How can I reduce our ridiculously long, drawn out, bedtime routine? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 02-26-2011, 07:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Until 6 months ago, my 26mth old was the kid who woke every 45 minutes. We nightweaned successfully on the 3rd try and sleep has been much better and even through the night since then...
However, the effort it takes to get this little person to sleep in excruciating and can take up to 3.5 hours. Our routine is very predictable - dinner, bath, booboo, snack, books and bed...and from that point, it can take 2 hours of lying with him to get him to go to sleep. We've tried everything. Massage seems to stimulate him, talking about his day helps but he draws it out to the enth degree. We've tried the 3 books and lights out strategy. No go.

The really frustrating thing is that he only does this for us. My sister can get him to sleep in 10 minutes. She reads 3 books, tucks him in, turns off the light and walks away. Occasionally he cries out and all she has to do is come back in, give him another cuddle, and he happily drifts off to sleep. He's more likely to sleep through on the nights she puts him to bed too. It'd be lovely to have her put him to bed every night but other than the fact she lives an hour away and it's not exactly convenient, I'm pretty sure he'd start drawing her out if it's a regular thing too....I get that he is most comfortable with us, his parents and that's why he pushes us further and tries us harder but it's hard not to feel resentful and manipulated.

We've tried earlier bedtime and later bedtime - earlier results in an even longer routine and later is no different and he sleeps poorly because he's so overtired.

Any ideas?

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#2 of 25 Old 02-26-2011, 08:02 PM
 
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Sorry, I don't have any advice... I'm in a very similiar situation.  My DS is also 26 months and it takes so long for his bedtime routine!  Sometimes I lay with him for 2 hours before he falls asleep.... other times, he's STILL not asleep after 2 hours and I bring him back out of his bedroom, when I then decide he will have a very late bedtime.  But he does wake up cranky when he stays up too late.  I know how frustrating it is!  DS actually has been refusing to nap lately (he either fights it or does try to nap but can't).  Those days I have to leave for work by 1:00 pm so I can't lay there forever until he falls asleep, so I just let him not nap that day.  He actually does very well all afternoon even with no nap.  But then he goes to bed very early, at 6:00, and falls asleep FAST because of how tired he is.  I'm not saying you should have your DS skip his nap (I think 26 months is very young for that!) but it does seem to work for my DS.  He goes to sleep at 6:00 and sleeps for 13 hours (with maybe 2 night wakings).

 

I hope you find something that works for your DS!  Sorry I can't help.


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#3 of 25 Old 02-26-2011, 08:17 PM
 
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Wow, I thought our 45-60 minutes routine was outta control!  What is it that he is doing while he is supposed to be sleeping?  Talking?  My dd is 27 months and once we nurse it is a very LOW tolerance policy.  I do not bathe her near bedtime anymore because I find that it makes her hyper.  If she continues to talk, flop around, make requests, play with something I have allowed her to bring to bed - I just don't mess around.  I don't answer her except to give her one warning (if you keep playing with that Mama is going to take it away, no more talking it is time for sleep, etc etc).  I have followed through enough times that she knows I mean business.  And the last straw is always that if she doesn't lay down and go to sleep I will leave and I have only had to do that 2 times and after a meltdown and her realizing I am seriously not putting up with the shenanigans she falls asleep.  I do know that at some point I had to come to terms with bedtime taking this long because that is as short as I can seem to get it but if I were at the point you are I think I would be taking drastic measures!

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#4 of 25 Old 02-26-2011, 08:47 PM
 
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Oh, I forgot to mention something... I read this today on child-led bedtimes.  I don't think it would work for my DS right now because he wouldn't want to go to bed until he's at the point of being extremely overtired (probably around midnight!), but it's something I want to do eventually when he gets older.  Maybe this helps and maybe not, but I just thought I'd share. :)

Here's the article:

http://naturalparentsnetwork.com/child-led-bedtimes/ 


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#5 of 25 Old 02-28-2011, 09:39 AM
 
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DS is only 7 months so I'm no help there, but I do remember reading a few things in Dr. Sears's sleep book about getting a toddler to sleep.  One was loooong lists - for example, saying goodnight to everything in the room, all your body parts (my mom used to do that with me - she'd tell me to start with my head and work my way down).  Another thing I read in his book was to tell a reallly detailed BORING story - I think his example was tell a story about a fishing trip, but instead of making it exciting give every boring detail about the fish being caught.  Basically, the key is be so boring that sleep is a better alternative.

