Toddler not tired at bedtime - tips for a tired mama? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 04-16-2008, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is 21mo. This has been happening occassionally for quite a while now, sometimes it goes in spurts. We are in one of those spurts so I thought I would ask.

He is in daycare full time during the week, so he's active playing with the other kids. On evenings/weekends I try to keep him as active and engaged as possible, IE going outside when it's nice out, letting him run around as much as possible, during the winter I would just take him to a big store or mall and just let him run and explore.

He usually gets a 1-2 hour late morn/early afternoon nap in every day. He has fallen asleep on me after I get home from work. I don't like him taking a nap so close to bedtime but I figured if he's tired he's tired and I hate to wake him (plus it's nice just to be able to SIT!). But that doesn't happen very often.

But when it's bedtime and he is not tired enough, what can I do? What happens is we do a nighttime routine, brush teeth (or not if we brushed them earlier), read books, and lights out. Then he nurses, and if he is not tired he bounces on the bed, looks out the window, flails around, kicks the wall, tries to get off the bed and leave the room, you get the picture. By this time I am extremely tired and falling asleep myself. It has gotten to the point where I just have had to lay there and he starts crying, then it seems I have to let him do that for a minute or two, then nurse again and then he will finally fall asleep. I really hate doing that and need an alternative and I have also had to keep him from getting off the bed by holding him which I also hate doing. I have tried nursing him right away (if it's obvious he's not tired) but that doesn't work.

I HAVE to have a set bedtime so that is not negotiable.

Does the NCSS for Toddlers address this issue, or other no-CIO sleep books?

I'm also a bit concerned on how this is going to play out when he gets older, like 3-4-5 years old. I want to be able to put him to bed and then have some evening time to myself w/o him constantly getting up and then having that battle. Thanks!

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#2 of 5 Old 04-16-2008, 05:13 PM
 
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It sounds like he may be transitioning to no naps. So he "needs" a nap or he is cranky....but if he gets one, he doesn't want to go to sleep. Our solution to this was to keep DD2 awake unless she had a cold or otherwise seemed to be sleeping a lot (growth spurt). So she'd be cranky for a couple of hours but then go to bed early.

Edited to add: it doesn't always work. Some days she naps anyway, and goes to bed an hour or even 90 minutes later than usual. Which is okay, because eventually she will give up naps and (I assume) her bedtime will be more regular, like my older DD.

Is there a reason you "need" a set bedtime? For this transition, you may have to move it later some nights, because he's not going to sleep if he's not tired. I understand the need for "you" time, but he probably doesn't just yet.

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#3 of 5 Old 04-16-2008, 05:24 PM
 
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We had to go to no naps. It made bedtime sooooo much smoother - before, he just wasn't tired at bedtime, but as a single mama, it was so hard on me to deal with the up and down at bedtime. It's easier to handle a sort of cranky child for an hour in the evening (I just plan quiet activities and since we watch TV now, it's when I let him have a tv time of his choosing) when I know he's going to go right to sleep rather than an hour or more of keeping him in bed.

It sounds to me like he might not need that nap anymore or if you keep the nap, a later bed time?

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#4 of 5 Old 04-17-2008, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No naps through toddlerhood?? I thought all young kids (including preschool) were supposed to take naps. Hmmm...I'll think about it. It wouldn't hurt to try it for a week, but daycare would have to keep him awake during the day. He DOES get cranky when tired, he was just doing this yesterday as I was trying to keep him from falling asleep right before dinner.

Yes I need the set bedtime as:

1. I think it is good for him to have the routine although it is flexible, we don't go to bed at exactly the same time (like 8:30 on the dot!)
2. I have to get up for work about 5:45am and I work full time and I also have to do a lot of the housework and other responsibilities, so I'm very tired. I don't get home from work until 5:30pm. Sometimes after he does go to sleep, I will get up and get housework done until I can't keep my eyes open anymore, but most of the time I just fall asleep right with him, about 8:30-9pm.

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#5 of 5 Old 04-21-2008, 11:37 AM
 
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All kids are different...I know 5-year-olds who still take naps, and 2-year-olds (like mine!) who don't. I thought all kids were "supposed" to sleep through the night starting at 3 months -- talk about a reality check!

I'm confused...you say you think he needs a set bedtime, but then you don't have a set bedtime? Plus the set bedtime doesn't seem to be working....

We have a bedtime routine (pajamas, brush teeth, read stories, sleep) but the actual time that we start it changes every night depending on when the kids get sleepy - it can be as early as 7:30 or as late as 9 pm.

I understand that you need to get up early for work, plus do housework, etc., and that is tough. But personally I would take more sleep over a clean house any day. I know that when I don't get enough sleep I'm not interested in doing much housework...but if I can get in a few nights of good sleep, I have a lot more energy and can get things done more efficiently.

A writer/runner/thinker/wife with two daughters (11/02 and 8/05), one dog, three cats, seven fish, and a partridge in a pear tree... in Vermont.
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