Can you establish a structured bedtime with a co-sleeping toddler? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 01-10-2014, 07:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My baby is 2.5 and still co-sleeps. We are totally fine with this arrangement. But we've been really lazy about bedtime, thus far. She kind of falls asleep on the couch with us while we do our own nightime routine, and then we take her up to bed with us when we go to bed. This worked out fine when she was a frequently nursing baby! But now, I feel like she might not be getting enough sleep. She is staying awake later and later, and loves her solo time with us (she has older siblings who go to bed before she does!) and it's getting a little out of control. Some nights, she's still wide awake when we go to bed at 10pm, and she has to get up at 6am to go to daycare!

We have a toddler bed in our room, and I optimistically hoped to be able to put her to bed there, after a story and snuggles, and then she could sleep with us if/when she woke up during the night. This did work for awhile during the summer, but she started getting stubborn and angry about it, and would NOT fall asleep, and I didn't feel comfortable pushing it.

I've also considered just taking her up to my bed, doing her story and routine there, and then just reading a book - myself - while I wait for her to zonk out. This also worked, a couple of times, but as soon as she realized what was up, she stopped allowing it, and just sits up and asks to go downstairs, or climbs out of bed and runs to the baby gate at the top of the stairs and calls her dad. =P

So I'm not really sure how to begin. I really feel like she's ready to have a more established bedtime, like her older siblings (they go to bed at 8 and 8:30 respectively), and she definitely needs more sleep! Can this be done, with a co-sleeper? Do I just need to be more persistant?

The sad thing is that I did this same thing with my older two, and everything went fine? Why is it not working, this time?! I suppose because she's definitely the most stubborn out of the three? Haha.
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#2 of 11 Old 01-10-2014, 06:01 PM
 
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I've co-slept with both my dk until they were 3-4, and they always had an early bedtime (around 8pm).

I don't mean to judge you, but allowing only 8 hours of sleep for a 2.5 year old is not fair.

 

What I used to do since they were babies is have our nighttime routine, then nurse to sleep or lay in bed with them until they were asleep. Then I would have a couple of hours for myself in the evening, and I joined them later.

 

What if you refused to let her go downstairs or climb out of bed? If she wants her dad, maybe she would sleep better for him?

I know my dh was a lot better at putting dk to sleep once they were out of the nursing-to-sleep stage.

 

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#3 of 11 Old 01-12-2014, 01:23 PM
 
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Ugh I am in the same boat. We have a 21mth old also. Similar sleep patterns with an older sibling that goes to bed early. My partner and I juat want her to get enough sleep and maybe some quiet time in the evening. Co sleeping is fine just want her in bed earlier. She also just gets up out of bed when she doesnt want to be there. Short of tying her there she will not stay lol what do we do???
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#4 of 11 Old 01-12-2014, 01:33 PM
 
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Weve always had a structured bedtime, usually dim lights, supper/yoghurt/kefir, stories, lights out, nurse baby to sleep. I co sleep with my 23mth old, 5yo, and 8yo. Our routine hasnt changed since my 8yo starting eating yoghurt.

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#5 of 11 Old 01-12-2014, 01:36 PM
 
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We've always had structured bedtimes for our co-sleepers. One of us stays with them until they're asleep. At the moment I sleep with and settle DD2 as she is still fed to sleep and DH does DD1.

DD2 is too little to climb out of bed yet but, if DD1 does/did then we just bring her back and tell her it's time to sleep. Sometimes it takes a long time for her to wind down, especially if she hasn't had a very active day but other times it can be fairly quick.

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#6 of 11 Old 01-13-2014, 05:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I guess we just need to be persistant. She's just so flipping stubborn! I'm happy to lay with her until she falls asleep, but she won't even allow that, anymore. As soon as I lay down with her, she will comletely lose it, because she has no desire to go to bed. She'll just keep repeating "Downstairs, downstairs! I want to go downstairs!" And this continues, which of course disrupts the other kids who are trying to sleep.

Maybe I'll put my foot down and try to force a set bedtime on a weekend, so it's less of an issue for the older two if they get no sleep while she fights it out? =P

She's also refusing to nap, lately, so I know she's not getting nearly enough sleep. She has absolutely no intention of sleeping. It's just bizarre to me.
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#7 of 11 Old 01-13-2014, 11:22 AM
 
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She wants to be with you.  Could you let her sleep downstairs? I think the reason it has always worked for me is that i go to bed at the same time as the kids, and the bed is near the main living area. Thats how it works for us. 

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#8 of 11 Old 01-14-2014, 05:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That's what we had been doing. Just putting her to sleep in the living room while we do our nightime routines (laundry, etc). This worked out well when she was a baby, because she was still nursing quite a bit so she needed to be close to me, and she has older siblings that we didn't want to disturb. Now that she's older, she's pushing bedtime back further and further, and refusing to go to sleep.

The holidays made it worse, as our schedule was all over the place due to travelling, dinners, etc. So now we're just looking to get back on track with a new routine with more structure.

We tried it last night. I figured that her older siblings go to bed around 8pm, so I put her down at 7:30 thinking it'd give me time to get her to sleep before I had to put the others to bed. WRONG! Haha. I gave her a bath, put her in her PJ's, brought her into the bed, and was planning on laying with her reading stories until she fell asleep. Instead, she flipped out as soon as I set her on the bed, said she wanted to go downstairs, told me she didn't want stories, and then started calling her dad (she knew he'd rescue her). Instead, he layed down with her and told her he was going to read her the story. She calmed down somewhat (she was still crying), but still wouldn't go to sleep. I was able to escape for a bit to go put the others to bed, and then went back up because she was calling me. She didn't go to sleep until closer to 9:30, two full hours after we had put her to bed. And we had to stay with her. And ended up just going to bed when she did. Blah.

We'll just keep doing it, and hopefully she'll cave and realize that bedtime is bedtime, and is non-negotiable. Baby steps? =/
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#9 of 11 Old 01-15-2014, 05:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Tried the same thing last night, and we bought ourselves an extra hour. She finally caved and went to sleep at 8:30, an hour after we put her down. I'll tentatively call that progress?

She did turn to me at one point and say "I'm sorry, Mommy, but I want Daddy!" What a goof, haha. So Dad came up and snoozed with her for a bit, again. Maybe I should just put him in charge of toddler bedtime.
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#10 of 11 Old 01-17-2014, 03:37 AM
 
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Glad to hear that you are making progress smile.gif

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#11 of 11 Old 01-31-2014, 10:25 AM
 
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I agree that it's best to be persistent about putting her to bed, IN BED, earlyish.  My son was a lot like you describe--he started out easily getting the sleep he needed in a wonderfully flexible way, but as he reached preschool age, and especially as he quit napping, we needed to be much firmer about bedtime.  Here's a lot of detail on how our sleep strategies evolved.  I think that winding her down in the place where you want her to sleep for the night, and staying there with her until she's conked out, is the best approach.  Ideally, you and your partner should take turns so that both of you are "able" to get her to sleep; it'll give you more flexibility in dealing with your other kids and other activities.

 

Can she fall asleep with the light on?  We had a long stage when our routine was that the bedtime parent would read stories to the kid, then say good night and lie next to him silently reading my own book.  He was soothed by my presence, with no interaction to keep him alert--but I felt like I was "doing something" so didn't get restless and resentful.  I recently talked with a relative whose daughters (3 and 4) won't go to sleep with a lamp on in the room, but he's able to sit in a chair reading on his Kindle, since the screen isn't very bright and is turned away from them; it's his one reading time every day, and he treasures it!


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