worse time falling asleep when those things are in flux.

 

Hugs to you, mama.  BTDT, and I know how horrible it feels all around. 


Huh, thats interesting.  He's been working on dropping the nap, but at daycare they put all the kids down, and he usually sleeps for like 1.5-2hours.  Maybe we need to at least cut down the length of the nap?  When we're at home together he doesn't nap much, if at all.  Some nights he does really well, although I'm not sure if its the day's he doesn't nap much since I haven't been watching for that correlation.

 

It could definitely be b/c of language explosion - he's been talking for a while, but he's just talking more and more and more every day - bigger words (come on, wonderful??  thats a mouthful for a 22mo!!), longer sentences, stringing thoughts together, having longer conversations with everyone (4-5 sentences back and forth with people, stringing together thoughts, its CRAZY!).

 

I don't know about other developmental milestones though, he's been sleeping better and longer at night, but I don't know what comes after talking as far as milestones?  I know, that makes me a bad mom :(

 

Thanks for the insight and support!!  Any other tips/ideas??

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#8 of 19 Old 11-17-2010, 11:44 AM
 
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Both of mine went through that at that age. I just went through it wiht DD and I was calmer about it this time.  Basically if (when) she flipped out I told her I wouldn't stay if she was freaking out (like kicking me, rolling around, trying to get up.  We had already weaned).  So after telling her that and her inevitably continuing to kick etc I'd tell her I was going to ____ (check on her brother, do the dishes) and I'd be back.  I followed through and found within a few days she was asking me leave.  "You go 'way.  I stay here".  Sometimes she goes right to sleep.  Sometimes she potters around the room a bit. 

 

for both of mine they had just reached a pointed where they needed some space at bedtime.  They needed to be able to wind down a bit without me.  That's not to say she was thrilled the times I did leave her for a few minutes.  But she was either going to kick and scream with me there or me not there.  And she's old enough to get that I was literally across the hall in her brother's room or down the hall in the kitchen or whatever.


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#9 of 19 Old 11-17-2010, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by D_McG View Post

Both of mine went through that at that age. I just went through it wiht DD and I was calmer about it this time.  Basically if (when) she flipped out I told her I wouldn't stay if she was freaking out (like kicking me, rolling around, trying to get up.  We had already weaned).  So after telling her that and her inevitably continuing to kick etc I'd tell her I was going to ____ (check on her brother, do the dishes) and I'd be back.  I followed through and found within a few days she was asking me leave.  "You go 'way.  I stay here".  Sometimes she goes right to sleep.  Sometimes she potters around the room a bit. 

 

for both of mine they had just reached a pointed where they needed some space at bedtime.  They needed to be able to wind down a bit without me.  That's not to say she was thrilled the times I did leave her for a few minutes.  But she was either going to kick and scream with me there or me not there.  And she's old enough to get that I was literally across the hall in her brother's room or down the hall in the kitchen or whatever.


This is REALLY interesting too!!!  It made me remember that last night, after he nursed, he told me to leave.  So I did.  He started crying.  I went back into the room to see if he was ok, and he calmed down, and told me to leave again.  So I did.  Then he freaked out again.  So I sat in the rocking chair (where we nurse) and picked him up to comfort him, and told him, "When I leave the room, I'm always very close by, and I can hear you.  You can just ask me to come back - I'll hear you, I just went to the kitchen (which is right across from the bedroom door - no more than 4 feet!)"

 

He said ok, and then I put him down, and thats when the tantrum ensued.  I'm stumped, but thanks everyone for the feedback!!!!  I'm working on staying calm with him, its really hard to do for me, although I'm not really sure why.

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#10 of 19 Old 11-17-2010, 12:52 PM
 
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I don't actually yell, but I get stern..I say, Go to sleep! while bracing him. he fights it and then I say to him "are you going to lay still?" and he says "yeah" then finally settles himself down after I do that. I don't know mama, just wanted to commiserate! Could he be getting his molars?


