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Hi there.<br><br>
We have come into a bedtime battle with our three year old. I will try to make this as short as possible.<br><br>
Our daughter was not sleeping through the night about 4 or 5 months ago. She was having waking stretches of 2 and 3 hours at a time. It was crazy. She slept downstairs and we sleep upstairs. So we made the decision to move her upstairs with us on a mattress next to our bed, she is on a mattress on the floor and we are in a normal height bed. This was working well for a while (aside for the time we no longer had alone together, my dh and I. But, in recent weeks she has started a bedtime battle....it seemed to come on slow and now it's full blown and crazy. Bedtime takes up to an hour or more and that's after the routine. She normally gets bath, jammies, teeth, books, prayer, bed.<br><br>
Last night would be a classic example:<br>
She didn't want to go to bed, I am not tired she says. She will procrastinate and say that she needs to get something, or needs to go potty, she could be laying there for 25 min silent and suddenly say, I forgot to bring so and so to bed, I need him (stuffed animal, random choice of...). We will say, things like, well, Mommy is not going to lay here with you if you cannot lay down and go to sleep or the lights are going to get turned off if you don't lay down (she likes to turn lights out after she is laying down). There is a gate at the top of the steps and I have even thought of saying that I would have to go and sit on the other side of the gate if she doesn't choose to listen to Mommy. I am desperate, I don't want to threaten or scare her into obeying or following through, but I am not sure what to do here. I feel like we have run out of steam. It feels like she isn't respecting us. There are some days I wonder is she is tired, but most days she is and should be going to sleep.<br><br>
We have tried early bed times.<br>
She still naps and NEEDS too.<br><br>
What else is there?<br>
Please help!<br>
J.
 

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Not actual advice, but you might enjoy "Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!" by Mo Willems.<br><br>
My nearly 6 month old gets sleepy from the yawning parts, so maybe your dd would go to sleep if she did great big yawns right with you? "YAAAAWWWWWNNN...Okay, that was NOT a yawn. I was stretching."
 

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Around 3 yrs of age with our daughter it became apparent that our laying down with her was actually making the problem worse. We started stepping out and promising to come back in check in 5-10 minutes (and actually following through) it helped a ton. In fact, she was usually asleep before we could check on her more than once.<br><br>
We've also found it helps a ton to keep a very low-watt lamp on in her room. She's allowed to lay in bed and look at books if it seems like she's having trouble settling, and we go in and turn the lamp off after she goes to sleep.<br><br>
HTH!
 

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Really key question. Is she, if fact, tired? If not, then you might want to re-evaluate naps, exercise, timing for the evening -- all of those details. Things to make sure she is tired. With our kids the rule when they really aren't sleepy is they don't have to sleep, they can lay in bed and look at books or play quietly until they are sleepy. But once our bedtime routine is done and I've snuggled them for 30 minutes, I'm moving on to my routine and I'm not snuggling any more. I will check on them, I will give them a kiss, but I won't snuggle any more. There are times when I am genuinely not sleepy and I assume that the kids hit that too sometimes. You can't force sleep, but you can enforce quiet time.<br><br>
Is she eating or drinking anything in the evening that might make her wired? Chocolate for dessert? Does she watch TV in the evening? For some kids this can make it harder to fall asleep.<br><br>
Assuming that she is, in fact, tired but just fighting it (OMG I remember those days -- they were awful), there are several things you might want to try to help soothe things a bit.<br><br>
First, can she tell you why she doesn't want to sleep? Afraid of the dark? Afraid you won't be there when she wakes up? Afraid of something else?<br><br>
Around that age, we found music to be helpful, along with a nightlight. Both helped to soothe fears. We have always laid down with the kids, and still do. During stages of "I don't want to go to sleep" I would frequently pretend to fall asleep while snuggling (OK, so sometimes it wasn't pretend). If I was asleep, the music was playing, the lights were out and she was sort of pinned into bed by me, she would mostly go to sleep pretty fast.
 

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Hmm, my kids didn't seem to nap after three years old. We sometimes had afternoon quiet time where they sat on their bed with books for a half hour or so while I had a moment to myself.<br><br>
That said.... I'd make sure that your dd was actually tired. Spend an hour or two at the park each afternoon. Or buy a trampoline or other cool, active toy for your backyard. Not only will this increase dinner time appetite... it will make them sleepy during the bedtime routine.<br><br>
Good luck.
 

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DD had a hard time falling asleep around that age until she dropped her nap. The transition (giving up the nap) is hard because they sorta need it, sorta don't... and they have cranky periods in the evening because they didn't have a nap, but if you had let them nap, they'd be up late, and then there's the days when they do need a nap, its never a nice smooth no more napping permanently thing. But it sure helped DD fall asleep at a reasonable bedtime.<br><br>
I've never made DD go to bed if she said she wasn't tired and didn't want to. I still don't. It made for some late nights (like midnight on occasion) but now she asks to go to bed, and its usually between 8pm and 8:30pm.
 

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I'm having bedtime struggles with my 3 year old daughter, too. She doesn't seem to get tired until after 10pm. We've tried cutting out naps, but when I try to keep her awake, she usually ends up passing out for a late nap between 4 and 6, and then she's awake even later, till 11 at least. She is very active in the day, and runs and plays a lot. I'm flexible with my morning schedule, so I can let her sleep in till 9am, which she does. But it would be nice to have some free time to myself in the evenings, you know? Anyway. I hear ya. No brilliant suggestions. I'm trying to figure this out too.
 

