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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
[x-posted in nightime parenting]<br><br>
Argh. I have co-slept with my almost 3 year old DD all her life, and until a few months ago I nursed her to sleep. Can't do that anymore -- there are things I have to do & I inevitably fall asleep too when I lie down with her. Besides, I want to teach her to fall asleep on her own. But she just hates it & it does not seem to be getting better. All is well through the bedtime routine -- she chooses books or story, etc. But when it comes time for me to walk out -- she erupts in tears & wails until she falls asleep. I feel really badly; I remember falling asleep as a peaceful time of mental exploration & security, & she is experiencing it as trauma. But at the same time I am not willing to do what she wants -- go to sleep together with her every night.<br><br>
Can someone help me??? What can I do to bridge the gap between what I need & what she wants?? How can I help her learn to appreciate falling asleep on her own?<br><br>
thanks,<br><br>
Lisa
 

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Could it be fear of dark? Because that is what it is with my 3.5 year old.<br><br>
I nurse her a bit and then I get up. She wants me to stay. I usually leave her small lamp on, and give her the choice of a toy or a book to look at for 5 -10 minutes and I tell her I will be back to check on her. Usually she's asleep with the light on.<br><br>
If she is still awake though, I turn the lamp off, and remove the toy/book, and offer her a small non-battery flashlight that you have to crank to get it to come on or a glow in the dark doll thing for company. Clearly she's too wound up to fall asleep with the lamp on, but she hates being in total darkness. She picks which light toy she wants, and I leave and I come back in 5-10 min and she's zonked. I put the light toys away and that's about it.<br><br>
A.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
i've been using a nightlight so I don't think it is that. she is a funny kid -- absolutely refuses all comfort objects. "do you want to have a friend to cuddle?" (meaning a stuffed animal or doll). "no, I don't want anybody." tears. no special pillow, blanket, toy.
 

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Option 1: Get a laptop, a booklight or something and lay on the floor until she falls asleep. That's the solution we've chosen for now. I get some good reading done/dh gets some work/computer play done. Dh and I also trade off - I do 2 nights, he does 2 nights, so neither one of us is overwhelmed with the chore. Some nights we have great conversations. Some nights dd is just plain a pain to get to bed. But it works, and they're happy to go to bed.<br><br>
Option 2: Set the timer for 5 minutes. Tell her you'll be back when the timer beeps. go back and check on her. Then set it for 10, then 15, then 20. Always, always go back and check. Some nights our ds was awake at a 30 minute check, but never after that. (Ironically, this is what we did with our now 6 year old when he was 3! It worked for a while, but when we moved the kids in together and his little sister needed help falling asleep (she was 2), he got used to having us there and is very reluctant to have us leave.) This is what we're going to try this winter, after ds has transitioned to a new school and dd gets back into her daycare/school routine.<br><br>
Option 3: there is a technique -- I think it's in the book called "The Sleep Lady's Guide to ..." something. She recommends it for infants on up, so it's not very AP in that way, BUT I think it is something that might work with an older child, and be within the realm of AP for a 3 year old.<br><br>
The first night, you sit by their bedside and stay by them until they fall asleep.<br>
The second night, you move half the distance to the door while she falls asleep.<br>
The third night, you halve the distance again (OK, in our house that would have us IN the doorway).<br>
The fourth night (or however long it takes), you sit in the doorway or just out in the hall.<br>
The fifth night, you're in the hall 'doing something' - folding laundry or something like that so she can hear that you're there.<br>
Gradually you increase the distance and decrease the amount of time you spend.
 

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Not much help here. I have a toddler bed beside my bed. Mommy's bed is closed to toddlers. He was ok with having his little bed in our room. Little boys have little beds big mommies have big beds ( <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/duck.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Duck">: thats what worked for us)<br><br>
He didnt co sleep until 2yrs old once he climbed out of his crib he decided there were monsters in his room. It took us a year to get him into a toddler bed ( he has a twin bed in his room)
 

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I usually lay in bed with a laptop or book while my 4.5 yr. old falls asleep. The rule is that he has to stay still and stop talking, and if he doesn't, I'll have to leave the room. So he just lies still and quiet for about 5 minutes, sometimes up to 20, sometimes only a minute or two.<br>
My other trick, which works occasionally, is to have him lie down and tell him I'm going to go do something-- put bread in the bread machine, clothes in the wash, etc. and then I'll be back up if he lies quietly while I finish my job. He's almost always asleep when I'm done.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>hottmama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9082479"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I usually lay in bed with a laptop or book while my 4.5 yr. old falls asleep. The rule is that he has to stay still and stop talking, and if he doesn't, I'll have to leave the room. So he just lies still and quiet for about 5 minutes, sometimes up to 20, sometimes only a minute or two.<br>
My other trick, which works occasionally, is to have him lie down and tell him I'm going to go do something-- put bread in the bread machine, clothes in the wash, etc. and then I'll be back up if he lies quietly while I finish my job. He's almost always asleep when I'm done.</div>
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Those are the 2 methods I use<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I stay with DS for about half an hour of snuggling in his bed. Some nights he falls asleep while I'm still there; other nights the half hour is up before he's asleep. I don't always lie down with him- some times I just sit on the bed next to him and put my arm around him. I started the "half hour only" rule because he kept on dragging out bedtime and I was getting very resentful. Now he gets his full half hour of snuggles if he doesn't dawdle getting into bed.<br><br>
Maybe that would work for you?
 