 

Congrats on the nightweaning, btw!!


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#6 of 25 Old 02-28-2011, 09:58 AM
 
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If you want a law school text that will put both of you to sleep let me know!  LOL

 

Anyway, my ds is 25mo, and nighttime got SO much better when I decided I just wasn't dealing with the games anymore.  He's highly verbal, and has always understood me, so I think that might have helped some.  What I did, was I just left.  I tuck him in at night, say, "I love you" a 100 times, and then leave.  If he gets upset I'll peek my head back in and say, "I love you, night night".  Thats it.  It took a few nights at first, but now we do it for naps and bedtime, and he's out in 5minutes flat. 

 

It's hard to imagine that they might actually be ready for that, but I really think that by 2y most kids probably are - they just want us to think they need help going to sleep.  I know my ds will do ANYTHING to delay the inevitable - but when I leave the room its over.  He can't distract himself anymore. Might be worth a try anyway.

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#7 of 25 Old 03-01-2011, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks folks for your offerings. I'm sorry you share my pain. I am feeling so crazy by these shenanigans. I'm done with being a psychopath about sleep.
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Originally Posted by traci447 View Post

Sorry, I don't have any advice... I'm in a very similiar situation.  My DS is also 26 months and it takes so long for his bedtime routine!  Sometimes I lay with him for 2 hours before he falls asleep.... other times, he's STILL not asleep after 2 hours and I bring him back out of his bedroom, when I then decide he will have a very late bedtime.  But he does wake up cranky when he stays up too late.  I know how frustrating it is!  DS actually has been refusing to nap lately (he either fights it or does try to nap but can't).  Those days I have to leave for work by 1:00 pm so I can't lay there forever until he falls asleep, so I just let him not nap that day.  He actually does very well all afternoon even with no nap.  But then he goes to bed very early, at 6:00, and falls asleep FAST because of how tired he is.  I'm not saying you should have your DS skip his nap (I think 26 months is very young for that!) but it does seem to work for my DS.  He goes to sleep at 6:00 and sleeps for 13 hours (with maybe 2 night wakings).

 

I hope you find something that works for your DS!  Sorry I can't help.


It looked like he was dropping his nap for a while a couple of months ago but that phase passed and once he's out, he finally (for the first time ever) has decent 1-2hr naps. Skipping his naps result in the same overtired crappy quality night sleep and an even harder bedtime routine. This kid is a sensitive soul!
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Wow, I thought our 45-60 minutes routine was outta control!  What is it that he is doing while he is supposed to be sleeping?  Talking?  My dd is 27 months and once we nurse it is a very LOW tolerance policy.  I do not bathe her near bedtime anymore because I find that it makes her hyper.  If she continues to talk, flop around, make requests, play with something I have allowed her to bring to bed - I just don't mess around.  I don't answer her except to give her one warning (if you keep playing with that Mama is going to take it away, no more talking it is time for sleep, etc etc).  I have followed through enough times that she knows I mean business.  And the last straw is always that if she doesn't lay down and go to sleep I will leave and I have only had to do that 2 times and after a meltdown and her realizing I am seriously not putting up with the shenanigans she falls asleep.  I do know that at some point I had to come to terms with bedtime taking this long because that is as short as I can seem to get it but if I were at the point you are I think I would be taking drastic measures!

All that is exactly what goes on in our house too. We've tried firm, low tolerance. It infuriates him and he can get quite aggressive and physical. We've tried gentle unwinding, saying goodnight to every freaking thing in the house and all of his body parts too. It all seems to stimulate him. Sometimes I wonder if he's somehow gifted (I use that term with caution and hesitation) because he is so easily stimulated, seems to know a lot for a 26mth old, has advanced fine and gross motor skills and an extraordinary memory...so I wonder if he's truly just got a LOT to think about at bedtime....

Drastic measures...yes...I'm starting to wonder if letting him cry is better or worse that me being crazy and losing the plot at him on a regular basis?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

If you want a law school text that will put both of you to sleep let me know!  LOL

 

Anyway, my ds is 25mo, and nighttime got SO much better when I decided I just wasn't dealing with the games anymore.  He's highly verbal, and has always understood me, so I think that might have helped some.  What I did, was I just left.  I tuck him in at night, say, "I love you" a 100 times, and then leave.  If he gets upset I'll peek my head back in and say, "I love you, night night".  Thats it.  It took a few nights at first, but now we do it for naps and bedtime, and he's out in 5minutes flat. 

