Bedtime Routine Rarely Ends in Sleep?!?! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 03-27-2013, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS1 (31 months) has always been a challenge when it comes to sleep, has been his whole life. And yeah, we've accepted that and lived with it. Around 18 months we got a good spot where he was only waking 2-3 times a night and it's only gotten better since then. Now we're down to one night waking when he comes in our bed around 1:00-4:00 am and sleeps happily until 6-7:00. It's awesome!

 

But going to bed. Holy cow. What do you do if your bedtime routine hardly EVER ends in sleep? I'd say 1 night a week it works. Over the past 2 years we've tried a variety of routines, making sure to stick with each new for at least several weeks if not months. For a while (age 6 months to one year) we were very strict about sticking to the routine. Then spending 2 hours getting DS1 to bed got to be too much. So we moved on to following his cues in a dim house and just immedietly putting him to bed when he showed signs of sleepiness (1 year until 1.5 years old?). Then we moved back to a routine that takes an hour + (1.5 until now, 2.5 yo). 

 

Now that DS1 has dropped his afternoon nap sleep is easier but STILL we just can't seem to end the evening with a happy routine. No matter if we start on time, late, or early, it's generally been:

 

1. Start bedtime routine

2. Sleep doesn't happen

3. Repeat a part of the routine.

4. Sleep still doesn't happen

5. Do something else.

6. Eventually sleep happens. 

 

Argghhh!!! The kiddo is worn out from the day, has a full tummy, is happy, and must be tired. Sometimes he'll sleep from 7pm-7am, sometimes 8 until 6, sometimes 9 until 7. He's so random. 

 

Anyone have ideas? I kinda assumed he'd be easier to put to bed after two and a half years. But as I type this DH has been upstairs with DS1 for an hour and a half trying to get him to sleep..... 


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#2 of 15 Old 03-28-2013, 09:26 PM
 
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sorry to hear this mama. i am curious ,when you put him to bed do you read books or sing or other soothing techniques?

i asked because we too dim lights and have a routine but when we go to bed it's like my son(24 months) gets excited a little bit and can not just wind down quite yet. so, i sing lots of songs and we read about 5 books.

 

anyone else?

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#3 of 15 Old 03-31-2013, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We don't sing songs but since he loves singing, maybe we should try that. We do read books, cuddle and tell stories, and DS nurses to calm down before bed.


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#4 of 15 Old 04-01-2013, 05:31 AM
 
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We are right there with you. My DS (two and a half) was always a decent sleeper, but lately it takes a holy act to get him to fall asleep at night. Multiple hours every night. I just did another post....I'm beginning to think he just naturally prefers a later schedule because he does sleep in when he stays up late. Sounds like yours doesn't necessarily do that.

I should add that we nurse before bed too. But if he doesn't fall asleep when nursing there is no hope....
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#5 of 15 Old 04-01-2013, 08:07 PM
 
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ugh. mama, do I hear this. WE too have been having sleep difficulties. We were at the point of up to 3 or 4 hours trying to put our DS to sleep. Our marriage is sooooo suffering as a result. When we don't get any chance as parents/partners to have some evening time to ourselves..... well, damn, it's hard. Yesterday we even talked about divorce. ugh, we also need help. 

 

Our DS is now 32 months old and for about 8 weeks (at 29-31 months) I thought we had it down.... but these past 3-4 weeks it is taking him around 1.5 - 2.5 hours or longer. We feel triumphant when it only takes an hour.  The craziest part is that often our son is lying still and quiet in his bed, with his eyes closed (and us lying next to him) and he is just not sleeping.  I don't know what else to do??  We won't do cry it out... but what other ideas/options are there??? 

 

our routine:

 

5-6ish dinner

6:30- upstairs, bath, brush teeth and pjs

7:00 - in bed. kisses and hugs to DP. DP leaves room.

7:15ish - I stay and Read one book (we used to read more, but I read recently from some Waldorf book we have that 1 book is better, even if you read it several times), then we say a prayer. I turn off the light and lay with him. No more talking. 

 

and just to reiterate... often times after 1.5-2.5 hours our son is laying still and quiet in his bed with his eyes closed, but not sleeping. I begin to get frustrated and kiss our DS and tell him that DP will be coming in. In the few short minutes before my DP gets into the room, he often is out of bed and running down the hall.

 

 

WE have tried going to bed earlier and later... and missing nap... and making sure he gets a lot of outdoor play... and  and and and and. 

 

Something I've read about but haven't tried for fear of backfiring is a nighttime snack. And I don't think DS is hungry. After he is asleep, he will sleep through the night or wake up sometime between 3am-6am to crawl into our bed with us. 

 

 

 

please, also help us!!!! 

