How to get 2.5 yo to fall asleep alone? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 01-25-2003, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
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My ds is 2.5 years old now and I have always nursed/rocked him to sleep. When I became pregnant again, I couldn't do that anymore, so my dh took over the nighttime routine. During that time we visited my parents and left him there for 2 days. During that time he decided he doesn't want to sleep in his crib anymore and so my dad (he is the one that always takes care of him) layed down with him on a big bed until he fell asleep. Needless to say he never slept in a crib again and when we moved, we bought a "big boy bed". Now the problem: My dh has to lay down with him every night, sometimes up to an hour and help him fall asleep. My second ds is now 4 month old and is a late sleeper, so there are evenings that we barely see each other. This is starting to wear us out and we really want ds to fall asleep on his own. CIO won't work (not that I would ever do that) since he climbs out of the bed as soon as we leave the room. I don't know how to get him to sleep more or less alone, but I know this is starting to wear us all out and have a negative impact on our marriage.
Does anybody have some tips or has been in a similar situation?
Any advice is appreciated.

Stefanie with Max 7/00 and Tyler 9/02
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#2 of 6 Old 01-26-2003, 04:51 PM
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*SIGH*My kids are years past two and both hate to fall asleep alone. I'm pushing 40 and usually I hate to fall asleep alone too. Not that I get much opportunity these days....

Thoughts that come up: Do you think he is napping too much? Is he getting fresh air and exercise? (My kids aren't it's too cold here.) Does he feel the stress about the birth coming up? Is daddy exciting and gets him wound up like with my kids? Does he need more time with dad?

Sears book Nighttime Parenting might have some ideas, I don't know. I know I've used the "play dead" routine sometimes.
Lights are low, no TV, no dishes being washed, no stereo on, and the adult pretends to be asleep until the child is.

I always hated to wake a sleeping child in the morning, but sometimes if it balances out the family's routine it is worth it.

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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#3 of 6 Old 01-26-2003, 06:25 PM
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Dear Maxismama,
Each child is different and I can only tell you what worked for me. Some people might not agree with my tactic for philosophical reasons but it worked for us beautifully. I started letting ds (27 months) fall asleep on his own about a month ago (because I am pregnant too). Basically, I explained to him as we went into the bedroom one night that we would read a book, say a poem, say our prayers, and sing a song, and then I was going to sleep in Daddy's bed. He understood completely. We went through our ritual. WHen I told him I was going into Daddy's bed, he begged me to stay but I bribed him with a cookie ("If you stay in bed and go to sleep by yourself, you can have a cookie tomorrow"). He brightened up and went to sleep without a peep and the next day I praised him and bragged about him to dh and gave him his cookie. I had to promise him a cookie for about a week, then stopped bribing and he has done marvelously. After we talk and sing a little, I simply tell him where I'm going and that I'll see him in the morning and we'll make oatmeal. I think the biggest thing was that he could understand what I was saying and he could comprehend the idea of tomorrow. If you are sure your child can fully understand what you are saying to him, then you shouldn't fel guilty about teaching him to sleep on his own. It might be a little frustrating to him if he's slow to embrace change, but that should be the extent of the negatives.
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#4 of 6 Old 01-26-2003, 06:34 PM
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My little guy is the same age as yours -- and I can't imagine leaving him to fall asleep on his own! He would be terrified. He just isn't at an age where he is comfortable being alone -- even during the day when he plays he follows me from room to room.

We tried to teach my oldest to fall asleep on his own around this same age -- we tried EVERYTHING, including bribing, and then after a couple of month we gave up and resigned ourselves to laying beside him until he was asleep. Around 3 and 1/2 he asked me to leave him alone. It was his own idea and his own initiative. We've had no problems since then! I think it was just an issue of readiness.
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#5 of 6 Old 01-26-2003, 08:53 PM
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Super Pickle, dh was in the room when I read your post. We both laughed and said this may be our angle. Sam is all over cookies. (Of course, his cookies are things like Newman's Own Alphabets, Hain Kids Animal Cookies and Grahams which we taught him were also cookies.)

But like mamaduck, it may just be an issue of readiness. Even when Sam stayed at grandma's he wouldn't go to sleep unless she laid down with him. Not that you could have gotten her to stop cuddling him anyway.

I think this is an issue that you have to play by ear and just see how the child reacts to the suggestion. Maybe he could make suggestions on what he would like to do in his own bed that would make him comfortable enough to sleep there.
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#6 of 6 Old 01-27-2003, 02:33 AM
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You could try waiting until he's very sleepy, maybe read a bunch of books or -if you aren't against it- let him watch a calm video with your husband- then have your husband he needs to go do such and such and he will be right back. At first your hsuband could stay gone only 2-5 minutes or so, and then he could slowly increase the time he is away- always just say dad has to pee, or a chore to do, and that he will be back soon and then have him come back in the promised amount of time.
If your son is fine with that, he may start falling asleep while your husband is out for those few minutes.
Another thing is you could tell him he can either go to sleep right now, or he can stay awake in his bed alone, with Dad checking in every few minutes, and read or play quiety with a low light on.
The latter is how my parents did with me at about this age- only it was b/c them being in the room with me just hyped me up and I had quit nursing to sleep b/c I knew it would make me go to sleep!
For years I stayed up and played or read books until I fell asleep and the only rule was I had to stay on my bed.
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