Toddler night battles - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 01-10-2003, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
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We have a dd that will be turning 2 in a week. For the past couple of weeks or so, she has not wanted to go to sleep at night.

She wakes up in the am 7:30 to 8, naps for 2 hours 1 to 2pm and then around 8pm will want to go upstairs to our bedroom. I am still nursing on demand, she lets me know when she wants to and I willingly oblige, so nursing is not just a night thing for us.

I work out of my house as an Aflac sales rep and I go to college (will be graduating in May !!!), she is very used to the routine of me being out of the house for 2 to 4 hours at a time in the am or early afternoon. My aunt, who also lives with us, has been her primary caregiver since she was born and she is very used to being with her.

We have all lived with my inlaws since she was 6 months and we have been co-sleeping since she got home from the hospital, so she is very used to the family bed and this house.

She usually says "night night" and crawls in my lap or takes my hand to lead me to the bedroom. At this point she is rubbing her eyes and yawning, obvious signs of sleepiness.

After the last diaper change and jammies, we go to the bedroom and she will nurse. Then she will get up out of bed and want to go play in another room. She gets extreamly upset and starts screaming if I tell her it's sleepy time.

Someone told me that toddlers use play at the end of the day to sort of review the day's events and to tell them time's up and let them play for 15 minutes or so. I have tried this but she will go back and forth from play to the bedroom 3 or 4 times.

I have tried to let her cry it out for 5 to 10 minutes (an eternity for a 2 year old, imo), no dice - she acts like I'm torturing her (which I think crying it out is tortutre). I have tried to give her toys to play in our room until she's done but she still wants to go out. I have tried keeping her up longer and waiting until 8:30 or 9 before I take her into the bedroom. I have tried waking her up earlier in the am and cutting nap time to 1 hour, to make her sleepier, but still nothing has worked. I have tried having my husband there and play with her in our room before bed. I have tried having him come in only after she is asleep, to see if 1 on 1 time with me is better at getting her to sleep.

Not co-sleeping is not an option becasue there is no other room for her (all other bedrooms are occupied by other adults).

Help! My inlaws already thing I'm some sort of pinko liberal (well I am, but that's besides the point) becasue I breastfed her longer than 3 months and we co-sleep. The nightly battles and screaming are only underscoring their suspicions that I'm a permissive mother.

Any advice from you moms with more experience would be appreciated!

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#2 of 6 Old 01-10-2003, 11:35 PM
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I don't understand who's initiating the bedtime at 8. Is she freely going upstairs to the bedroom, or is that her bedtime, so she knows to go to the bedroom?

My daughter used to hate going to sleep. She also hated being alone. We did not have a set bedtime, so she often would play until she got so sleepy she fell asleep on the floor. Eventually, she began going to her bed right before falling asleep. Is it possible that your daughter is just not sleepy at 8? My daughter is a night person all the way. She has been known to stay up while everyone else was sleeping. Since she doesn't like to be alone, she would sit in bed w/me while I slept. What could I do? It was hopeless trying to force her to sleep.

That said, Welcome!! Hopefully, you'll get some good advice!
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#3 of 6 Old 01-10-2003, 11:49 PM
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Boy! I can go a day with nothing to post about, then I'm a postin' fool! I have night owls, all three. One will not go to bed before the others, well right now the baby is asleep on my lap, but the other two are wide awake and it is 9:45 p.m. I got tired of arguing every night at 8:00 for them to go to bed, when they would then talk for 2 more hours anyway. So they know that esp. on a school night, though I know 8:00 is too early for them, they have to do quiet wind down things, like read a book, or I will tell a story and let them each add a part. But the rule is, if they want to stay awake, they at least have to do only the quiet things. Oh, one more thing that worked, we have a quiet contest..I say, Quiet contest starting now, whoever stays the quietest gets a prize..I know, bribing!! But it really works when I am tired and want instant quiet..and the prize is usually an activity we plan, like today we went to a usually taboo place for lunch that the winner picked..hope this helps
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#4 of 6 Old 01-11-2003, 12:52 AM
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Connie, I have an almost 2 1/2 year old, newly non-sleeper on my hands, too. No advice, sorry, but I will be eagerly reading other responses to your thread to see if I can glean any words of wisdom from ther other mamas. Right now (8 pm) my husband is lying in the bed with our son hoping he will fall asleep. He, too, is recently expressing a dislike of being "alone" at night, and we tried the 5 minutes of cry it out, but I agree that it's like torture for the poor little ones who just want someone lvong close by, what??
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#5 of 6 Old 01-11-2003, 11:16 AM
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Hello and Welcome!

I am not sure if I really have any advice but wanted to offer my support and empathy anyway

My dd (20 months) is usually pretty good about falling asleep....but she has taken to waking up around 5 hours after she has goen to sleep and wants to crawl off the bed and start the day, at 2 AM!!!I just keep picking her up and brining her back to the top of the bed, she will cry a little and then lay on top of me and eventually fall asleep.

This is now our "go to bed routine" - take a bath, go lay in bed and read books for a while, cup of warm milk and then lights out! She will roll around for a while and then after 15 minutes or so she will drift off to sleep. Perhaps the bath play and the reading satisfy her review of the day's events

Now if i could only find a way to get her to sleep past 6:30 am!!!!

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#6 of 6 Old 01-13-2003, 06:24 AM
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this is just the thread I've been looking for. Thank you! I really hope to gain some valuable insight/advice. It is 1:25 am and my little 2 year old boy is finally asleep in my lap. He seems immune to any sort of bed time routine: bath, books, end of the day running around to get the energy out, music, nursing, etc.. My husband and i are at our wits end. The more we try to do and offer, the more he seems to want to go! Please, any suggestions?
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