 

It's hard to imagine that they might actually be ready for that, but I really think that by 2y most kids probably are - they just want us to think they need help going to sleep.  I know my ds will do ANYTHING to delay the inevitable - but when I leave the room its over.  He can't distract himself anymore. Might be worth a try anyway.


I'm going to try that...I'll try anything! Did you actually let him cry? Where did you draw the line?

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#8 of 25 Old 03-08-2011, 09:11 PM
 
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I used to have to lie down in bed with my DD to get her to sleep too. And it usually took her 60-90 minutes to go to sleep. She would just toss and turn and talk to herself the whole time. I would just fall asleep...5months ago my DS was born and when he was abot two months olds I was having a hard time getting DD to sleep for a nap becase baby wanted to be awake so I started sitting in the rocking chair with him and waiting for her to fall asleep. She was fine with that. Next day when it was nap time and baby was awake again I said to DD( after going throgh the nap routine) that I had to go change baby's diaper and I would come back and check on her in a few minutes. When I came back- she was asleep. That night I decided to do the same and again she was fine!!! Now we go throgh the whole bed time routine then walk with her to the bed, she gets in, we tuck her in and walk out!!! She is 27months old now.

Good luck!

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#9 of 25 Old 03-09-2011, 04:35 AM
 
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My son would always just snuggle to sleep (still would, if I had the patience for it which I don't redface.gif). My DD though sounds like your DC. She just won't unwind with me. So I do like your sister does. A short snuggle (or just a kiss) and then I leave. She did freak out at first but she's 2 and knew where I was. I'd poke my head back in "Sara go to sleep pet, you're tired' or send my DH in for a bit. But really just being firm and realizing that the only way she was going to fall asleep was alone meant we had no option. 2 hours is out of control. I'd lose my mind.

You say he gets infuriated and get aggressive. Well that is dealt with here the way it is during the day. Firmly and with serious consequences.

I think at that age there is a difference between getting pissed off and crying and CIO. A world of a difference here anyway.

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#10 of 25 Old 03-09-2011, 06:42 AM
 
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My DD is only 11 months, so I can't exactly relate.  Nighttime is difficult for us too (usually about 40mins to nurse her to sleep) and she doesn't always like to go down.  We obviously don't use any form of correction yet for her; she's too young to understand! But I would like to just respectfully suggest that perhaps the reason you feel manipulated is because you are being manipulated!  We have friends with a 2 year old and he has always been extremely intelligent and advanced for his age.  If there are no consequences for his actions he can be manipulative and he also gets physical when he doesn't get his way.  I think this is normal for children this age; they are trying to push the boundaries and see how much they can get from you.  Your DS knows your sister won't stay with him for three hours while he puts off sleep - but for mom and dad he can.  As long as he knows that, he'll continue to do it.  I think the only way to resolve the issue is to show him that you will not be staying with him for hours and that bedtime means bedtime.

 

The "cry it out" method is a terrible idea for babies who don't know where you are and can't understand why you've left.  But at his age, he does understand that you aren't abandoning him, and yes he will be angry that you're not following his rules anymore, but kids need correction whether they're manipulating your goodness at nighttime or during the day.  And it will probably involve some tears, because no one enjoys being disciplined.  On the same note though... I wouldn't let him scream for hours on end either... It's a balance.  As his mom, you know best what he's ready for.  Good luck!

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#11 of 25 Old 03-11-2011, 01:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MujerMamaMismo View Post


Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

If you want a law school text that will put both of you to sleep let me know!  LOL

 

Anyway, my ds is 25mo, and nighttime got SO much better when I decided I just wasn't dealing with the games anymore.  He's highly verbal, and has always understood me, so I think that might have helped some.  What I did, was I just left.  I tuck him in at night, say, "I love you" a 100 times, and then leave.  If he gets upset I'll peek my head back in and say, "I love you, night night".  Thats it.  It took a few nights at first, but now we do it for naps and bedtime, and he's out in 5minutes flat. 

