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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DS, 18 mos has been VERY difficult lately, and I'm totally losing it. I have been yelling, and come VERY close to spanking him
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I just don't know what to do. Here is a few examples:

Its naptime, I tell him we're going up to take a nap, we get into bed and he runs around jumping and acting crazy. But, he IS tired, and it IS naptime. I usually pick him up and lay him down, and say "put your head on your pillow, it's time to sleep" He'll get up, run around, yell NO NO NO! I get sooo frustrated that I want to hold him down onto the bed and make him sleep (obviously that's terrible and would never work anyhow....)

He has also been obsessed with climbing up on top of the table, and climbing up the stairs. It's VERY exhausting to be chasing him all over. On top of that, he touches EVERYTHING he's not supposed to, and has little to no interest in any of his toys.

He's obviously bored, this I know, and I know what he's doing is pretty common at 18 mos. I just don't know how to be gentle effectively.

I do NOT want to be a yelling mom, but lately I have been
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Please help me be a better mom to my babies
 

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Do you have a night time bed routine? We used the same routine for naps as we did for bedtime at that age. Diaper change, read 3 books, dim the lights (we have blackout shades or he never would have taken a nap), snuggle 10 minutes and then I leave. He needs consistent cues and routine to help him turn off his brain and body so if you have something that works at night I recommend using it at nap too.
 

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Let go of the idea of forcing him to sleep. No one can be forced to sleep. He is probably ready to drop his naps.
If he is touching things to ge your attention, then it sounds like he wants more human interaction, not just different toys, kwim?
Is there a playgroup you could join?
 

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Is he overtired? There are a few kids who are ready to drop naps at 18 months, but most kids by far still need them. The running around and being unable to settle down could be related to overtiredness.

Has his night time sleep changed any? Is he going to bed later or earlier or waking earlier or later? These could all affect his napping.

I'd definitely make sure you have a very consistent, calming routine. Since it's taking so long to settle him, I'd start a bit earlier. That always helps me stay calmer when I know I've allowed lots of extra time.

A lot of kids respond well when they know what to plan on. So, in the morning, you could talk about your plans for the day. When it's getting close to naptime (maybe an hour away to when you start the process), mention that in about an hour, you'll be heading up for nap. Bring it up a few times so he's planning on it.

When we've gone through rough napping spells, I've sometimes talked to DS about the fun thing/yummy snack/etc. that he can have/do after he takes a nap. Then I'll plan something fun, but we'll only have time to do it if he falls asleep quickly. Your DS may still be too young for this, but some kids will respond well by that age. A lot won't, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

Another thought, a lot of kids drop their second nap somewhere around 15-18 months or so. Is that a factor for your son? I remember that was a hard transition, but I'd often put him down a little earlier to head off the wild, falling totally apart stage.

And it will get better. Hang in there. Even just thinking of how you'll handle it can help you feel calmer when you're dealing with it.

I find changing my mindset helps a lot. Remember, he's still so young. You know he needs sleep, so it's your job to figure out how to make it happen. But he's excited because there's so much in the world to see and do! Trying to avoid battles the rest of the day (use distraction! put the things he can't touch away! give him lots of chances to run and climb in ok places!) might help the nap battles, or at least give you more patience for them.
 

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It's clear from her post that she thinks he needs sleep. And yes, kids will sleep when they need to, under ideal circumstances. But, I think it's our job to figure out how to help them when they can't fall asleep when they're tired. Does he want to be rocked? Does he need quiet? Is he overtired? What about a ride in the stroller or sling if you can still do it? Sometimes kids get past the point where they can fall asleep easily, and they need help to get the sleep they need. The same thing is true for adults, and I sure wish someone could gently rub my back or rock me to sleep sometimes!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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Originally Posted by straighthaircurly View Post
Do you have a night time bed routine? We used the same routine for naps as we did for bedtime at that age. Diaper change, read 3 books, dim the lights (we have blackout shades or he never would have taken a nap), snuggle 10 minutes and then I leave. He needs consistent cues and routine to help him turn off his brain and body so if you have something that works at night I recommend using it at nap too.
No, not really. We change his diaper, then I lay down and snuggle him until he falls asleep (most of the time I fall asleep too lol)

Quote:

Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies View Post
Let go of the idea of forcing him to sleep. No one can be forced to sleep. He is probably ready to drop his naps.
If he is touching things to ge your attention, then it sounds like he wants more human interaction, not just different toys, kwim?
Is there a playgroup you could join?
I don't think he is ready to drop his naps. I mean, his eyes get all red, and he rubs them, and yawns. I do feel he needs more human interaction, its just me and him all day, everyday, and there is no playgroup in my area (with the exception of a very disturbing church group to which I will never return)
It's hard b/c we are a 1 car family at the moment, and I live in a tiny little town in southern Minnesota, and it's getting hard for us to walk anywhere (now that I'm almost 34 weeks pregnant)

Quote:

Originally Posted by alegna View Post


He's still just a baby. You're simply expecting unrealistic behavior of him.