 

many thanks, J


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#6 of 15 Old 04-02-2013, 06:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We do bath time at 4:00 since it seems to really energize our kiddo. Not sure why but he runs around the house like a crazy person after bath time! The warm water is definitely NOT relaxing for him! Then dinner at 5:00-6:00. DH comes home at 6:00 and we hang out as calmly as we can for half an hour. Then we start bedtime routine (nurse, brush teeth, read, bed) at 6:30. DS1 gets preeeetty tired around 5:00 but we won't let him go to bed that early or he'd be waking at 4 AM! I sometimes wonder if he's overtired by 6:30 rolls around....

 

Queermama- Our kiddo does't nap and even on days when we play outside for hours, he might go to bed 1-2 hours later than we think he should. It's frustrating. :(


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#7 of 15 Old 04-02-2013, 06:32 AM
 
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In my experience, toddlers and preschoolers take their cues from their parents or caregivers. If the person lying beside him/her is waiting to get up and do something else, then the child will remain awake. When the parent dozes, the child will sleep. Not good if you really want to get up and finish your day, I know, but they feel your mood.

I, too, struggled with this issue. I tried really relaxing which helped my son sleep, but I would also sleep. My husband wasn't willing to wake me, but that seemed to me to be the ideal situation. Other than that, a visualization that starts with activity and moves into relaxation might do the trick.
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#8 of 15 Old 04-03-2013, 06:56 PM
 
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pek64: I agree. and even when I fall asleep laying next to my son, I will wake up to find him still awake. But thanks. 


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#9 of 15 Old 04-03-2013, 07:20 PM
 
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Did you try a visualization?
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#10 of 15 Old 04-03-2013, 08:05 PM
 
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What does the "falling asleep" part of things look like?  Do you nurse, then turn out the lights and lie down with him?  It sounds like at some point you give up and start over again? 

 

FWIW, my DD has progressed from a kid who absolutely needed me to put her to sleep to being a kid who falls asleep best on her own over the course of this past year.  The head-stroking, patting, whatever else that I used to do to get her to sleep now keeps her awake.  Is is possible that your LO needs some alone time, or is getting too much stimulation from you?  (BTW, my DD has a very similar schedule, no nap, also generally quite tired by 5 p.m., and is often definitely overtired by bedtime at 6:30.  I'm not sure what there is to be done about it, but I think it IS certainly possible that your LO is getting his second wind right around bedtime. Have you tried giving Calms Forte or anything like that?)

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#11 of 15 Old 04-04-2013, 09:40 PM
 
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 a week later my ds is not going to sleep>>>URRRR!!!!!!!!!! it is very frustrating. and the other night he woke at 2 am for 2 hours of fussing. finally after a few rice puffs and water he could be sang back to sleep but the singing is not working. i think we may have to bring the small speakers into the bedroom and put on a thunderstorm. unfortunately i won't be able to have my computer cause dh is addicted to his too!

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#12 of 15 Old 04-05-2013, 12:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newmamalizzy View Post

What does the "falling asleep" part of things look like?  Do you nurse, then turn out the lights and lie down with him?  It sounds like at some point you give up and start over again? 

 

FWIW, my DD has progressed from a kid who absolutely needed me to put her to sleep to being a kid who falls asleep best on her own over the course of this past year.  The head-stroking, patting, whatever else that I used to do to get her to sleep now keeps her awake.  Is is possible that your LO needs some alone time, or is getting too much stimulation from you?  (BTW, my DD has a very similar schedule, no nap, also generally quite tired by 5 p.m., and is often definitely overtired by bedtime at 6:30.  I'm not sure what there is to be done about it, but I think it IS certainly possible that your LO is getting his second wind right around bedtime. Have you tried giving Calms Forte or anything like that?)

 

Newmamalizzy, tell us more!  How old was she?  How did you do it?  I too am beginning to suspect that I am actually keeping DS awake with my presence, but I am not sure what he would do if I up and left.  I highly doubt he would stay in bed.

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#13 of 15 Old 04-06-2013, 09:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MiddleRiverMama View Post

 

Newmamalizzy, tell us more!  How old was she?  How did you do it?  I too am beginning to suspect that I am actually keeping DS awake with my presence, but I am not sure what he would do if I up and left.  I highly doubt he would stay in bed.

 

She was about 2.5, and at that point I lay on the far side of the bed from her until she was asleep, and she just sung to herself and never took any notice of my presence.  So, I started putting her to bed as normal, then telling her I'd be back to check on her in 5 minutes, and I go back in every five minutes until she falls asleep.  Nowadays I've lengthened the time to 7 - 8 minutes, but basically we do the same thing.  We have a "rule" that if she's not sleepy she's perfectly welcome to get out of bed and play quietly, but I will not come in to check on her (and she may not come out to talk to me) until she is in her bed and ready to go to sleep.  She rarely takes me up on this, generally preferring to sing to herself in bed if she can't sleep.  Works for us because she really doesn't like to spend time alone.  Usually she's asleep by the first or second check.  

 

It's funny, because I think this is essentially the Ferber method, except there's never been any crying because she was just ready.  When there are times that she calls for me, I just remind her that I will come in 5 minutes no matter what, and that regularity really seems to soothe her.  I've made sure to be very consistent about my visits, so she really knows that if she needs me, she doesn't need to call.  I will come.