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You've gotten some great suggestions and I would agree that it seems your presence is not helping her fall asleep. If you do decide to drop the nap, just keep in mind that having a full day's energy can take a long time. I think that transition took my dd 9 months or so. Also, one thing people often forget is that part of the nighttime routine is having a consistent morning routine too. My dd's nighttime got a lot more predictable when I starting waking her at 7:00 EVERY morning (yes, on weekends too - dh and I take turns getting up with the kids). This helped us a ton!
 

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My first thought is does she really need the nap? Or could it be shorter? Or earlier? My DD also started having trouble sleeping at night around 3 yo. She had dropped her nap about 6 months before. We did what many of the PP have suggested, we stopped laying down with her at night. We do our normal routine- pj's, teeth, two books, two stories, music... and then lights out and we leave. If she really, really isn't tired, she can switch her light back on and look at books. Usualy she'll fall asleep within 20 minutes, right in the middle of her pile of books. I think some days it just takes her a little longer to process her day and be ready for bed. I understand that! I also have tried to keep her routine consistent and avoid napping for more than 30 min. or so, she just can't go to sleep at night if she sleeps much more than that. She's up until all hours, and I'm not going to deal with that! When she first dropped her nap, she was going to bed at 6:30 for a while! We have also found that, as opposite as it sounds, sometime she needs an earlier bedtime when she is wild at night. She'll get a second wind about an hour past her normal bedtime. If she's not asleep by 9pm, she gets crazy and will stay up until 11pm!<br><br>
Oh, and we replaced nap with mandatory quiet rest time. She can play quietly on her bed or read books for at least 30min, it often stretches to an hour and then she gets one half an hour TV show. It gives her enough energy to re-charge her batteries for the afternoon and gives me a break and time to get DS down for a decent nap.
 

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Ds2 goes to sleep much faster without me in the room, which is a bummer because I love cuddling with him while he falls asleep. So I lie with him for a few minutes, and then get up, promising to check in on him in a few minutes.<br><br>
We have also had success with Twilight Turtle that projects stars on to the ceiling, because it gave them something to look at while falling asleep. Same with a thing that projects a rainbow onto the ceiling.
 

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my 3yo doesnt not like being put to bed and so i have put a gate across her door and after she is ready for bed i kiss her goodnight and let her play until she is ready to go to sleep. only very rarely will she actually stay in bed after i have read to her, she just goes to bed when she is ready.
 

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I have a sleep fighter. She's hated sleeping since birth. She's 29 months old now, and we have a 7 week old who totally disrupted the toddler's life as she knew it. I'm home all day now (for a few more weeks) and, well, there's a baby. Huge adjustments. So we didn't push the sleep stuff, knowing we had to expect her to wake up more.<br><br>
What I wasn't expecting was how much later and later she'd push her sleep time. Last night it was 11:30 before I think she was finally asleep. Then I woke up at 8:30 to her poking me in the face. She sleeps in her own room.<br><br>
She's not old enough to tell us she's not tired. She just shrieks and screams and cries and carries on while running. You'd think she'd tire out pretty quickly that way, but this kid just feeds off her own motion.<br><br>
And it's too cold to be outside for very long. I'm not standing around at a park with a 7 week old when the high for the day is below freezing.<br><br>
Today, she's getting no TV. That's just a given. When she watches TV, her sleep patterns are worse, plus she's much more active and imaginitive when it is off. We'll see if *I* can make it all day with no TV!
 

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Our dd needs to to uniwind in her own way to get to sleep. She is 6 now but she has always needed some kind of 'de-frag' to unwind and settle herself.<br><br>
Us being with her didn't help as we were tryiing to keep her in bed when she wanted to look at her treasures or change her pyjamas for different ones or whatever.<br><br>
At 3 we helped her clean her teeth then sat in bed and read a story or not, or put a story tape on and left her to it. It could take an hour but she was upstairs not causing anyone ay difficulty and it worked for her. We have had some sticky patches over the years including her wanting to sleep with (aka bug) her brothers but the pottering routine is still in force and still works.<br><br>
As an aside, I don't think that all little people are night time sleepers by nature which may be where some of the struggle comes from. I have a preference for being noctural and find diurnal a struggle sometimes. When I am forced to be diurnal for long stretches I am insomniac which is horrible. As a young child I was not a big fan of sleeping early and by the time I could read books by myself I was up till 11pm reading on a regular bases according to my parents and my own memory
 

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Once I had my second, I gave up trying to get DS1 to sleep. It was so stressful for me. I agree with the PP who said maybe your DC just isn't tried. I know I don't go to bed at the same time every night. Why not experiment with letting your DC go to bed when ready. That way she can learn to follow her body's signs. My kids tell me when they are ready for bed, almost always between 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.; it just depends on whether they have napped/fallen asleep in the car, etc. Sometimes, I'm the one who is ready for bed first, and I let them know.<br><br>
I know I felt a huge burden lifted off my shoulders when I decided that my kids didn't have to be in bed at a certain time. This may not be right for all families, but it has been very liberating for us and allows more time for connection.
 
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