My son is now 17 months and we have been co-sleeping since his birth. He used to fall asleep with nursing, and still does, although now that he's more active and older he needs to walked and sung to, and the time that it takes for him to go to sleep has gotten longer and longer. I feel like this can't be the only successful way to put toddlers to sleep without using the cry it out method. I have no desire to put him in another room and let him cry until he falls asleep. What are your experiences with toddlers bedtime... how long does it typically take them to get to sleep? My son tends to fight sleep, but I know he's tired. We get a bath, we put jammies on, we sing softly, then we nurse and lay down, and then if that's not working we get up and I pace around the room while he nurses and sing. But this is getting so tiring! Man alive!
I have a 16mo. Bedtime takes anywhere from 15mins to an hour+.
This is what we do
- bath (lately this has been a quick wash in the sink as she's decided she prefers her bath in the morning)
- get dressed (often she's happier to get dressed lying on the bed)
- lie down with mummy and daddy and feed to sleep. We close the bedroom door and, if she gets up, she is free to potter around the bedroom/en suite/ walk-in wardrobe but she isn't allowed to go outside. DH and I lie in bed and read our books. We chat to her if she wants interaction. If she wants to go outside we say "No, we're staying in here now, it's time for bed". Sometimes she comes back to bed on her own, sometimes I pick her up and bring her back if she's seeming very tired. Eventually she will be tired enough (or relaxed enough) to fall asleep while she's feeding.
If he is consistently taking a long time to go to sleep could he be ready for a slightly later bedtime? Or some more active, outdoor play in the later afternoon?
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
have you tried just putting him down? i'm not talking about cio, but i think toddlers often need to wind down a bit on their own without parental stimulation. my dd is 18 mos, and i noticed about 2 months ago that the standard nurse and rock and sing routine that i did more or less all along was working less and less well. she just wasn't falling asleep nursing anymore, and she was getting stimulated by me moving around and singing and it just wasn't working. so i just started putting her down in her crib awake. some days i hear her talking to herself a little bit before she falls asleep, but normally she's out within 5-10 min, and i'm feeling much more patient and generous with my time in the middle of the night or early morning if she wakes up, because i didn't fight with her for hours trying to get her to sleep.
now our routine looks like this:
diapers and pjs and soother
go in to her room and sit in the nursing chair, nurse for about 5 min per side. sometimes she gets really sleepy from this, but never goes all the way down.
then, i cuddle her for a minute, lay her down in her crib.
hand her "mr. bunny" and her blanket, tell her i love her and leave the room.
and that's it. maybe once or twice i go in to resettle her. if she whines or cries at all i go in and hug her and lay her down again, but it's very rare, and usually seems to be right on the verge of sleep, cause she's out like 2 minutes later.
Around that time, we started doing a similar routine, but then when it was "bedtime", instead of pacing/singing, DS laid down next to one of us and there was no getting out of bed, no chatting, singing, nursing, etc. Just snuggling in bed laying down. It wasn't ever a fast process, but at least we weren't pacing around with an almost 30 pound toddler. DS is 3.5 and we still do that now...mostly because I actually really enjoy it and will miss it when it comes to an end, though I know many are ready for it to be over much sooner that we are. For now though, you may want to give that a try.
My two older ones are 5 and 7 now, but one thing I notice from toddlerhood onward, is that they go through sleep phases. Sometimes it takes just a few minutes for them to fall asleep, and a few months later, they will lie there for an hour before they conk out.
What has worked best for us (and is still working well with our current almost toddler), is to first do the bedtime routine (i.e. bath, story, nursing, etc.), and then lie down with the child/children, turn down the lights and either read, pretend to sleep, or actually take a nap. But don't interact a lot with the child. Just be a calming physical presence, and send a clear message that it is time to stop playing and go to sleep. If the child gets up, I gently pick her up and put her back in the bed with me and lie down again - repeat until the child stops getting up.
That's what we do. I know a lot of people want their kids to be able to fall asleep without a parent there. I respect that, but I really don't mind resting with my kids in the evening. It's a relaxing way to bond at the end of the day.
Thanks for all of the responses. I have also tried the lying down approach, which has worked well in the past. Lately he has been getting up and sitting across my chest and bouncing on me (lol, I know) or he'll do a "timber" onto the bed. He thinks this is hilarious. And, of course, so do I, but I don't laugh. I just calmly pick him up and place him next to me again. But then after a while, this makes him upset and he throws a fit. Last night was particularly crazy.
I appreciate the notion of sleep phases. I am hoping that this is a phase he'll grow out of, unless its into another phase that is worse :) .
Have any of you worried that your toddlers will be defiant forever... like, they will be the kid that doesn't listen to his/her mother and is just crazy wild? I'm totally terrified. :)