 

It's hard to imagine that they might actually be ready for that, but I really think that by 2y most kids probably are - they just want us to think they need help going to sleep.  I know my ds will do ANYTHING to delay the inevitable - but when I leave the room its over.  He can't distract himself anymore. Might be worth a try anyway.




I'm going to try that...I'll try anything! Did you actually let him cry? Where did you draw the line?


Sorry, I didn't see this until now.  I tried to discern between tantrum crying, and crying crying.  If it was tantrum crying (ie, crying b/c he's mad at me, NOT b/c he's scared - with my ds its easy to tell!), and if its crying crying I go in, give a hug and kiss, tell him I'm doing the dishes and leave again.  He can hear me doing the dishes, so I think that helps him know exactly where I am.  If its tantrum crying, I wait a few minutes.

 

I also do a sippy of warm milk at bedtime (I know, bad mommy!), and that also helps.  We read some favorite bedtime stories, and then I give hugs and kisses and cuddles and leave.  It is the ONLY thing that has worked!

 

Sometimes it took being a bit firm, "DS, I love you.  I'm doing dishes, its night night time.  Lay down and close your eyes"  I will tell you though, the times it is hardest to get him to lay still, are the times that he is O-U-T the fastest.  The other day I literally could not seem to get him to lay down, so I just put him in the bed, gave him a kiss and ran out the door before he could follow.  I swear, he was out cold within like 30 seconds!!  He also has a few lovey's, so I think that helps too.

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#12 of 25 Old 03-11-2011, 02:08 PM
 
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Hi, I just posted this on someone else's thread, but it may be helpful to you as well.  In my opinion, if you want to help him fall asleep on his own without you present, that you should try the most gentle way possible.  I don't believe kids are staying awake or cry for us to be "bad kids", they just want that closeness with their mama (or daddy).  I understand that there comes a point where you have to make a change, and if the bedtimes are ridiculously long and drawn out and it's causing you a lot of stress, then you should probably do something about it.  I just came across this article the other day and I hope it's helpful to you!  It's basically about how transitions are hard for babies/kids and they are going to cry, but you can be respectful of them and still try and respond to their needs, without doing CIO.

 

http://naturalparentsnetwork.com/allowing-crying/ 

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#13 of 25 Old 03-11-2011, 03:39 PM
 
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You're counting everything from dinner onward as the bedtime routine, when really, the routine for bedtime should be much shorter so you can do it in a pinch if it's later than normal.  I'd only call your books-bed-snuggle as the real bedtime routine.  Everything dinner to snacks is part of your evening, and you may be giving him food too close to bedtime in the snack part.  If he's getting food less than 2 hours before bedtime, he's likely getting too much energy from the food (this isn't from some grand source I can point you to, but from my own experience with my kids).  You could move his snack to earlier in the evening and add another evening activity, like art time, to take up the time before bed, if snacktime is usually less than two hours from bedtime.  If my kids were doing this, I would change the bedtime routine altogether and let them know earlier in the day about it.    

 

I'd change the routine and say something like this: "we have new bedtime rules!  We read two books, say two things we liked about the day, get goodnight-snuggles for two songs, then go to sleep.  We all need lots of good sleep and the new bedtime rules will help everybody be happy."  I might even point out that we are doing it in 2's because he's 2 years old.  I'd give him the spiel a few times during the day, then let him be involved... let him pick the books, pick the songs, etc.  The first few days we set any new routines, the kids would pitch fits, sometimes major, sometimes minor.  After the first few days of sticking it out, they get it and even begin to like it.  Other notes - at my house the bedtime routine would more realistically be something like this: go potty, brush teeth, jammies on, two books, DS gets in bed, mom turns off lights, we say two things we liked about the day, snuggles for two songs, dad comes in for "good night," mom says "good night," mom and dad leave.  This is too long of a routine to verbalize for a 26-month old and doesn't have the nice sound of all the 2's listed like they were.  He'll pick up on the rest of the routine as you do it, but focusing on something like the 2's, which might make sense to him, can help him get used to the idea.  Also, when he calls you back in, in the first few nights, be ready and willing to go in and kiss him a few times, but after 3 times or so, I'd say, "we're all done with the bedtime rules and now we all need to go to sleep!  I can't come in anymore.  I love you, good night."  He'll keep calling, I'd call back that we're going to bed and I love him, good night, for a few times.  He'll likely pitch a fit the first night or 2 (or 3), but I wouldn't go back in because we have to follow the "rules."  After he stopped the fit, at which point he's likely asleep, I'd go in and tuck him in again.  In the morning, I'd talk about how great I slept because of the rules and ask him how he slept.

