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I want my nighttimes back

702 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  julie128
Here's the sitch and the history:
DD1 is four. DD2 is 20 months. DD1 coslept until nearly two, when we moved her out with actually quite less fuss than we expected. At first, I would put her to bed, then DH did because when DD2 was born, obviously, I would be putting her to bed. Now, DH puts dd2 to bed, so I don't have to nurse her all night (she is now night weaned), and I put DD1 to bed. Here's the trouble: DD1 still wants me to sit with her until she falls asleep. This is usually well after nine, and sometimes after ten. (and she rarely naps) DH will put DD2 to bed, and maybe he gets up for a while, and maybe he stays in bed. Basically, we have no time for ourselves, to be a couple, unless we get a sitter and go out. I'm not talking about sex. I'm talking about our relationship (okay, okay, including sex), having conversations, sitting together and reading, having a drink in the evening, that kind of thing. We need the DD's to fall asleep by themselves. What worked for your family?

As an aside, we are getting DD1 a new bed, a full/twin bunk bed, and we are hoping to move DD2 into her bed (the bottom full bunk) when she is two. We are not sure if that will make things easier or harder.
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I don't have any advice. I'm just right here with you. Our oldest two were sleeping together in their room with no trouble for about a year and a half, and now we either have to lie with them to get them to sleep, or like right now, they are both asleep on the floor in my room. An extended family member inadvertently showed them a part in a really scary movie, and it really set back any and all progress they had made. We've done our best to be really gentle and patient, but it's been hard. It's been 2 months now since the incident, and they're still not over it. I don't know what to do! I just read " unconditional parenting " for the first time, and that has really helped me to put the whole issue into perspective, and realize they're just kids and they'll let me know when they're ready to take some steps. It's really been two steps forward one step back for us lately. That's actually why I'm awake right now, because they both woke up and wanted to come in my room, and now I can't fall back to sleep!
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i'd say that about 4/7 nights a week are like this in our house too. some nights DS doesn't go to bed until we do (10:30 or 11), other nights he's in bed by 8:45 and we have the evening to ourselves. DS is a pretty mellow guy so he'll often just do his own thing (he's 26mo) while we sit together on the couch, cuddle, watch TV or a movie (that's appropriate for DS to be able to hear/see)...although DS is in the room, we still find that we're able to reconnect with each other. we reserve the *intimate* moments for when DS is already asleep (no matter when that is, either one of the early nights or one of the late nights). we're more flexible about when/where for that kind of stuff.

good luck...i know it gets exhausting and overwhelming. it'll get better!
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Anyone have any ideas how how to teach the kids to fall asleep by themselves?

For the past 3 nights, instead of lying on the floor next to DD's bed, I have been sitting up in the rocking chair across the room. Maybe this will help. I still have hope.
At four, we started a very elaborate (30-45 minute) routine before bed, and then would tell her she was old enough to go to sleep by herself, but that we loved her and would be listening for her in our room. Our room is separated from hers by a bathroom, so we would leave the door open and stay in our room, reading or whatever. We also got her a nightlight. She could get up in the night (after being asleep) and "check on us" and we would "check on her" as well to make sure everything was good. We also started letting her read/look at books to herself for a few minutes after we left - 'cos that's also something big kids get to do - for 10 minutes or so, until we came in to give final kisses and tuck ins and all that fun stuff. She seemed a little worried at first, but then knew that we could hear her (only because we would hear her trying to play sometimes and remind her it was bedtime).

Now it's down to about a 20-minute routine. She goes to bed at about the same time every night - 7ish, and has for the past year or more. We notice that if she stays up too late (8:30 or so) she has a horrible time getting to sleep and won't go to sleep until - one time - 10 pm.

We sort of wound down things - I nightweaned around one and a half; started putting her to bed earlier than us around 2.5, with one of us reading our own book with a teeny-tiny IKEA light on, but still sleeping with us; then sleeping in her own bed around age 3ish, but also still reading our book until she fell asleep (and she could join us in bed in the middle of the night, she usually did) and did that until she was almost four. Since four, we've said she can come and snuggle with us when the clock says 6am, but can always come talk if she's scared or has a bad dream. We went slow and if anything seemed too difficult emotionally, we took a step back.

Good luck.
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I wish I had some great advice, I have some of the same problems you have. Now that my girls are older (6, 10, 15), they can go to their rooms and usually do fine. My 2 year old is another story. One thing we did (at his occupational therapists request) is to make a bedtime routine. We took photos of him doing these things, put them on index cards and put them on a jump ring. Now every night, we pull that out and go through the bedtime routine. Ours is basically: snack, teeth, bath, stories, drink, watch TV, lay down, lights out. How does it work? Some days good, some days bad. We also add reward stickers and prizes for each night that he stays in bed. We also started to cut out naps and wake everyone up earlier to get them tired.

I have to confess that one way I get him to fall asleep is by watching TV
: until he passes out! Also, in the past we have taken turns driving our girls around in the car until they fell asleep. Oh, and pretending we are asleep. Problem with that, is that more often than not, one of us also falls asleep. I will ask my DH what else we have tried in the past.

Good luck, I know it is hard and hard on the relationship. We tend to stay up too late to make up for lost time and end up miserable in the morning!
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OH, I forgot books on tape and soothing music works sometimes for everyone!
All three of our kids have cd players in their bedrooms - and an every night part of the bedtime routine is turning on their cds. Dd2 and dd3 listen to music (there are great lullaby cds!) and dd1 listens to bedtime stories on cd. Chinaberry has some great options - that is where we get ours (they have a website also).

Also, we bought a pack of nightlights at Costco (well, dh came home with them - an impulse buy...) They can be set to one of five different colors. So the child can have a bit of control by choosing which color they want each night.

I understand needing adult time after 9:00 p.m. I am just like that too. It is hard to parent all day and not feel like you have a bit of time for you, or your spouse. Some people can do it - I am not one of them. If you understand that about yourself (and I don't think it is anything bad at all - time to relax and recharge and take care of your own needs is a positive thing IMO) then find ways to transition away from the routine your family has now to one that works better for you. My kids (8, 4 and 2) all go to bed happily with their cds on. I also think the routine of bath, teeth brushing, bedtime stories (together on mom/dad's bed), hugs, three things to dream about (first two are different every night - we come up with them together), tuck, cd on is a lead in that is always the same and it just seems to work.

Good luck!
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We have always played the same CD (Norah Jones) for the past 2 years. That probably helps. Her window shade is usually up enough that the streetlight shines into her room a little like a night light. We are not very routine people; this may have a negative effect on nighttimes. We have just started taking a parenting class (Parent Effectiveness Training--a friend of mine raved about it); maybe we will learn some things in class that will help. I like the idea of making a photo book of the nighttime routine. I thought about doing that for the morning routine, but wrote up a schedule with clock pictures instead. (DD is very interested in learning how to tell time.) Books on tape might be good. I thought about recording some myself--in my copious free time. :LOL
Our bedrooms are connected by a bathroom like loraeileen, so we can keep an eye and ear on each other. The problem is that DD2 (21m) is sleeping with us, so DD1 could end up waking her up by coming in or whatever. In theory, DD2 will be moving in with DD1 when she is 2. We'll see how that goes! I'm not worried! Really!

Tonight went really well with DD, except that DH went to bed at 9. Argh!
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