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From what I've heard and experienced, it seems that little ones just want to keep the connection going. So what I did with my 3.5 ds is I told him that the way we can stay connected is for him to call out to me. He goes to bed in his own bed in his own room, and I'm in the room or hallway right next to him. If he needs me he calls out, "Mommy?" And I answer, "Bubba I love you." And he'll do it as often as he needs to and I'll always answer. I also check in on him every 2 min., then every 5, and usually he's out after 15 min.
 

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I think that it's developmentally appropriate at that age to need to be parented to sleep. All the way to sleep. I think asking that she go to sleep on her own when she's clearly not ready is not fair.<br><br>
-Angela
 

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I got my ds a cd player and a lamp, he is allowed to listen to books on tape and look at books with the light on untill he gets sleepy, I think he likes the control. I never refused to lay down with him, I just made it sound really boring, but he alwasy knew it was an option if he really needed it. But by 3 reading books and listening to cd's seemed far more exciting then lying in the dark with us shushing him.
 

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What is it that you have to get done?<br><br>
I know what you mean, because I am a WAHM and now that DS is not napping, I am very anxious every night for my quiet work time. And I too co-sleep and nurse DS to sleep (he's also 3+).<br><br>
Here's what we do... he sleeps on the couch next to me while I work. The rule is, no talking, no getting up to play. If he is disruptive, he goes down stairs and sleeps with daddy in bed (not like THAT is a punishment, but you know...)<br><br>
I nurse him in my lap, at the computer (I am set up to work from the couch on my laptop). Then he has the choice of crashing on the couch or going to bed with daddy. MOST of the time, he couches it with me. And to be honest, I think by staying with him, but staying busy and in my own world, he IS learning "how to fall asleep". I watch him out of the corner of my eye as he stares at the ceiling, tosses and turns to get comfortable, wraps his blankies around himself, etc.<br><br>
His little feet are in my lap, I am getting work done, he is happy and secure, and daddy is stretching out, enjoying a few hours of prime open real estate on the family bed. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br>
It's an arrangement that works for us - not for everyone - but maybe it can help?<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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Lisa, interesting you should write this post now. Thor is *just* now usually OK with us leaving while he is still awake, and *sometimes* he falls asleep without us there. I haven't nursed him to sleep since he was 2, but either me or DP has layed with him until he's asleep up until just a couple weeks ago.<br><br>
The big thing that we did is instill a very regular bedtime routine, and then left a nightlite on, and told him we will come back and check on him. Like a PP I usually say, "I have to go do the dishes, and then I'll be back to check on you." So I come back in 5 min, 10 min, whatever, and check on him and give him a kiss. Then I say I'll be back in 5 min. to check on him, and I leave again, and come back later. Usually he's asleep within 20 min, but sometimes he gets up and wanders out and I quietly bring him back to bed and tuck him in, no big explanations. I make it boring, quiet, you know.<br><br>
Oh, and I don't think that it's "unfair" for you not want to lay by her to get her to sleep anymore. Balance. We all need balance in our lives, and it's healthy.<br><br>
It might just take baby steps to get her there! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> GL. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi Ashley!<br><br>
Good advice. I do try the "I have to [X] but I will come back & check." She is ALWAYS still awake, I think because she is so anxious, so seems like I need to go back & help defuse that anxiety before that technique will work. I like the idea of sitting there will a laptop & reading online while she falls asleep. I also think the checking on her at set intervals might work - it is not so nebulous as "I will come back when I have finished [SOME TASK]." I think she is suspicious that I will not actually come or that I will drag that out until she is asleep, so she resists sleeping to see. With "I will be back in 5 minutes," that anxiety might go away.<br><br>
OK, I am going to take a deep breath & back up a little & go more slowly. I think I am partly just over-reacting to almost three years of no evening time to myself. I had literally nursed to sleep every single night until just a few months ago, & am just really really ready to be a little more autonomous in the evenings. I have a hard job outside the house that I have not done a great job of since DD was born & I really need to, and am ready to, turn on the juice there (I can work from home on a lot of stuff in the evenings). Plus you know, I just want to find out what has been going on in the world, read books, the stuff that made me me before I was a mom. But I can step toward that stuff more gradually than I have been.<br><br>
Thanks all.<br><br>
Lisa
 
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