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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DD takes a long time to wind down (mostly her head rather than her body, I think) before falling asleep. She would like one of us to stay and read and talk and tell stories, but when we do she can stay awake ridiculously late. I feel like maybe our presence is actually stimulating her rather than helping her settle. We've had some scattered success recently with reading a few stories, then leaving her to fall asleep on her own.<br><br>
Wondering if others have ground rules for this re: lights on or off, in bed or out, books, toys, food, talking to herself or quiet, etc. Would also love to hear if anyone also has experience with the logistics of having a younger sibling sharing the same room. Many thanks in advance.
 

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Our bedtime routine for a five year old: stories, kisses, then lights out. We leave her door open and the hall light on. She sleeps with many trillions of toys and stuffed animals. She can have a cup of water, but no food because we have already brushed teeth and do not want cavities. The ground rules are that you do not have to be asleep, but if I hear you playing noisily in your room I will help you settle down by removing the toys. She can get herself worked up to the point where it's hard to go to sleep, and it's my job to make sure that doesn't happen! If you are talking and singing and jumping around, you might need the hall door closed (it's not dark in her room; we leave the light on in her fish tank).<br><br>
She often looks at books in bed for a while before falling asleep. I won't bust her for that unless she's getting noisy, or it's getting late enough that she will be exhausted the next day. Basically, our policy is -- don't bring it to our attention that you're awake, and we'll assume that you will do a good job of going to sleep on your own. On nights when she looks at books, she seems to drift off quite nicely; now that she's starting to be able to read to herself, we might get her a bedside reading lamp.<br><br>
I love lying down and telling stories or singing songs, but she will NEVER settle down and drift off while I do that, no matter how tired she is.
 

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We make sure you snuggle and do stories and all that wonderfully sweet stuff.<br>
However, we do it during the day and before bed time.<br><br>
At bed we brush teeth, potty, put jammies on (which my 5yo does independently and 3 yo has some help) and then 2-3 short books. Then they climb into their beds. I shut the light off and I hold each of their hands or scratch and rub their backs for 2 minutes each. Then I say good night give a hug and kiss and leave the room. They fall asleep fine and usually don't do any more playing or reading or talking. They are pretty tired by bedtime.<br><br>
I co-slept with them for a while and nursed them to slepe and all that but they are old enough to do it this way. Every child is different though.<br><br>
If the current system isn't working for you though make changes that would work for everyone.
 

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My son must be left alone in order to fall asleep. We do our bedtime routine, I tell him goodnight (or dad does if he's doing the bedtime routine that night), kiss him, tuck him in, turn out the light and close the door. After we read the bedtime books, he can choose to keep the books with him in bed (or a car or pretty much whatever quiet toy he wants really). He has an LED nightlight which is just bright enough so he can see his books, etc.<br><br>
Anyways, this has been his routine for a long time now (he's 3, he's been sleeping in his own bed since he was 7 months) and has always been very peaceful and happy. Sometimes he's a little more wound up than others and takes a little while to fall asleep and I'll hear him chattering away to himself and then he'll conk out.<br><br>
I realize that this may not be the norm here since it seems like most everone cosleeps for a long time but bedtimes are fine and happy at my house and have been for a very long time, so it works for us.<br><br>
The cutest is when he puts his stuffed animals to bed. He'll run through our entire routine, ending with tucking in the animal, saying, "I love you! Good night and have happy dreams!"
 

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I just started leaving ds to fall asleep a few weeks ago. He has 2 large stuffed animals in his bed he can cuddle up to. I read a book to him, we talk about our day and then we turn out the light, I tuck him in, goodnight hugs/kisses. It has gone so well! Better than I ever imagined it would.
 

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I think dd was close to 4 when we started transitioning to her falling asleep on her own and not in my arms/sling/etc. But we have a nighttime routine...brush teeth, potty, jammies, and then we read a couple chapters in a book or a couple of books (her choice). Hugs and kisses and then we turn on some music and she generally reads books by herself. I check in on her relatively frequently.
 

