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HELP!!! Going crazy at bedtime with 2.5yo

491 Views 9 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Junitune
Hi mamas,

We're having serious bedtime issues. DS (almost 2.5 yrs old) has never been a good sleeper or gone down easy. He's extremely spirited in all that he does and bedtime is just miserable. DH (bedtime) and I (naptime) come out of DS's room almost in tears or extremely angry and frustrated. It's affecting our mental stability and our marriage. Please help.

DS now sleeps in his own room and is weaned. This was the difference between him waking every 30 minutes all night long for the first two years of his life and now sleeping through the night.

Bedtime routines always seem to work him up more than calm him down (we've tried quiet music, low lights, baths, reading, singing, etc). Now we're left with no bedtime routine, which is NOT working for any of us. He won't go down at a regular time and he will still fight it even if it's 11:30 at night and he's exhausted.

We really need help in developing a routine that will get him down at a decent time (even 9:30 consistently would be okay with us). I've read just about everything there is on these boards and the web about bedtime routines and nothing seems to help.

We also need help with the actual process of putting him down to sleep. I don't feel that we need to sing to him or rub his back or just lie with him for an hour with him screaming or hitting us or playing and laughing. This is really making us miserable. Bedtime is a time of pure misery for all our family and I just don't know what else we can do. Please please help.
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Anyone??? Please??? DH and I are getting more depressed each day that passes and our marriage is really suffering as a result of this. I could really use some advice...
What kind of diet is he on? Maybe he honestly cannot calm down due to something he's taking in disagreeing with his little system. My ds 2.5 still cosleeps. I hold his hand (when he wants me to) and he's usually asleep in less than 15-30 mins. Kids are all diff tho.
You sound very tired and stressed. First off, this will not always be this way. I know, the nights can be long, but you must remember, the years are short. So, hang in there.
There's a book called "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" that many people find helpful. You could try that.
With my 3 yr olds we read stories until one falls asleep, then I lay down with them until the second one falls asleep. It usually works that way, anyway. They only recently began sleeping in their own room. Before that, they were on a mattress on our floor. In the night I have to go comfort one or the other at some point. Maybe your son would be happier in your room.
Maybe he's overstimulated durring the day. Maybe it's about a food thing. That book I mentioned will give you ideas about keeping a diary so you can maybe pinpoint the problems and find a solution. I wish I had a magic solution, but I don't.
It'll get better, I promise. Meanwhile, try to take it lightly. I find when I get all stressed, the kids act worse, but if I try to let it role off, their tantrums and stuff go away faster. I also pray for patience. I don't know if you're religious, but if so, you can draw on that.
Good luck to you and your family.
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It helped my son to do stuff we ONLY did at bedtime. We regularly read him books, sang, massaged, etc. during the day, so doing them at night wasn't that different. When we started showing him a 4-minute video before bed (we otherwise never watched television) and lying down with him to the same CD every night, it helped. I'm not saying it was immediately a huge difference, but it helped. When that stopped working, we figured out that he did better if he didn't take a nap.

Good luck- I know what you're going through, and wish I could help more.
Have you tried warm baths with Lavendar oil put in??? i second, or third looking at the diet. some children have certain otherwise unusual allergies that disrupt their nervous system. also, There is a calming natural remedy type thing in the health food stores i've seen--- something like "calm kids" , I dont know whats in it but worth a try.
good luck.
My 2.5 year old very recently gave up naps. I kind of hate it (no time to myself during the day) but we found that when he did take a nap, he wasn't tired at all until 11:00 or so. Being napless doesn't seem to affect him in any other way (and now he goes to sleep around 9:00 most nights). So, that's a thought for you.

He still co-sleeps and for a long time one of us would lay in bed with him in the dark until he went to sleep. At a certain point, this seemed to work against us -- he was too excited about us being there and couldn't fall asleep. I started reading some books to him, and then leaving him with some more books in bed with the light half-down -- dim enough to just read by, but also easy to fall asleep. It works almost all of the time.

Good luck!
Hi ladies,

Thanks for the support and advice. We read the No Cry Sleep Solution when he was really young, but maybe there's info in it that would help now that he's older. I'll pull out my old copy.

I think he really prefers to be in his own bedroom. He loves the idea of it and he has always been terrible at bedtime. He only moved into his own room last month. Until then he slept with us. He now sleeps through the night, whereas he got up every 1/2 hour before. Ugh, that was terrible.

The notion of food allergies has been one that has popped into my mind more than once, although DH just doesn't feel that that's it, so we haven't followed through with any elimination diets yet. I had the book "Is this your Child" and it really described DS to a "T". I told DH last night we're going to go the food allergy route until we've determined that it's NOT this. As I stated in my OP, he's really wound up and screams a lot of the day too, so that's why I think it might be this.

When you give your children baths do you give them things to play with? DS has a watering can he just loves and plays with the shampoo bottles (splashing them), but these totally wind him up.

Regarding naps, I've thought about this. He gets REALLY fussy if he skips his nap, but he does go down earlier (sometimes).

And should I really have to sing to him for up to an hour, or at this stage should he be able to help calm himself to sleep at least a little bit?

Thanks, I realize this will pass, it's just getting to the point where we're going crazy with it and I need support and ideas! You ladies are great!
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I'm sorry, I have no advice for you, I just wanted to offer you
s and let you know that we're here for you! Hopefully you can find some info to help you through this situation. I'm also hoping that others can learn from this post and your experience, so they might have help later on down the line if they need it.
Hope you get some sleep soon...
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Another suggestion that worked for my 2.5 yo. I realized she would have trouble going down when it was still light out. These are the longest days of the year. I installed darkening shades in our room so when we went to bed, our routine included pulling down the shades and turning off the lights when our book was finished.

I also find that telling her what will happen helps. "We will read two books - pick out two books, then we'll go the sleep..." She now turns over after the second book and says goodnight.

She was a child who did not sleep through the night until she was two years old. Gradually we went from nursing every hour to nursing every 2-3 hours, to sleeping through the night but nursing down and up in the morning, to no more nursing in bed. When she wakes up in the morning and wants to nurse I tell her we'll nurse on the couch after we go potty and let the dog out and feed the cats and get some water. Routines have really helped her.

Good luck!
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