setting gentle limits for 4.5 yo - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-14-2014, 11:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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setting gentle limits for 4.5 yo

1. I need 4.5 yo DS to STTN in his own room.
2. I need him to fall asleep at night in less than 30 minutes.
3. I need to do this gently!

I nurse DS to sleep at naptime, in usually, 10 minutes. He falls right asleep.

He wakes up for the day around 6AM and we *try* to nap by about 12:30. He'll nap for about 1.5 hrs.

Our evening routine includes bath or shower, books for 20-30 min. lights out at 8, nurse for about 10 minutes and then cuddle 'till he falls asleep. This is where I get really annoyed some nights. He'll flop around, toss and turn, talk, talk, talk and just take seemingly f-o-r-e-v-e-r to go to sleep.

I've tried earlier lights out, later lights out, earlier naps, no naps - but ohmy, no naps means he's a mess by 6pm and falls asleep by 7 ish but then is awake by 11pm and hard to get back to sleep.

On a more "normal" night, he falls asleep by about 9:00 and then wakes up between midnight and 2ish to ninja into our bed. I'll just wake up and woah, there he is I enjoy it and on the count-on-one-hand times he's slept 'till 4 or 5, I've missed him! My DH on the other hand is over it. He's a light sleeper and has been pretty miserable for oh, 4.5 years!

I would like advice for helping DS fall asleep faster and for helping him stay in his bed.

When I've tried to even nurse, cuddle and then go sit in his rocking chair in his room, he complains that he needs company and wants to hold my hand. He's a pretty attached little guy - we homeschool and doesn't like to be away from me. As long as he knows I'm near, he's very outgoing and adventurous. Anyway, I feel sad to leave him and I'm not sure he's *ready* to stay in his room all night. But, something has to change for DH. He's been super supportive of nursing and our partial co-sleeping thus far but he's tired and I understand. He also doesn't like it when I stay in DS's room all night - he wants his wife and I understand that, too. I like cuddling with hubby, too! Ideally -- I'd love for us all to be together but sigh....

I'm wondering if we put his twin bed in here for him to crash on when he comes in would help? Or getting a King? Or how can I gently help him to stay in his room? I was hoping he would naturally want to be in his room someday soon, but I just read the post about 7+ still cosleeping. I'm afraid that would be our DS!

Thank you.

Casey
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Old 06-15-2014, 09:41 AM
 
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I don't pretend to have all the answers, so take this as you will. It's just an outline of my own experience.

Might need to take it one at a time. Which is more important, having your son go to sleep faster or having him stay in his own room?

Dd1, now 9.5, was in our room until she was around six. She's been going through a phase of having a really hard time falling asleep, mostly in the year or so since my mom died, so I lie down with her every night. She occasionally says she's really grateful I don't think she's too old for that. She doesn't sleep well out of her own space, now, so only comes into our room if she's had a bad dream. I had a lot of nighttime anxiety/insomnia as a kid and outgrew it, so I'm banking on her outgrowing it as well. Once she's asleep, she generally stays asleep.

Dd2, age 5, will nurse at bedtime and fall asleep fairly readily, but then, like your son, joins us most nights. Some nights she does the talk/laugh/not settle down thing, but I find it's easiest just to calmly tell her to settle down....for as long as it takes. She's very clear that she comes to our room because she wakes up and feels lonely. The nights she sleeps through are usually following extra active days.

The girls share a bedroom, BTW, so it's not just about having someone in the room; dd2 needs the physical contact. They don't show a lot of interest in sharing a bed--I've floated the idea of pushing their beds together but always run into problems with where the stuffed animal companions would go....

Mom of two girls.
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Old 06-15-2014, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by claras_mom View Post
I don't pretend to have all the answers, so take this as you will. It's just an outline of my own experience.

Might need to take it one at a time. Which is more important, having your son go to sleep faster or having him stay in his own room?

Dd1, now 9.5, was in our room until she was around six. She's been going through a phase of having a really hard time falling asleep, mostly in the year or so since my mom died, so I lie down with her every night. She occasionally says she's really grateful I don't think she's too old for that. She doesn't sleep well out of her own space, now, so only comes into our room if she's had a bad dream. I had a lot of nighttime anxiety/insomnia as a kid and outgrew it, so I'm banking on her outgrowing it as well. Once she's asleep, she generally stays asleep.

Dd2, age 5, will nurse at bedtime and fall asleep fairly readily, but then, like your son, joins us most nights. Some nights she does the talk/laugh/not settle down thing, but I find it's easiest just to calmly tell her to settle down....for as long as it takes. She's very clear that she comes to our room because she wakes up and feels lonely. The nights she sleeps through are usually following extra active days.

The girls share a bedroom, BTW, so it's not just about having someone in the room; dd2 needs the physical contact. They don't show a lot of interest in sharing a bed--I've floated the idea of pushing their beds together but always run into problems with where the stuffed animal companions would go....
Thank you for your thoughts. I appreciate it!

yes, I had thought I would need to attack one problem at a time! I think the all night is probably first - then the falling asleep. Most nights I really don't mind lying down with him - it's those nights that I spend two hours! I just need to remember parenting is not usually convenient
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Old 06-15-2014, 06:06 PM
 
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In that case, sort of seems like a bed for him in your room might be a good first step, if your dh will go for it and there's room enough.

Mom of two girls.
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Old 06-15-2014, 07:09 PM
 
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I don't know if this will be helpful or not, but my four year old cosleeps (king sized bed) with us and breastfeeds. I have found quite a difference in the days and seasons that he gets a lot of exercise and sunlight, and when he does not. He naps more easily in the spring and summer and also sleeps better at night. He needs many hours outdoors, and a good meal within one hour before bedtime for a restful night's sleep.
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Old 06-26-2014, 06:23 AM
 
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good,it's those nights that I spend two hours! I just need to remember parenting is not usually convenient
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Old 06-28-2014, 12:35 PM
 
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What if your dh moved into your ds's bed when ds comes into your bed in the middle of the night? You and ds could stay in the big bed, and your husband (who seems to be the one who is actually bothered by your sons nighttime waking) could go back to sleep in his own space. My husband and I have both been known to go into the kids bed or the couch when our bed gets too crowded to sleep. When it comes to sleep though I usually take the path of least resistance.

I will also add, that at 4.5 there is no way my kids could take a nap and then fall asleep at night before 10 or 11 pm. Dd gave up the nap at 2, while ds gave it up at 4. I'm a preschool teacher and I don't currently know any kids who nap at 4.5. I have known maybe 1 or 2 children in the past, but it was the rare exception. It can be a tough transition at first though.

I've also dealt with the flopping around, talkative, fidgety, trying to keep the self awake non sleeper. I usually just tell my kid that it is bedtime, that they can stay in bed and play quietly or look at books, but I will only lay in bed and cuddle if they are quiet and still. Then if they continue to act like a bedtime gymnast I walk out. If they get upset I just remind them that the ball is in there court. At bedtime I am not a playmate. I'm available for cuddles and comfort, but only when they are ready to fall asleep.

Jennifer, mama to darling dancing Juliette, and sweet baby Jameson
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