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My 4.5 y/o ds is the same exact way. He has a really hard time shutting down his mind. Dh or I being in with him stimulates him more and he gets wound up. We do a bedtime routine, pj's vitamin, story, brush teeth, bed.<br><br>
Dh or I lay in with him for 10 minutes or so, give snuggles and kisses and then we leave. He has a battery powered lantern, a flashlight, and a nightlight at his disposal. If he can't sleep he can turn on one of the above and read as long as he wants. Anything brighter and it interferes with him relaxing and shutting his mind/body down. He is free to get up and get a drink, a tissue, use the bathroom and we will come tuck him back in.<br><br>
This has been our routine for a year or so. If he is sick or scared we still lay with him until he is entirely asleep, which takes a long time. But generally he will fall asleep on his own rather quickly.
 

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My kids are almost 6 and almost 3 and share a room. Our bedtime routine is bath, jammies, brush teeth and hair, read each a book, then hugs and kisses and off to bed. Each one gets tucked in, a short snuggle, and then out we go. The rule of bedtime is that they have to lay quietly in bed, and are only supposed to get up if they need to go potty or are sick. We've found that if we stay in there, the 3 year old will take forever going to sleep - like an hour or more. If we leave, he's asleep in less than 5 minutes. Other than that, the light is off but there's a nightlight, each can have a small cup of water (too much and the 6 year old is up in the middle of the night), no food, and they can have the lovey of their choice (dd usually picks one stuffed animal, ds currently has 3 stuffed animals, two airplanes and occasionally a car). It's been working well for us - our goal is for bedtime to take an hour, and to have them going down easily before the baby is here.<br><br>
Kristin<br>
mom to dd (almost 6), ds (almost 3) and #3 due in June
 

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My DD is 3.5 and sounds very similar. Her bedtime routine is a work in progress, changing a bit with time to help her move toward sleeping on her own. Here's what we do:<br><br>
Brush teeth, PJs, last trip to the potty, 3 stories in a chair. After that she hangs out in her room for 5-10 minutes and kinda winds down with the lights on.<br><br>
Then she gets in bed and I read her one last story that she has picked out. We turn the lights off, and then turn on a CD of stories that are simple and calming. I heat up a little bag of lavender and beans in the microwave and she keeps that in her bed. That little kitty-shaped bag has been very soothing. She falls asleep on her own most nights, unless she's really wound up, and I sit with her in the dark for a few minutes.
 

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We had great success by creating a goodnight chart - visual pictures of her routine so that she could determine what was next. Then we used a goodnight timer. I would set it for a short period of time at first (3 mins) and check on her when it beeped. We discussed all of this ahead of time and I told her I would check on her when her timer went beep, beep, beep. Of course she is 2 so you could probably arrange this quite differently. We just kept increasing the time increment each time we went in to see her. Now I set the initial period for 10 - 20 minutes before the first check depending on her mood. Usually she is asleep before it gets to that point. I implemented this because it was taking 1-2 hours for her to fall asleep with me next to her. Me being there was preventing her from falling asleep. It was such a drastic improvement and all of it with no tears. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the input. She is fine with the bedtime routine (jammies, teeth, potty, stories), it's just what to do after that.<br><br>
For the last few months, we had to separate 2 & 4 yr old dds to improve bedtime. So I nurse down 2 yr old who falls to sleep usually very quickly. And dh would read and tell stories to 4 yr old, which could take hours. When dh is travelling, I have an awful time with 4 yr old winding up 2 yr old so neither get to sleep for hours.<br><br>
But we're just about to move and would prefer to get them settled into being together again. Last night, 4 yr old was chatting away, asking questions, and starting to wake up dozy nursing 2 yr old. So I told her that she was going to have to move into another room unless she could settle down and be quiet. She whispered a few more questions to me very quietly then fell asleep. Sometimes if we leave her, she's good (either falling asleep quickly or looking at books, chatting to herself for hours) but sometimes she really fusses for us to stay with her. I think if we were more consistent it might help her know what to expect.<br><br>
I think the flashlight idea is great - I don't want to use a nightlight but a flashlight would solve the wanting to read in bed issue, without either the light keeping her up or disturbing 2 yr old. And the "don't bring it to our attention that you're awake, and we'll assume that you will do a good job of going to sleep on your own" would also work for her usually.<br><br>
I'm stuck about what to do when she is being loud and disrupting 2 yr olds bedtime. What is the threatened/actual punishment? 2 yr old & mom move to another room, 4 yr old moves to another room, withdrawal of some sort of privilege for the next day - I don't know how to get her to settle sometimes without the process of getting her quiet actually winding her up more. Maybe I just should nurse 2 yr old alone, then only allow 4 yr old into her bed once 2 yr old is asleep, since my presence there nursing 2 yr old exacerbates the problem... But then what to do if she is being loud once 2yr old is asleep???
 

