I'm ready for almost 5yo to go to bed by himself...how can I get him ready?*update - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 10-18-2006, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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**Based on some of your suggestions, we are doing great! We do our usual routine (snack, bath, potty, teeth, books), then I tell ds#1 he can look at some book quietly while I put ds#2 to sleep. I tell him to try to go to sleep if he's tired. Then, once ds#2 is asleep, I go check on ds#1 and turn off the light and tuck him in. Then I tell him I'll check on him in one minute (I tried longer but he kept coming to get me). I do. Tonight I only had to check on him two times before he was asleep.

Tonight was our third night in a row. I also told him that we would have a cupcake party after 5 nights in a row. I'm not usually one for rewards, but I thought this time it was ok because the purpose is to break a habit and not instill some kind of sense of merit or worth... besides, one of you mentioned that it worked for you.

I am soooo thrilled with how it's working out - you have no idea!

Thank you so much!!!!!

---------


Every night I sit or lie down with ds until he falls asleep. I nursed him to sleep until he was three and continued snuggling with him after and now he's almost 5 (in Dec).

I have a 14month old ds, too, who tends to go to bed around the same time. So, the three of us have been snuggling in his bed while I nurse ds#2 to sleep. It worked out well for a while, but lately ds#1 and ds#2 have been keeping eachother up for up to an hour after lights go out and I desperately need the evenings to do school work (I'm a full-time student doing an MA).

I feel ready to do our bedtime rootine, snuggle for a few minutes then say goodnight and leave and either put ds#2 to sleep in my room or study in my room, which is right next to his.

But how can I help him be ready for this, too?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks tons in advance,
lilgreen
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#2 of 19 Old 10-18-2006, 02:42 PM
 
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Will he read or look at books in bed? This is how we got our oldest to go to sleep on his own when he was about your son's age.
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#3 of 19 Old 10-18-2006, 02:54 PM
 
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Oh, I'd like to know the answer to this one too! :

I always nursed DD to sleep, til about 5 mos ago. But she still needs me to lie down with her to go to sleep. I always end up falling asleep for the night. She almost never needs me during the night, and is also OK waking up by herself.

My sister got her to go to sleep on her own last month when she was babysiting, just because she didn't know I usually put DD to bed. When I asked DD the next day about it, asked if she'd like to try it again that night, she said "I was just showing that I"m a big girl and can do it, but I don't want to do it tonight".

It would be nice to watch a bit of TV again, or make a phone call, or read something other than Dr. Suess before going to sleep myself.
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#4 of 19 Old 10-18-2006, 09:22 PM
 
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Let me know if you figure something out! I can't get my almost 4 yr. old to go to sleep by himself or sleep in his own bed, although he recently quit nursing to sleep (he still nurses at other times).
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#5 of 19 Old 10-18-2006, 10:30 PM
 
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I've got a 6 & 8 yo. Our steady routine (for 4-5yrs) has been--1) get ready for bed (pj's; teeth; wash up/bath/shower) 2) songs(usually3-5 songs)--the same ones each night-I made some up using familiar tunes but with their names in them. Usually the # of songs has to do with their age (but no more than 5 songs!!) 3) Story--one story of the child's choosing. At 4yo, we were reading a chapter a night of some stories that were interesting, but too old for them to read on their own. ex. Charlotte's Web ; The Trumpet of the Swan; The Wizard of Oz;The 'Little House' books; etc... 4) 5 minutes of talking--about their day; about the day they were born(this can also be used instead of reading a story), or anything else quiet that they like. 5) Lastly, 5 minutes of quiet time--just lying there snuggling, some times whispering, but usually just being near.... this is followed by a hug and a kiss(or 2 or 3 or 4) and a "goodnight, I love you!!"
For a while, I used a 5 minute timer on my watch to time the talking and the quiet... this made it so there was a limit to the talking and they knew what to expect and when. It also served to wake me up if I happened to fall asleep during quiet time!!
My daughter will be 8 tomorrow and still Loves this routine. My son has lots of energy and having a routine helps to relax him. Knowing there's a limit to the time helps me tremendously!!--They still get up sometimes and when we started this, it took a bit of time before we had nights where they stayed in bed all night, but now except for bad dreams and thunder storms, they get right to sleeping. Bed time starts at 7pm officially and we're usually done with 2 sets of this routine (one for each kid) by 8pm... a bit later if there are any pressing issues to discuss or a particularly bad day to comfort. We also do some relaxing technicques(sp??) if they are really restless(and they sometimes request them themselves).. Just lying there on our backs and me quietly saying 'relax your toes, relax your legs and knees' and work our way up through our bodies with a few deep breaths thrown in for good measure. I hope this helps
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#6 of 19 Old 10-19-2006, 12:22 AM
 