 

That's what I'd do.

 

Another thought, which isn't something I've done often with my kids for calming them but works great for me personally, is meditation before bed.  I did this when my first son started having nightmares and it worked great.  You could teach him to meditate, slow his breathing and such and imagine what he wants to dream about.  When I started doing this with DS1, I would instruct him to close his eyes and take a deep breath, doing it myself, then I would tell him that he can decide what he wants to dream about and I'd encourage him to think about the things he wants to dream about, giving examples.  This may help and it may not, for your purposes.  After all, I usually mention things like playing at the park, playing with grandma, playing in water, flying through the trees like a bird, eating yummy food, etc.  All this could be stimulating instead of relaxing.  So you might have to come up with something that isn't quite so exciting for him but still good to dream about.  

 

Good luck!

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#14 of 25 Old 03-11-2011, 03:39 PM
 
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sorry i'm of little help as i'm in the same boat with my 4 year old. For us it only took 30 minutes for sleeping but then we night weaned... now on a good day it's an hour... on a bad day it's...........

 

i've had pretty good luck with a water bottle he can drink from and pretending to fall asleep... unfortunately then i fall asleep...  The best I've done is to not allow naps best i can anymore :( which is hard in in itself but if he naps the process takes even LONGER.)


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#15 of 25 Old 03-11-2011, 04:25 PM
 
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Our bedtime was a big production at that age too. It gradually improved. She weaned when she turned 3, so that took out one piece of it. Then I'd have to lay with her for a while and try to not fall asleep with her. Then somewhere along the line, kind of out of the blue, I realized my laying there was keeping her awake, so I started trying to just get up and leave after hugs and kisses. Sometimes she'd whine and call for me for about one minute before conking out, but she never cried (well, not never. But if she did I'd come back and try again once she was settled). Eventually she figured out that she falls asleep better alone. Also, why multiple books? I'm glad I never did more than one--I don't think dd has any concept that more than one book is even an option. As she's gotten older the books she wants to read are longer and more complex and one picture book can take 20 minutes.

 

So maybe you could try cutting the number of books back? And try to see what happens if you leave before he's asleep? If he just whines and fusses for a minute but then goes to sleep I don't see that as being problematic. If he gets really upset and cries, obviously that's a different story. Also, is a snack necessary? He just had dinner before his bath and nursed right after. From what you are doing now I would think working towards cutting the snack, reading fewer books, and figuring out how to peacefully leave the room before he falls asleep.

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#16 of 25 Old 03-11-2011, 04:40 PM
 
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My son is 28 months and likes to try the same thing.  Draw everything out until it's waaaaayy too late.  I usually read books then say our good nights then tuck him in.  He plays with his gloworm and sometimes looks at a book but I never go back into the room unless he's absolutely inconsolable.  Then we have to lay in mommy's bed until he falls asleep.  Sometimes he won't go to sleep until 11:30 pm.  My son also seems super stimulated. He's very sensory - his current addictions are fans washing machines, and hairdryers.  He's super smart as well. It's like his brain just won't turn off. 

 

Have you tried white noise in his room at night?  We run a fan to drown out the noise of what is still going on in the rest of the house.  Or my other suggestion would be books on tape.  He can listen to a story and turn his brain "off", and the monotone voice on tape can lull him to sleep. 

 

Tell us what works.....

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#17 of 25 Old 03-13-2011, 09:09 AM
 