Change your expectations.

-Angela

What should I be expecting? I know I do expect too much, but it's not like I expect to NOT touch things, just that he is incessant, it is constant, and there is nowhere else to put this stuff, so I can't just move it somewhere inaccessible. What am I supposed to do when he refuses his naps? Just let him be awake and tired, and cranky? I feel at a loss right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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Originally Posted by rainyday View Post
Is he overtired? There are a few kids who are ready to drop naps at 18 months, but most kids by far still need them. The running around and being unable to settle down could be related to overtiredness.

Has his night time sleep changed any? Is he going to bed later or earlier or waking earlier or later? These could all affect his napping.

I'd definitely make sure you have a very consistent, calming routine. Since it's taking so long to settle him, I'd start a bit earlier. That always helps me stay calmer when I know I've allowed lots of extra time.

A lot of kids respond well when they know what to plan on. So, in the morning, you could talk about your plans for the day. When it's getting close to naptime (maybe an hour away to when you start the process), mention that in about an hour, you'll be heading up for nap. Bring it up a few times so he's planning on it.

When we've gone through rough napping spells, I've sometimes talked to DS about the fun thing/yummy snack/etc. that he can have/do after he takes a nap. Then I'll plan something fun, but we'll only have time to do it if he falls asleep quickly. Your DS may still be too young for this, but some kids will respond well by that age. A lot won't, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

Another thought, a lot of kids drop their second nap somewhere around 15-18 months or so. Is that a factor for your son? I remember that was a hard transition, but I'd often put him down a little earlier to head off the wild, falling totally apart stage.

And it will get better. Hang in there. Even just thinking of how you'll handle it can help you feel calmer when you're dealing with it.

I find changing my mindset helps a lot. Remember, he's still so young. You know he needs sleep, so it's your job to figure out how to make it happen. But he's excited because there's so much in the world to see and do! Trying to avoid battles the rest of the day (use distraction! put the things he can't touch away! give him lots of chances to run and climb in ok places!) might help the nap battles, or at least give you more patience for them.

He goes to bed everynight between 8 and 9, and gets up every morning between 7 and 7:30, so I doubt he is overtired (although I very much am lol)

He does know when naptime is coming, it is usually after lunch, then we bathe (after every meal we bathe b/c he is VERY messy lol) then usually its naptime, although if he slept in later than usual we play for a bit, then nap.

Second Nap?!?! Since when do I get one of those lol, he naps each afternoon for an hour, and hasn't napped twince in one day since he was about 9 or 10 months old!!

I know I can't expect him to actually do what I have planned, but I don't know how to respond to him when he doesn't, so that one day he will....kwim?
 

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OK, you're 34 weeks pregnant in Southern Minnesota, BUT one thing that REALLY helps my daughter settle down for a nap is, brace yourself, getting OUTSIDE in the morning.

Morning light helps set the body's biological clock. Running around outside burns off energy so she's tired enough to sleep and is more interesting than being inside!!

Can you put him in a stroller and walk him somewhere to play? Can you just get out in the yard for a bit? It hasn't snowed (much) yet according to my parents in MN, so while it's cold, a little cold never hurt anyone. When it snows, playing in the snow is actually really fun and burns up a TON of energy.

My only other suggestion would be to put a CD on that you really like (make sure you REALLY like it) and say "it's quiet time" we need to stay on the bed and be quiet until the music is done. Then give him books he can read. When he starts to run around, gently help him sit down and give him a book. You can't make him sleep, but you CAN enforce a quiet time. Then be really, REALLY boring yourself. No words, no nothing while you help him sit down. Just "it's quiet time".

I find the 'not napping but really needs to' periods to be very frustrating. I think my low point as a parent was when I yelled at ds after an hour or so of trying to get him to sleep in his crib "GO TO SLEEP!!" Of course, as soon as I yelled it, I realized how stupid it sounded. But at the time, I was exhausted, frustrated and needed a nap myself!