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#14 of 15 Old 04-07-2013, 11:51 AM
 
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#15 of 15 Old 04-14-2013, 07:02 PM
 
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I too, have a 2.5 year old daughter who has never been a great sleeper, unless she was sleeping with one of us, and never could just put her down and have her fall asleep on her own. (Neither is my DS, who is just about to be 6 months old. My mom tells me I was one of those kids who could do that - but apparently I was not destined to have one of those! I blame my husband's genes! =) )
Like newmamalizzy, in the past few months, I too have come to the conclusion that my DH & I are the limiting factor, at least in part. If we're in the room, it seems to take much longer for her to fall asleep. Somewhere along the line I decided to try the leave and come back to check thing, after we've done the whole bedtime routine - books, singing, nursing. I don't mind lying with her for some period of time, but do long to have evenings to do grown-up things again, even if those grown-up things are laundry/dishes - or watching mindless TV! Plus, my DS also has a bad habit of not staying asleep for long stretches until I go to bed. So, actually, I used him as an excuse when I started - I would have him w/ us in DD's bed, and I'd get up to go put him down, which often turns into him waking up unless the stars are aligned correctly. And then I'd come back to check on her periodically til she was asleep. That worked pretty well for awhile, though on occasion she'd come out of her room looking for me - but would seem genuinely upset/frightened. (we moved not too long before this, so can't say as I really blame her...) I also tried to remind myself that you can't force someone to go to sleep, but I could at least make sure she was resting in bed. (not to say that she never gets out of bed, but most times she would stay put.)

 

In the past month or so, at naptime, I started doing the same thing - get her settled in bed w/ a shortened routine and then I'd turn on her CD that she listens to to go to sleep AND I'd set my cell phone timer & tell her she had to stay in bed until the timer went off. She could read or sing or play quietly with her stuffed animals, but she had to stay in bed. Hug, kiss, "have a good nap" - and I'd leave the room, and that has been working really well. If the timer happens to go off before she falls asleep, she can get up - we all have times when we can't fall asleep even when we're tired after all, but that has happened once. It works so well I actually went and bought a cheap kitchen timer at the dollar store. She loves that thing. "Where's my timer?" I set it for an hour and leave, and most of the time, I just go in the other room, b/c I try (soo soo hard!) to coordinate nap times, and leave to take DS into my room which is right next to hers to settle him in for what is usually a good long nap, thank goodness! By the time I get him settled into his crib or my bed, she's out. The trick is to make sure I get back in there before the timer goes off, lest it wake her. 

 

We've started using the timer at night too, though it could backfire if she did stay awake til it went off, b/c clearly we don't want her getting up that much after she should be asleep! So far, so good though. Not to say that she doesn't sometimes wake up looking for one of us, and she pretty near always ends up in bed with us sometime in the middle of the night, or early early morning if we're lucky - but at least we get some sleep w/ my DH & I in the same bed - if she comes into our room, he either takes her back to her room and falls asleep making sure she's asleep, or lets her in our bed & goes to sleep in the other room. Musical beds - not our preference, but we do all get some sleep that way. (If I'd known we'd end up co-sleeping, I would have gotten the king sized mattress DH wanted in the first place - would've been much more comfortable!!)

 

The other thing we're working on w/ her that has helped me maintain some sense of sanity is trying to move her afternoon nap earlier. The No-Cry sleep books have a handy chart that lists average amounts of "endurable" awake hours for kids of different ages... and for 2-3 year olds, they can stand to be awake about 5-6.5 hours at a stretch before they need a nap (of course, not all kids will match that, but seems to be true for her). So, if she naps from 2-4, then it's not real likely she's going to be able to go to sleep by 7:30 or 8 PM, which I would LOVE! And paying better attention to her, I have realized she's ready for her nap (or at least ready to head to bed for some down time before falling asleep) by 12 or 12:30...I'm shooting to get her asleep by 1 so that we can have the earlier bedtime we want and that she needs, b/c she doesn't sleep in just because she's gone to bed later. When I can make that happen, it really helps a lot. When I can't, then at least I know not to expect her to go to sleep that early. She still starts the wind down pretty early though - I have her come upstairs w/ me while I get DS ready for bed and then I nurse him to sleep while reading to her. She ends up w/ a lot of stories that way before nursing, and then when she seems ready, I leave w/ the timer on, etc. (DH often does bedtime w/ her when he's home at night, but he has a lot of evening obligations, so at least 1/2 of the week, I'm on my own.)

 

I'm with all you other mamas. It sucks to have less-than-good sleepers, esp. when we all know some other families w/ kiddos who sleep so well, so young, and we can start to question what we are doing wrong (at least I do!). And I do try to do what I can do to help move 'em closer to better, longer sleep, not just because I need it, but because their little bodies also need it, but I know it's not just me; a lot of it has to do with the kids themselves... 
hang in there!! 

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