3-year-old fighting bedtime... advice? - Mothering Forums
Co-sleeping and the Family Bed > 3-year-old fighting bedtime... advice?
mamayaya's Avatar mamayaya 02:53 AM 08-07-2007
My 3-year-old dd is put down to sleep in her own bed in her own room at 8 pm at night for bed. We've done nightlights, leaving lights on, blinds open, blinds closed, open door, closed door, reading stories, snacks, everything we can think of to get her to either go to sleep or at least stay in her bed and she will not. She constantly defies us and no matter what we say will come out of her room, run around the house crazy, not listen. We are really fed up and our patience is constantly tried.

Any ideas on how to get a 3-year-old to go to sleep?!

alegna's Avatar alegna 03:01 AM 08-07-2007
3 year olds still need to be parented to sleep. Perhaps she isn't tired at that time?

My dd nurses for a bit then goes to sleep, but we're all in bed going to sleep at the same time.

-Angela
clavicula's Avatar clavicula 08:51 AM 08-07-2007
well, go with her! try cosleeping!
mamayaya's Avatar mamayaya 08:49 PM 08-07-2007
We have coslept for quite awhile and now have a new baby that cosleeps and our bed isn't big enough for all of us. Also, we like to spend time awake after the kids go to sleep as our quality time together because we are trying to repair our marriage. Otherwise that would have been my first idea too.
alegna's Avatar alegna 09:14 PM 08-07-2007
It sounds like it's time to try it again since what you're doing isn't working.



-Angela
mom2annika's Avatar mom2annika 09:23 PM 08-07-2007
We tried a gate at DD's bedroom door when we tried the toddler bed. (She's 2; it didn't work and we gave up.) Maybe a gate would at least keep her in her room? Then maybe she could play quietly for awhile before taking herself back to bed. Although, beware, my DD redecorated her room when we tried this (she found the wipes and pulled them all out...looked like the room had been TP'ed LOL).

GL!

ETA that we put DD back in the crib. Hopefully at some point in the not-too-distant future we can try transitioning to the toddler bed again.
mackysmama's Avatar mackysmama 10:09 PM 08-07-2007
I agree that it sounds like she needs to be parented to sleep. That doesn't necessarily mean co-sleeping. Can you rub her back, tell her stories, lay with her, etc. until she falls asleep? Does she sleep well once she is asleep? If she does, I would go with that. If she doesn't sleep well alone, is there any way you can move her bed into your bedroom? She could be close to you but you would still have the space you need in the big bed for the baby? And, maybe she isn't tired at 8:00. Is she showing clear signs of sleep readiness at that time or is the time arbitrary?

I strongly disagree with the idea of a gate to contain a child to his/her room 3 is still very, very young and putting up a gate will only foster distrust and break attachment, which is at the core of a happy healthy child. I'd be kind of pissed if someone locked me in a room to go to sleep if I wasn't tired. You can't force someone to sleep, but you can make an enviroment that is conducive to sleep.
Qestia's Avatar Qestia 04:57 PM 08-08-2007
Well, with all due respect, I have immense sympathy for needing some grownup time at the end of the day, and find I'm a MUCH better parent when I get it.

We're in the same boat with DS, and I've found anthony wolf's advice in "the secret of parenting" very helpful. After bedtime he recommends becoming "robot mom"--you're there for emergencies, that's it. When DS reappears in the living room after bedtime, and appears again, and again, we simply say "back in bed" or physically (but gently) put him back in his room as many times as it takes. It's the only way. It may take 20 times or more the first night, but it does get better. Maybe he's not tired--who cares? He can stay and play in his room until he is. I need that time, DH needs that time, we are better parents with it.

ETA DS however goes "to bed" around 8:30 and falls asleep around 9:30--when he has a nap. 8 pm is also my personal ideal--and maybe we will achieve it once he's dropped the nap for good.
BathrobeGoddess's Avatar BathrobeGoddess 08:48 PM 08-08-2007
I don't go to bed before I'm tired and I don't exspect my kids to do it either.

Some questions...

Is your dd getting enough time outside during the day...I mean really in sunlight??

Are you working outside the home or is she going to school during the day?

Have you considered the possiblity that your dd needs that time with you and is using the negative attention as just some kind of attention?

Does your dd take a nap still?