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I just went through this with my 2 yr old dd.  A few months ago DH started EMTschooling and was going to be gone frequently at night.  I  am also pregnant with #3 and knew things had to to change.  Night times with my DD was taking two plus hours, I was getting angry and was at time losing my patience.  My 4yr old DS has anxiety issues, I still laid with both of them.  I wanted to change things before the baby came.  I knew DS couldn;t handle going to sleep without being at least able to see me, he has issues with thinking people are going to leave when you don't see them.  I tried the whole leaving him for a just a minute stuff when he was younger, but he literally could not handle it.  I understand OP why it can be really difficult and the extremeness of the meltdown when you leave him alone.  I decided that I would tuck the kids into bed, DD in the family bed, and DS in a toddler bed along the wall in the same room.  I sit right outside the door in a rocking chair, and read a long stonry very slowly.  If they are not asleep after the story I turn on music and still sit in the rocking chair.  The first few night DD got up out of bed and I just put her back in.  DS had no issues and went tight to sleep, becuase he knew exactly where I was. DS was and still is asleep within 15-29 minutes.  Now DD went from 2 hours to maybe 30 mintues, but most nights within 15 minutes.  I could not have just tucked them in and walked away, neither one of them could have handle that, so I just stay where they can see and hear me.  It has literally been a life saver for me.  I was getting to the point of being a mean mom, yelling, threantening them to go to sleep bc I was stressed by the two hours.  Something had to change, and it has without screaming, crying, or meltdown, from mommy and the kids.  Good luck OP.


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#18 of 25 Old 03-13-2011, 09:37 AM
 
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My DS is 21 months, and we just went through this.  I stopped snuggling him to sleep, and when I stopped doing that, the bed time routine went WAY down.  This is what we do:

 

Dinner, bath, jammies, teeth, books, bed.  For about a week/10 days, I stood by his crib and held his hand while he went to sleep.  Now I sit in the rocker in his room and read my Kindle until he goes to sleep.  It typically takes about 5-10 minutes for him to drop off.  When I was snuggling him to sleep, he would pet my arm, face, twiddle hair, any.bare.skin.there.was. for HOURS.

 

We do the same thing (minus the bath and jammies) for nap.  He knows what his night-night books are (Llama, Llama, Red Pajama and On The Night You Were Born).  When my 16 year old DD puts him down, she reads him Green Eggs and Ham too - that's Mimi's Night Night book.

 

Also, we are reading stories at 7.  Any later, and it takes an hour or more.  DS has a very, very small window of opportunity for sleep!!

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#19 of 25 Old 03-13-2011, 10:01 AM
 
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My kid is  a similar age and queen of the stalling technique - one more story, one more drink, one more cuddle etc. Except that it's never ever just one more and she gets progressively whinier as what she really needs is to sleep.

 

I've had success lately with trying to manage her expectations. As we go through the bedtime routine I explain what we're doing, so, 'We'll have one more story, one more cuddle, a last drink, a kiss and then you're going to go to sleep'. As we do each thing I go through the items we still need to do. Mostly she settles fairly easily now. If she doesn't settle then I go back in, lie her back down and tuck her in again but don't talk to her. Lying with her or staying in the room doesn't work as she sees it as a challenge to try and engage me in conversation. 'MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY where is my bear, need to look at the moon, am bouncing on my trampoline (bed)!'

 

I also give her some choices - she gets to choose which three stories we read and where we read them (downstairs or in bed) which she seems to appreciate.

 

 

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#20 of 25 Old 03-14-2011, 03:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions. There's actually a few things in there that we haven't tried....of course, for a minute there I thought we weren't going to have to try anything because he had a few miraculous nights of going to sleep on his own last week but he's been sick this week and now it's worse than it's ever been. Tonight he required both of us to stay with him for a painful 2 hours of stalling.

I am interested in the crying stuff but worry about his safety because he throws himself around and tries to come out to see us. What do you folks whose kids are in beds, as opposed to cribs, do about the constant getting up?

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#21 of 25 Old 03-14-2011, 03:49 AM
 
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions. There's actually a few things in there that we haven't tried....of course, for a minute there I thought we weren't going to have to try anything because he had a few miraculous nights of going to sleep on his own last week but he's been sick this week and now it's worse than it's ever been. Tonight he required both of us to stay with him for a painful 2 hours of stalling.

I am interested in the crying stuff but worry about his safety because he throws himself around and tries to come out to see us. What do you folks whose kids are in beds, as opposed to cribs, do about the constant getting up?


My son is in a bed, and I was worried about the constant getting up, b/c he did it when I was in the room, but he doesn't do it when I'm not in the room.  I don't have a night light though, so when the lights are out its dark (but I do live in NYC, so there is a bit of a city glow even when its darkest out).  The first few nights, I would just go in and tuck him back in and leave.  For us the first few nights were the worst, and then it evened out.