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#11 of 19 Old 11-18-2010, 06:56 PM
 
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Are you laying with him?  I ask because I do that with my almost 2 year old and I can really relate to the OP and what others have said as well.  I have found what works EVERYTIME if I am self aware enought to stick to it is to lay with her but not speak or engage her in anyway.  When she gets a reaction it can go on for about 45 minutes to an hour every night.  And I didn't even realize how much I was contributing to it.  A typical night would look like this:  She nurses for about 10-15 minutes (while laying down) and I usually have to unlatch her physically because she uses her teeth to hold on and it is crazy painful.  She is usually not very happy about this and will start either screaming or just acting otherwise crazy, sometimes even in a silly way.  I would either indugle her sillyness of try and put an end to her insanity and we could go round and round for ages until I too always ended up yelling "that's enough, go to sleep".  Now after I unlatch her I say good night baby I love you and TRY REALLY HARD not to respond to her antics.  Usually there is one point where I will have to say something like "please don't pinch Mama" or give her the blanky she is scrambling for but I try to keep it minimal and non emotive when I speak.  Again, this is all a work in progress but on the nights I stick to it I am finding bedtime much more pleasant.  Oh and if I try and leave the room the world comes crashing down on us so that is not an option at this point!

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#12 of 19 Old 11-19-2010, 07:40 AM
 
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I also feel your pain! We went through something similar, but with the bath, around that age. Screaming bloody murder in the tub, not wanting to go upstairs, etc. Bedtime has always been a challenge!.

 

If he is verbal, is he into the concept of rewards? Would he get it if you got a calendar just for him (that he picks out), and he gets a special sticker that you put on it when he goes to bed with no screaming? This has amazingly worked with our son to get him to go down for naps (but he's now 35 months), and I have heard of other people using this technique to get their toddler to sleep in their own room, or to go back to sleep on their own in the night when they wake up (know someone who did it around that age for this).

 

I just read the book The Secret of Parenting, and they suggest that the biggest tool we have with our children is their attachment to us. So, withdrawing any engagement is the appropriate response to behavior we do not want to enforce. The above suggestion to play sleep might work, though if your LO is like my son, he'll just use you as a jungle gym for 40 minutes. The option of leaving the room might work, but it clearly upsets him. What about you saying to him calmly but firmly, "Stop screaming and lay down." You do this while standing up, hands on hips, and then wait (this is suggestion from that Secret of Parenting book) as if you are waiting for a bus -- you are quiet, somewhat impatient. You can repeat the sentence, but do not respond to him. Or if tantrum is really bad, walk out of the door and have your back to him until he stops screaming? Hmmm, not sure what else might work...

 

I know how our LOs have the ability to get under our skin when they behave like this. It's so important to recognize when you're about to lose your patience, and change things if you are. Maybe giving yourself a time out...

 

I feel for you!


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#13 of 19 Old 11-19-2010, 07:58 AM
 
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When my oldest was 18 months old, she dropped her last nap and we moved bed time up an hour, and it was WONDERFUL.  It was still difficult to get her to sleep, but it wasn't even half as difficult as it had been.  Dropping the nap, or at least shortening it might help.

 

Also, what about if you TOTALLY change up the bedtime routine.  I didn't see a bath in there, what about adding that?  What about a bed time snack other than nursing-maybe some hot tea or chocolate with the story instead?  Does he have a special lovie or stuffed animal?  If not, maybe you could create one.  My DD2 didn't have one and because she was in a big girl bed very early (14mo) I used to have to lay down with her to keep her in bed and get her to sleep.  Her 2nd birthday was on the 7th and she got a stuffed Mickey for her birthday.  That night, she was able to go to sleep, in her bed on her own without me laying with her, and quickly.  And we have only had a couple instances of needing to lay with her since (including naps) and I think it was because that suffed Mickey kinda took my place.  I had tried previously to get her to lay on her own, and it was a no go.  Suddenly, Mickey made it ok for me to leave.