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We used story tapes. Jim Weiss story tapes, to be exact. They are about 30 min. long. Perfect for that age. When the story ends, if they were not asleep, then we put on music.
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#7 of 19 Old 10-19-2006, 11:21 AM
 
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The way I see it, your ds needs some incentive to change his current routine. I mean, why would he want to? He loves it! When my dd1 was about 2.5 or 3, she was starting to reaaally stretch out the going to sleep part, so I'd be lying with her for 45 minutes or so, getting frustrated as this was my only down time. So I told her that if she could go to sleep by herself (after books and cuddles), she'd get a chocolate chip in the morning. Holy cow! That night, she couldn't get me out of her room fast enough, she was so afraid she'd fall asleep before I left and not get her chocolate chip! Anyway, we did the chips for about 7-10 days, after which she forgot about them and that was that.
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#8 of 19 Old 10-19-2006, 12:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Kelso View Post
I've got a 6 & 8 yo. Our steady routine (for 4-5yrs) has been--1) get ready for bed (pj's; teeth; wash up/bath/shower) 2) songs(usually3-5 songs)--the same ones each night-I made some up using familiar tunes but with their names in them. Usually the # of songs has to do with their age (but no more than 5 songs!!) 3) Story--one story of the child's choosing. At 4yo, we were reading a chapter a night of some stories that were interesting, but too old for them to read on their own. ex. Charlotte's Web ; The Trumpet of the Swan; The Wizard of Oz;The 'Little House' books; etc... 4) 5 minutes of talking--about their day; about the day they were born(this can also be used instead of reading a story), or anything else quiet that they like. 5) Lastly, 5 minutes of quiet time--just lying there snuggling, some times whispering, but usually just being near.... this is followed by a hug and a kiss(or 2 or 3 or 4) and a "goodnight, I love you!!"
For a while, I used a 5 minute timer on my watch to time the talking and the quiet... this made it so there was a limit to the talking and they knew what to expect and when. It also served to wake me up if I happened to fall asleep during quiet time!!
My daughter will be 8 tomorrow and still Loves this routine. My son has lots of energy and having a routine helps to relax him. Knowing there's a limit to the time helps me tremendously!!--They still get up sometimes and when we started this, it took a bit of time before we had nights where they stayed in bed all night, but now except for bad dreams and thunder storms, they get right to sleeping. Bed time starts at 7pm officially and we're usually done with 2 sets of this routine (one for each kid) by 8pm... a bit later if there are any pressing issues to discuss or a particularly bad day to comfort. We also do some relaxing technicques(sp??) if they are really restless(and they sometimes request them themselves).. Just lying there on our backs and me quietly saying 'relax your toes, relax your legs and knees' and work our way up through our bodies with a few deep breaths thrown in for good measure. I hope this helps

This sounds so wonderful! We are struggling with bedtime right now--both kids are in their own beds but in the same room. We have a routine which includes songs and stories and cuddling time, but at the end of it they still don't want to be left. I know, ds is only 2--and I don't mind staying for him--but it's DD who fights it, wants water, juice, a tv in her bed, a story about when I was a little girl, a donkey, a ride on the garden tractor...anything she can think of to delay bedtime. Since we became lest strict with rules and discipline (we used to use time-outs, now we don't) bedtime has become worse and worse, and is now a big fight and cry-fest. Not every night, but a lot. Maybe discussing a routine with dd, including all the elements she needs (minus the tractor ride) and using a set time limit would work. It sounds like it does for you!