 

If you're worried about him throwing himself around, just make sure theres as little stuff in the room for him to hurt himself on (like shoes in the middle of the floor), my ds only throws himself around when he has an audience - its like not having an audience doesn't inspire him to be dramatic. 

 

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#22 of 25 Old 03-14-2011, 04:01 AM
 
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My DD is 4 now, so past this, but when she got up i put her back.  Over and over.  Once 96 (not kidding) times in one evening.  But she got the message.  I didn't speak to her really, i just picked her up and carried her back to bed and put her down and tucked her in and said "night night" and walked out.  Rinse and REPEAT.  The more she did it the less i interacted, the last 40 or so times were done in complete silence.

 

Bedtime is hard, for a lot of kids sleep is hard.  Your son sounds very smart, that makes it even harder!  But i felt i had to set boundaries about bedtime, and about behaviour, however hard it got.  My DD tried being aggressive - sorry, no violence in our family.  NONE.  When she was aggressive i told her "We do not hit one another", put her on her bed, and walked away.  I certainly wasn't going to stay and teach her by my actions that a bit of aggression gets you what you want, or even give her a "good night" as if she hadn't done anything wrong.

 

We do (and have done since about 14months) bath, milk, teeth, stories and talk about day with cuddles, bedtime.  I say "night NIGHT, sleep TIGHT, don't let the bedbugs BITE, if they BITE..." and DD says "bite them back!" and i say "sweet dreams, love you" and she says "love you too" and sometimes we go on up "love you 3, love you 4" but more often now she says "love you 10 i win!" and i say "love you 10 as well, joint winners" and then i say "night night" and that's it.  

 

Firmness, persistence and loving confidence that you're honestly doing right by him are key.

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#23 of 25 Old 03-14-2011, 04:55 AM
 
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I am interested in the crying stuff but worry about his safety because he throws himself around and tries to come out to see us. What do you folks whose kids are in beds, as opposed to cribs, do about the constant getting up?

"I will be back in 5 minutes. You have to stay in your room. Leaving your room is not an option. Get back in bed" and then hold the door if necessary to make the point that leaving the room is not an option and will not be tolerated.

I was not as strict with my son b/c he was different. But for my DD who will NOT fall asleep in a reasonable length of time for me (I really have NO patience for a 2 hour bedtime routine!) I had to be that firm and uncomprimising b/c SHE needs to fall asleep alone. There is no alternative. Lying with her for 2 hours is no more a reasonable option than standing on my head in the garden until she falls asleep.

So, having it like that in my head was helpful. She adjusted in no time. Kids are very flexible, IME. I made the mistake with my first of not having high enough expectations.


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

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#24 of 25 Old 03-14-2011, 07:01 AM
 
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The few times she did get up were the first few nights of the new routine, I just picked her back and put her back in bed and said good night.  I read stories right out side the door, and that really helps my kids.  After teh first story is over I turn on music on my laptop and play on the computer till they fall asleep.  I think seeing me really helps them stay calm, DS can't handle not knowing where i am and can't handle being alone or left. 


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#25 of 25 Old 03-14-2011, 07:28 AM
 
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Just wanted to thank all the mamas who posted on this thread. I used some of your suggestions last night to try to change our bedtime routine. It was a bit tricky because of the time change this week-end, so I went in expecting the first hour to be a write off. I prepared DD all day with the concept of the new routine: 2 stories of her choosing, 2 songs of her choosing, 2 times goodnight, 2 I love you's, and then mama goes away and DD goes to sleep.

 

She got up 5 times, and everytime, I intercepted her and brought her to bed, patiently telling her it was time for sleep, night night, I love you. By the 5th time, I told her if she got up again, I would be shutting the door, which she dreads. There were a few minor set backs, like turning on the little electric aquarium to babble at the fish, or playing with her toys. I had to come in and ask her if I had to take them away. After that, no more playing. I basically sat right outside the bedroom door, out of sight, with the door open. Every time she cried, or called me, I would stick my head back through the door frame, tell her it was time for sleep, I love you and goodnight. By 20h50 (which was really 19h50 due to the time change), she had stopped crying and was just whining, calling my mom to come for her.

 

After that, she was asleep by 21h05, so it took 15 minutes.

 

For our first night, I'd say it was a smashing sucess. I made very sure to congratulate and praise her this morning (especially because she never came to my bed during the night).

 

Hope tonight goes as well!

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