I have a 3yr old and a baby and we still cosleep with both. Getting each of them to sleep takes about 2 hours at night.
mackysmama's Avatar mackysmama 09:20 PM 08-08-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qestia View Post
Well, with all due respect, I have immense sympathy for needing some grownup time at the end of the day, and find I'm a MUCH better parent when I get it.
I agree with you. I need that time at the end of the day. So, I invest the time in getting my kids to sleep so I can have uninterupted time. I wouldn't consider it time to myself or with my partner if a kid kept coming out every 5 minutes. I'd rather get them to sleep and be done with it. If the OP doesn't want to co-sleep, she can still parent her child to sleep.
Max'sMama's Avatar Max'sMama 12:27 PM 08-09-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamayaya View Post
My 3-year-old dd is put down to sleep in her own bed in her own room at 8 pm at night for bed. We've done nightlights, leaving lights on, blinds open, blinds closed, open door, closed door, reading stories, snacks, everything we can think of to get her to either go to sleep or at least stay in her bed and she will not. She constantly defies us and no matter what we say will come out of her room, run around the house crazy, not listen. We are really fed up and our patience is constantly tried.

Any ideas on how to get a 3-year-old to go to sleep?!

NO. But I will be watching. In reading the other responses, it sounds like most people have 'sleepers'. Some kids are NOT sleepers and no amount of parenting to sleep works for the 'non-sleepers'.

For us, ds NEEDS a early bedtime. He refuses to nap, gets up about the same time if he goes to bed at 7 pm or 11:30 pm. So earlier is better. I NEED a couple hours to recuperate before I go to sleep to be able to better handle the spirited preschooler the next day

One thing that

(sort of)

works for us is the 'turtle nightlight' it's on for 45 minutes and we count the stars together from his bed and go with that. This method works for a week or so at a time.

We, as a family, have tried the bath, teeth, stories routine and every variation and it's a JOKE. Getting our child to bed is really not cool.

I think it's very difficult for some people to understand how some kids refuse to sleep. My son is this way and it sounds like the OPs is too. I have one of the children that people with good sleepers effectively cannot understand. I certainly didn't understand the concept before I found myself with one. In our home, we have even tried the 'let them go with their own sleep time' thing. A 4 am my child was still going at full steam. Everytime. He flat out REFUSES to go to sleep with, or without, help.

I am going to take a PPs advice on the secret of parenting book. We are desperate, too!

OP-I feel for you. It sucks to have one that needs to be sleeping and you are right, your marriage needs to be strong and you have to put a priority on that. Is taking a drive an option? Sometimes we have to take a well timed drive to get ds to sleep. It's not something we want to do daily, as we want to help teach good sleep habits and we don't feel that is doing so, but it's nice to have a night every so often that is just peaceful in the sleep zone.

s:
mackysmama's Avatar mackysmama 01:36 PM 08-09-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max'sMama View Post
NO. But I will be watching. In reading the other responses, it sounds like most people have 'sleepers'. Some kids are NOT sleepers and no amount of parenting to sleep works for the 'non-sleepers'.
Oh, I definately do not have sleepers (please see another post on here about my frustration). My son, at 5, still needs someone to lay down with him for about an hour, some nights it is much worse. But this is a HUGE improvement to what it used to be. My daughter, 2, also refuses to go to sleep at night and my partner and I still struggling with ways to help her. And it is BECAUSE they are such horrible sleepers that I think they need extra parenting to get to sleep at night, otherwise they just wouldn't go to sleep. If I left it up to them, they would be up all night long. So, I help them.
Justmee's Avatar Justmee 02:28 PM 08-09-2007
We were having issues with all three a few months ago. What worked for us (well, it works sometimes, there are still nights it takes 2 hours to get them to sleep

Bedtime routine, getting outside in the afternoon so they are tired.

Backing up bedtime. I was putting them in bed at 8, and they were falling asleep 8:30 - 9:00. They wake up at 6:30 no matter what, and they were totally overtired by 8. I started putting them in bed at 6 and now they are usually sleeping by 6:30 - 7:00.

The robot mom thing works when they are stalling, but if they really seem to need it I do sit in with them. Also if they start to get wild / worked up I sit with them and just say in a soft voice it's time to sleep.

When they were a bit younger, I used to put a classical CD on repeat and the music really helped. We dropped it at some point, but I should really think about reinstating it. A friend of mine had good luck witih stories on CD (but make sure they are not at all scary / fairy tales can be quite frighting before bed esp. live on a CD).
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