Marja: consensual-living, unschooling, piano-teaching, doula and mom to 3 creative, independent people:
DD, 8, DS, 6, and Baby DS born July 1, 2010 Married to DH for 10 years!
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#9 of 19 Old 10-19-2006, 12:43 PM
 
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I got my ds some books on tape (robert Munsch) and put a cd player and a cool lamp in his room and told him he couldlook at books in bed by himslef untill he was ready for sleep. He loves it, we had a few nights where he was up and down a million times, but when I "threatened" him with turning out the lights and having me lie down with him he stopped getting up. I found it helpfull for the first week or so to make sure he was really tired but not hysterically so. So busy days with no nap but still going to bed around 8, so he was tired enough he fell asleep before he got bored. Now I think he has formed a new sleep asociation and falls asleep in 30 min or so. However he has dropped his nap, and is having a quiet time instead which is fine with me.

So we bath/nurse/brush teeth/read 2 stories and then say goodnight, turn on his cd and usually when I'm done nursing the baby to sleep 20 min later hes out cold. An dhe's stopped passing out in funny spots and now actually gets into bed under the covers so hes obviously dsigned some sort of routhin in ther eon his own........
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#10 of 19 Old 10-19-2006, 01:19 PM
 
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My oldest used to have the hardest time falling asleep by himself. After another mom suggested to me to put a tv in his room and play the same movie every night when it was time to go to sleep, I tried it and it worked. He would stay in his bed and watch it until he fell asleep. He is 9 now and has been doing that since he was 2. My 6 year old twins do the same thing. I usually don't keep their tvs on during the day, just in the evening when it is time to go to bed.
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#11 of 19 Old 10-19-2006, 03:24 PM
 
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We snuggled to bed every night untill last fall, when I had an infant an almost 5 yo & a 2 YoO in bed with me 9In dd's double bed), all wiggling, all squirming. Infant kept kids up, oldest child squirmed for an hour- it was not good. Putting older kids in bed together & leaving them was a nightmare of them trying to jump on the bed etc. I was at wits end & then decided to do an incentive- if they could go to sleep in their beds for 7 nights in a row we'd go celebrate with ice cream sundaes. OMG! It worked!

A year later they are still falling asleep on their own (not the baby).
Here's what it looks like in our house;


bedtime snack
bath or wash up
brush teeth
2 books (each kid chooses one) read while we all snuggle in DD's bed
DS goes into his room & looks at books for a few minutes while DD gets a "whisper story" in the dark. Then I kiss her goodnight & leave.
I then go into DS's room & turn out his light & give him a "whisper story"
Kiss g'nite & out the door.

A whisper story is just a little story I whisper in their ears to send them off to sleep. DD likes stories about herself, DS liks stories about fighting robots lately :

Good luck!

Mama to 3 kiddles. joy.giffencing.gif Doing my best and trying to stay afloat.vbac.gif

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#12 of 19 Old 10-19-2006, 05:16 PM
 
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We have a good routine worked out with our DD, We let her know its getting to be bedtime and she puts on her jammies, then teeth brushing and washing up if we forgot after dinner. Then she picks out 2 books to read and will read a book from school first if she has one that night (1st grade). Then either DH or I will read her 2 books and then lights out, we have a dimmer light on the overhead that stays on low until she falls asleep. I stay for a few minutes and talk and rub her back, DH may or may not do that depending on what he needs to do. We always tell her we will check on her in a few minutes. She Asks "Waht will you do if I am still awake?" I tell her I will rub her back some more. I haven't had to do that in about 5 months, she's usually out by the time I drink a glass of water!

DS is in our bed still and either DH or I will put him down, We take turns with the kids.
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#13 of 19 Old 10-24-2006, 02:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I updated this... see first entry.
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#14 of 19 Old 10-24-2006, 04:00 AM
 
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I like some of the suggestions, but I wholeheartedly disagree with using food, especially sweets, as a reward of any shape or sort. It's a bad idea to use food and sweets as incentives for kids... it teaches them the wrong purpose of food (in this weight-obsessed society), which is to fuel the body and keep you healthy. It's particularly a bad idea to reward a sleep behavior by giving food. Sleep & food are completely uncorrelated. What about a reward of a new book to read at night, a new set of pajamas, a new music CD for nighttime listening, or even a new bedspread? You know... something associated with SLEEP!

JMHO
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#15 of 19 Old 10-24-2006, 10:06 AM
 
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I like some of the suggestions, but I wholeheartedly disagree with using food, especially sweets, as a reward of any shape or sort. It's a bad idea to use food and sweets as incentives for kids... it teaches them the wrong purpose of food (in this weight-obsessed society), which is to fuel the body and keep you healthy. It's particularly a bad idea to reward a sleep behavior by giving food. Sleep & food are completely uncorrelated. What about a reward of a new book to read at night, a new set of pajamas, a new music CD for nighttime listening, or even a new bedspread? You know... something associated with SLEEP!