 

I will just share our bedime routine to give you some ideas for change.

 

First, we pick up downstairs and then turn off the tv.  Every other day or every third day (ish) we do a bath.  After that, clean diaper and PJs, then we brush teeth together (I brush mine, she brushes hers, then I finish hers.)  After that, we find Mickey and a pacifier, then go to her bedroom.  I tuck her in (she just got new bedding too) and then give her Mickey and her special blanket, then give her a kiss and then her pacifier.  I tell her night night, then go to the door, and I have to turn around one more time and say night night one more time.   For naps, we skip the changing and teeth brushing. 

 

 

 

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#14 of 19 Old 11-21-2010, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, he REALLY brings out the worst in me at bedtime.

 

Tonight it was, nurse, cuddle (he came back from a weekend at dad's tonight, so extra cuddles), and then we laid down together, and then I got up b/c he was just talking to me, wouldn't stop talking, wouldn't close his eyes.  So I got up.  He FREAKED out - screaming while saying, "want to cuddle mama"  "Mama lay down with ds"  "want cuddle with mama"

 

I kept trying to say, gently but firmly, Lay down and go to sleep.  We had done LOTS of cuddling (almost half hour), so it was truly just a stall technique.  He HATES going to bed - always has, always will (or at least it feels like it).  I didn't try to the hands on hips thing, I'll try to remember that tomorrow night, but its dark in the room, so I don't know if he'll go for it. 

 

I finally just LOST it at him again - like yelled, "LAY DOWN AND GO TO SLEEP NOW!" b/c he just would.not.be.quiet.  I have such a LOW threshold for annoyance with screaming - thats my one HUGE petpeeve.  Please, do ANYTHING but scream, and I can deal with it pretty calmly.  Screaming for more than a few minutes for anything other than being in pain?  I CANNOT DEAL WITH IT!  It hurts my ears, I HATE it.  Something about the sound just absolutely kills me, and he knows it, and he continuously pushes my buttons with it.  Grrrrrr...................

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#15 of 19 Old 11-25-2010, 08:53 PM
 
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We seriously JUST went through this. I too told my 22 month old "I can't stay with you if you're going to hit or kick me." and made good on my promise. She would be screaming and crying in the bed with me, but once I got up and walked away she'd stop crying and fall asleep quickly on her own. She's also doing the same thing for naps now. I think she just finally learned how to put herself to sleep! I don't know how it happened, it just did. I'm sure there will be regressions along the way, but I'm running with it for now. ;)

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#16 of 19 Old 11-26-2010, 04:52 AM
 
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I think you need to get more deliberate with the consequences.  I've totally been there - getting all wrapped in in the drama of a 2 year old (so wrapped up that I was acting like a 2 year old :)).  Just remember you're the mommy and you make the rules.  Sometimes my little girl will just FLIP out about things because she likes to hear the sound of her own voice. We went through all that with the bedtime drama. 

 

Be very clear.  "We're going to cuddle.  If you can't settle down I'll go finish the dishes and come back when they're done".  And then follow through.  Yes, he'll freak out but that's what they do at that age.  It really sounds like he doesn't know what he needs. I know DD was JUST like that before we transitioned to her falling asleep alone with all her 'babies'.  I never left her for long (maybe 5 minutes?) but I was calm and deliberate. At 2 he knows you haven't disappeared forever.  Come back when you say you'll come back and repeat if necessary.  Kids that age, IME are just CRYING out for boundaries. They need to know where the walls are. 

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So, he REALLY brings out the worst in me at bedtime.

 

Tonight it was, nurse, cuddle (he came back from a weekend at dad's tonight, so extra cuddles), and then we laid down together, and then I got up b/c he was just talking to me, wouldn't stop talking, wouldn't close his eyes.  So I got up.  He FREAKED out - screaming while saying, "want to cuddle mama"  "Mama lay down with ds"  "want cuddle with mama"

 

I kept trying to say, gently but firmly, Lay down and go to sleep.  We had done LOTS of cuddling (almost half hour), so it was truly just a stall technique.  He HATES going to bed - always has, always will (or at least it feels like it).  I didn't try to the hands on hips thing, I'll try to remember that tomorrow night, but its dark in the room, so I don't know if he'll go for it. 

