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#1 of 8 Old 10-24-2012, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We've been having nightly 3 and 4 hour battles to get DS (3 yrs old) to sleep. They occasionally involve some yelling and the stress and tension gets really high. I know intellectually where his brain development is, but I just want to make him understand that if he doesn't go to bed, Mommy and Daddy are going to go crazy. We have a routine. It's not set in stone, but it was working for awhile--bath, dinner, brush teeth and pjs, maybe one tv show. We were using tv way too much and we've cut waaaay down, which also seemed to help for a while. But now it's just.. .a power struggle. Every night. I do what I can to stay calm, to not be the one out of control. Sometimes that backfires because he doesn't think I'm serious anymore. And then i question using force to keep him in bed, because it's not really a lesson I want him to learn--that bigger people can control him. 

I feel like it's probably a phase, and this morning DH got him out of bed early to make sure he's ready for bed at a reasonable hour (our schedule has been off as well). Can anyone just tell me it gets better? To keep on with being as gentle as possible because it's worth it? 

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#2 of 8 Old 10-24-2012, 11:36 AM
 
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I'm guessing he is no longer taking a nap?


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#3 of 8 Old 10-24-2012, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He still takes a nap at daycare, but we skip it on the weekends usually (unless he obviously needs one). I think he's probably in the process of either dropping the nap or not needing it every single day. He's much crankier at dinner time without the nap, but then he won't go to bed before 11 if he takes one. So I'm not sure what to do. Skip it entirely? Make it 20 minutes long? 

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#4 of 8 Old 10-24-2012, 12:02 PM
 
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That's a sure sign of transition, and it will take a couple of weeks to adjust.  He needs to not fall asleep at daycare, and tht can be hard, because daycares often require it (and are required to offer it).  This would be so much easier if he was in a private home.

 

Anyhow, that is your first step, and it will be a transition.  He is going to be cranky and dead tired in the evenings for a while.  You might try the 20 minute nap, but that can be a bear, too.  Try moving dinner forward AMAP, which can be hard if you are working, but it helps.  Then have some quiet time, stretch out story time.  Once he seems to be adjusting, move bedtime later by 15 or 30 minutes every couple of days.

 

That could solve your trouble for a while, and if it does, in the meantime try to come up with a better strategy for bedtime, because this will probably reoccur after a few months or years.  There will come a time for some of us when the energy expended to get reluctant kids to bed and asleep does not equal the free time afterwards.

 

Some parents swear by letting their child read in bed quietly for as long as they want.  Since I need tons of sleep and my 8yo daughter very few, I simply go to bed with them.  I know, not the preferred solution, especially if, unlike me, you don't need 9 hours of shut eye every night!

 

Hopefully we'll get some other perspectives on this soon....

 

eta:  check with the daycare to see how long the kids are napping for.  If kids take long naps, they usually wake up partway through before drifting off again.  Just to be sure, check that the daycare doesn't take unusual steps to make naps as long as possible.  


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#5 of 8 Old 10-24-2012, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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They're really good about napping requests--We already had them shorten his naps from 2 hours to 45 minutes. I used to let him sit in bed and read quietly, but that has changed into jumping on the bed time... 

I DO wish he was in a private home. We did that last year, and it was amazing. We loved the sitter, and DS was like part of their family. But it got too expensive and too far to drive. The daycare here on campus is actually really high quality and I really like the staff. I've just been waffling about the nap thing because he gets SO cranky at dinner time and it's like pulling teeth to get him to eat anything besides peanut butter and jelly. He has to be in a good mood and hungry for all the planets to align and for him to eat good food and try anything new. Sigh... 

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#6 of 8 Old 10-24-2012, 01:23 PM
 
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Typical 3 yo!  My youngest is 6 now and she is still a monumentally picky eater, too.  

 

Sounds like your son has a lot of energy to fight for what he wants.  Maybe by the time bedtime rolls around, you are cranky with all the struggles you've had already?  Are there some places to give in a bit so you have the energy to focus on the battles that really matter to you?  PBJ sounds like a fine dinner, if it came with juice and carrot sticks.  That's coming from a mom whose 6yo will eat nothing but yogurt all day, or corn chips, so a PBJ sounds like a brilliant break from our routine!

 

He might not be tired enough at night after daycare. Or his body isn't tired enough, even though his brain is.  Or he misses you and wants more time together.  Maybe he needs jump-on-the-bed time before settling down.  Maybe he's just testing your limits, and you should just go to bed and ignore his bed jumping. Staying up late isn't fun for little kids if it means by themselves.  Let him stay up if it means he'll be quiet (then he could go back to a 2-hour nap?)  Or in his room playing by himself.  That limits adult activities, for sure, but could solve some of his autonomy issues.  

 

So many ideas, if you can make the break from the "rules" like "kids need X amount of sleep at night" or "you're setting a bad precedent if....." or "the only way for parents to not be crazy is to put the kids to bed."  "Kids need ABC for dinner" or "they need to eat what we eat".  There are so many places we can set ourselves up for battles we don't necessarily want to fight.   Then we wind up with the kind of kid who will find those places and make us rethink our resolve to fight them.  You don't need to struggle with all of it.  If it is exhausting you, pick the ones that matter and let the others go.


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#7 of 8 Old 10-24-2012, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ALL THE THINGS MATTER!! *crazy eyes*

 

Yeah.. I think I do need to pick my battles. I just have to make sure they're same battles as DH. Food is top priority for me because we just had to spend $3000 getting DS's teeth fixed. But bedtime is a priority for DH because we both need the solitude in the evening to wind down or we can't sleep. So we end up staying up ridiculously late just to get our introvert alone time. I'll have to sit down with him and talk about it. 

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#8 of 8 Old 10-24-2012, 02:09 PM
 
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A conversation with your dh is a great place to start.  And who knows, maybe your ds is old enough to talk with about this?  I wouldn't say "we will turn into stark raving lunatics if you stay up" orngtongue.gif but kids can surprise you (even 3yos) and it might go a long way towards resolving some of the autonomy struggles you are experiencing.


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