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Hi we've been through the mill with dd as well - but she does stay in bed and chatter to herself until she falls asleep now it wasn't always like that - yoga is a godsend quite honestly, a few relaxing techniques and she's off to sleep no problem - now I don't even prompt her - she does it all herself! We have a no light policy otherwise she stays up and awake until the wee hours, so I suppose that's our breaking thing, if she stays up to look at books she'll be up for hours and she needs her sleep. No lights, door slightly ajar and some music if she asks for it.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lurk.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lurk">:
 

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My 4.5 year old puts himself to sleep after out nighttime routine, and has for a long time. We do bath, book and snuggles and then I leave him in his room. Most nights he'll go right to sleep, but other nights he'll stay up and sing and play for up to an hour. His door is open and we are out in the living room if he needs us (and he's not shy to ask if he needs water or something!) but he does put himself to sleep. I'd say he's been doing this since he was 3 or so. We have always had the same routine, and at some point I just stopped laying with him until he fell asleep. It works so well for us.
 

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My 4 yo shares a room with his 18 mth old brother, we do the usual routine- bath, jammies, teeth, potty... then I nurse ds2 to sleep and ds1 needs to be in his bed. While I bf I sing to them then after baby is asleep i leave the room- sometimes ds1 is out, usually not. he's pretty relaxed from the singing by then but he can look at books or play with something quiet until he goes out, as long as he stays in bed. It works great! Sometimes he needs a little extra tlc so after i nurse baby down dh goes in with him. Usually he's out within 20 minutes of me leaving though. Except last night. Which was 7pm TV and brownies night. What was I thinking? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lurk.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lurk">:<br><br><br>
here too!
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lurk.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lurk">:
 

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Our story is similar to the previous ones....our 4yo goes to sleep on his own and has for some time. We realized at about age 2 1/2 to 3 that our presence was keeping him awake longer. It was a tough transition and we tried a lot of different things, but he now is very secure with our routine. He has two nightlights on and the hall light and we're right down the hall from him until he falls asleep and he knows that.<br><br>
It's quite liberating to move into this phase of things, I must say. We are in the very beginning of nighttime parenting with our 1yo now...I think it will be easier with him because he'll have his older brother there with him to guide the way with the nighttime stuff.
 

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Both my boys (3.5 and 21 months) fall asleep on their own in the same room. Our routine right now is to get into PJs, then we all read 3 books on the baby's bed while he has a bottle of milk. Then we brush our teeth and the milk gets replaced with water. My husband and I take turns lying down with the baby while he drinks some water, the other parent will read another story to our 3 yr old. That parent gives our 3 yr old lots of hugs and kisses, then hugs and kisses the baby, then leaves. Whoever's lying down with the baby stays about 5-10 minutes longer, usually sings a song, kisses both kids, and then leaves.<br><br>
Sometimes they fall right asleep, sometimes they'll ask for a toy or two, which we give them so long as they stay in bed. If one of them doesn't want us to leave, we'll stay for a bit but try to get out of there asap (they'll stay up much longer if we're in there entertaining themselves). We'll leave if they only protest a little, but if we sense that they really need the company, we oblige. If we stay cheerful they're usually okay with us leaving.<br><br>
When we first put the baby into a big boy bed at 15 months, they stayed up playing for sometimes as long as 45 minutes. I didn't mind that because I figured it was helping their bond and that they'd go to sleep when they're ready. Now they're almost always asleep within 20 minutes of us leaving.<br><br>
I think kids definitely need some quiet time to process things at night. I often go into the room to find Colwyn quietly lying awake. At first it freaked me out, but then I realized that we all do that to some degree or another.
 

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Wow. Great thread. I SO needed the ideas. Thankyou.<br><br>
I'm pulling my hair out about bedtime for about the past 3 or 4 mos. Every night is a struggle because 4.5 yr. old winds up 21 mos. old that share bedroom. We only have 2 rooms and we used to co sleep with dc2 until He was 10 mos. Now, bedtime is a nightmare. Hoping to establish better sleep routine to make it easier for us/them.
 
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