 

I finally just LOST it at him again - like yelled, "LAY DOWN AND GO TO SLEEP NOW!" b/c he just would.not.be.quiet.  I have such a LOW threshold for annoyance with screaming - thats my one HUGE petpeeve.  Please, do ANYTHING but scream, and I can deal with it pretty calmly.  Screaming for more than a few minutes for anything other than being in pain?  I CANNOT DEAL WITH IT!  It hurts my ears, I HATE it.  Something about the sound just absolutely kills me, and he knows it, and he continuously pushes my buttons with it.  Grrrrrr...................




DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).

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#17 of 19 Old 11-29-2010, 02:33 PM
 
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I really feel for you.  The screaming would totally get to me too.  As I was reading this string, I thought maybe you were almost there with him asking you to leave him alone.  Have you tried letting him have his tantrum while you sit quietly with your head down in the chair next to him?  If he knows that you are there but that you won't engage in "negotiations" or pleading from you, he may eventually get the picture.  I feel this is a better option than yelling at him.  In fact, explaining to him that you will leave when he puts up a fight and actually staying away, I feel, may be better than giving in to the temptation of yelling at him yourself. 

 

My 19 mo old is not quite there yet verbally, but is starting to wake with fits of crying.  I too have a lower milk supply but we nurse more for comfort and as part of our routines.  But even after nursing she will now start crying and refusing to go back to sleep (if she wakes in the night, when she used to go straight back to sleep).  I have resorted to lying down on the floor next to her simply stating that "Mama needs to go night night."  The first time I did this, she cried and whined for 10 minutes, then stared at me while standing for 40 minutes before finally dropping to her knees and eventually laying down calmly.  The last two times, I did this, she did not cry and  resumed laying down.  I too have a short threshold for the crying, and it is very tempting to yell back, but I stuff it because I don't want her to know me as upset when she is frustrated.  We just have to keep finding creative ways to deal with our toddlers!  Good luck to you. ...and start off knowing that you are NOT a bad mama, in fact a great one, because you are seeking answers on a wonderful forum. 

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#18 of 19 Old 11-29-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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Could you adjust it so he has to lie down to get his stories?  And then read to him last?  With DD i did that, she also was very verbal early and hated bedtime.  I had to wean her early but i did stories every night (still do).  If she freaked out i would say "i can't read these stories if you can't lie down/keep still/stop screaming/whatever" and she would generally get a grip.  We also have a bedtime mantra that we say together which seems to help her get the message - once we've said it it's bedtime, any further interactions will be minimal and swift. (fwiw our mantra is quite long and goes "night night. sleep tight.  Don't let the bedbugs bite.  If they bite, bite them back.  Sweet dreams." then one of us will begin "i love you" "i love you too" "i love you three" and so on, until we get to "i love you 10" and then there's one more "night!"  The i love you's generally take place as a back and forth as i descend the stairs :)

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#19 of 19 Old 11-29-2010, 06:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone!  The last few nights have been going a little better - no screaming but it still takes a while for him to fall asleep.  Part of it I think is that he just has so much to say, and he can't get it all in if he's sleeping :eyeroll  Tonight he sat in my lap to nurse, had a mini fit when the breastmilk ran out, drank some of his sippy laying in bed, some of it in my lap, then laid down with his baby (baby stella boy doll - he LOVES it!), and was asleep just a few minutes later - but not before he told me 10x that he needed to play with "Lightning McQueen" (Cars main character). 

 

So, LOTS better but still some work to do.  We'll see how well he sleeps tonight, and hopefully tomorrow is another good day.  Thanks for the support and suggestions!  I really appreciate it!!!!!

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