As for touching everything. It's time to toddler proof. Prevention really is your friend here. You MAY need to put a lot of things away/in storage/behind locked doors until he's through this period. Either that, or help him explore them safely.
 

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I agree with what Lynn said about getting outside in the morning, and how important that can be for setting the body's clock. This is something that one of my kids really needs in order for her to fall asleep quickly and to get good, regular sleep. Another thing that helps all my kids is sticking to a very regular sleep/wake schedule. It wreaks havoc on my kids' sleep when they sleep later some days than others, or go to bed later some nights than others.

Some kids do get overtired, and their bodies go past sleepy into overdrive and they get cranky and wired. My kids are like this. I have found that, with my youngest in particular, when she gets overtired it's not a matter of chronically being overtired in the sense of not getting enough sleep every night. Instead, it's a matter of needing to nap or go to bed a little earlier (before the eye-rubbing, cranky, obvious stage of tired). At some point, I had been having her nap around...I don't know, 12 or 1:00, because that's when she'd be rubbing the eyes and it was when my other kids napped. But we stumbled onto realizing that she was tired way before that, and really needed to go to sleep at 11 or 11:30 (and some days earlier).

It has also been very helpful to make naptime or bedtime very pleasant times of connection. Playing seems a lot more fun than sleeping, even I stay up past when I'm tired to do fun things. So it helps an awful lot to make bedtime as pleasant and enjoyable as possible. Kids sometimes just have trouble settling down, something a lot of us can relate to, and it can help to find some really soothing rituals to help them unwind and be ready to sleep. I see you don't have a car, which was I could resort too on a day when kids really needed to sleep but couldn't unwind. I have also pushed strollers around inside, rocked even big kids to sleep, allowed kids to sleep in places other than their beds, gone to bed with the kids, and settled for 'rest time' without sleep. It helps to get creative. It's a rare day that we can't find some way of resting and I end up with a cranky, un-napped toddler all day.

With regard to the climbing, that's a natural toddler drive. Kids need to climb, some more than others. I found that the key to coping with the stage where they climb on everything in the house, including the things I don't want them to climb, is to provide plenty of safe opportunities for climbing. That might be trips to the park or indoor play area, or it might mean setting up things to climb on at home, or supervising chunks of time specifically for climbing stairs with supervision.

With 3 kids, I didn't babyproof much with the younger two because the older ones have their toys and putting everything away wasn't practical. Instead, I found the answer was spending the time helping my little ones explore things safely. Anything that couldn't be explored safely, or anything too valuable to be handled, was put away out of reach (very few things met this criteria). It was a lot of work, but less work than saying 'no' all the time and it helped the kids learn to handle things respectfully, cautiously, and gently. And they learned a lot of other things in the process of exploring.

Also, you have a new baby coming. Though your son is young it's likely he sense changes afoot and that might be a little stressful, which can contribute to difficult behaviors. He's also 18 months old, which is just such an independence/autonomy-oriented age of exploration (for my kids it was anyway). Maybe he could have more choice regarding nap: where to sleep, what to wear, etc.

Take care.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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Originally Posted by 2much2luv View Post
There is lots of great advice here already, but I just wanted to see if it was possible to gate off the stairs so you'd have one less thing to worry about.

Yes, it would be possible, but I would have to have something custom made that would attach with screws and hinges, we have an open staircase, and that bannister is odd-shaped at the bottom, and the baseboard on the other side makes it really weird, I've tried all sorts of gates, and nothing works therte.
 

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You know what has worked lately for my 20-mo? When I'm getting frustrated with sleep, I'll say something to him like "Are you having trouble sleeping?" and he'll say "Yes", then I'll ask if he wants me to sing him a song. He'll always say "yes" to this question, and he settles down on his pillow right away.

He seems to be unable to nurse to sleep all of the time anymore, and starts doing the same thing---running around like mad, overtired. He's not the rocking/singing--to-sleep sort, so this really surprised me. But just helping him to acknowledge that he's having trouble going to sleep seems to help him cakm down, and the singing seems to focus him.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies View Post
I disagree. Only he knows if he needs sleep.
exactly.

He is ready to sleep when he literally falls over on the floor and you have to scoop him up and carry him to bed.

DS goes throught times when he gives me a hug and says 'mama, let's go sleep in bed.' And sometimes he literally has to play unitll he drops.
 
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