JMHO
Yes, yes, yes, I don't even disagree with you! And I knew I'd be called out on this one I am definately not perfect in my strategies. But I guess I rationalized this one in that dd was in a stage where she was very hard to motivate with external "rewards" of any sort (books, etc), and she LOVED having me lie down with her, so the "reward" had to be greater than her current reward, KWIM? And we did it in the context of the fact that we are really NOT weight-obsessed in our family, we eat very healthy and teach dd to respect her body's needs and cravings and such, and that we knew it would be a very short-term thing. Literally, she forgot about in within a week and a half. It's not a strategy we've used liberally -- I can think of only one other time. And I guess I measured the level of stress and irritation I was feeling lying there for an hour every night, and decided the trade-off was worth it. Anyway, I know, not perfect. But not terrible either, IMO.
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#16 of 19 Old 10-24-2006, 10:28 AM
 
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Yes, yes, yes, I don't even disagree with you! And I knew I'd be called out on this one I am definately not perfect in my strategies. But I guess I rationalized this one in that dd was in a stage where she was very hard to motivate with external "rewards" of any sort (books, etc), and she LOVED having me lie down with her, so the "reward" had to be greater than her current reward, KWIM? And we did it in the context of the fact that we are really NOT weight-obsessed in our family, we eat very healthy and teach dd to respect her body's needs and cravings and such, and that we knew it would be a very short-term thing. Literally, she forgot about in within a week and a half. It's not a strategy we've used liberally -- I can think of only one other time. And I guess I measured the level of stress and irritation I was feeling lying there for an hour every night, and decided the trade-off was worth it. Anyway, I know, not perfect. But not terrible either, IMO.
Nah -- this is not terrible at all! I think you did fine. I mean, if it had gone on for too long, or if she seemed to get the wrong idea about the reward, then you would have stopped immediately, I'm sure. But it sounds like it simply helped her to form a new habit, and that was the extent of it. Once in a great while, we encounter something that makes no sense to our children, that we still really want them to learn to do. Like toilet training! In those very rare instances, I think its okay to use a brief, carefully controled reward system. It had never occured to me to do it for bedtime, but you know -- I might have tried it if it had occured to me! LOL.
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#17 of 19 Old 10-24-2006, 11:02 AM
 
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But it sounds like it simply helped her to form a new habit, and that was the extent of it. .
Thanks mamaduck! This was exactly our intention.
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#18 of 19 Old 10-24-2006, 12:31 PM
 
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Velochic, I am with you on not using food as a reward, that is... on a regular basis. And I knew I'd hear it on that The fact that we went our for sundaes to celebrate my kids ability to go to bed without a parent lying in bed with them was more about "going out" to do something that is not common. In that instance my kids know that the incentive was- we are all more rested at night, therefore we have energy & time to go do something special. That is how it was prefaced.

Along with being weight obsessed, I think our culture is also very materialistic, so rewards of objects & new "things" is not my cup of tea, but might work for other families. There are also plenty of kids/families who would not think using an incentive (AKA bribe) of any type is sound (food, new object, outing etc). As a parent I know what would get my kids on board, and I am thankful that it worked! It was better than screaming kids IMO! Lil Green, a cupcake party sounds like the party is your event, rather than the cupcake. I am glad you are getting a bit more time to get your work done, which I know helps everyone's overall mood!

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#19 of 19 Old 10-25-2006, 12:41 PM
 
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Glad things are going well!!!!!

Here, too. We first went the reward route a month ago, which we have never done before . . .promised her a trip to a local children's theme park. We would have gone anyway, but it was something to work toward. (She had to sleep 3 nights alone, just the initial going to sleep part.) A week later she started wanting us again after that, but at least it gave ME the confidence that she could do it. (During the reward phase she did it easily.) Lately, though, it seemed like my presence was keeping her awake vs. helping her sleep, so I started trying again . . .and this time it is working again-- easily. I don't know if it will last because it's only been 4 days, but 4 days is GREAT compared to 0 . . .I'm keeping my fingers crossed but going with the flow.

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