Major Bedtime Woes!

14 posts / 0 new
Last post
sandraleigh's picture
Joined: 11/23/06
Posts: 2672
Major Bedtime Woes!

I am at my wits end! When did my 2 year old son adopt the sleeping habits of a newborn?!?!?! GAH!

Sorry ladies, this will be long.

Back when Eli was still in a crib, bedtime was pretty easy. Lay him down at bedtime with a sippy of milk, a soother, and a blankie, and he'd drift off to sleep. Sometimes he would lay awake talking to himself for 20 minutes or so, but he'd eventually go to sleep without any fuss.
In November, he learned how to climb out of his crib. The minute he was done his milk, he'd hop out of the crib and open his bedroom door. We'd have to sit by his door and field all his escapee attempts. Put him back in his crib (he couldn't get back in) and leave the room. He'd be out of his crib again by the time we closed the bedroom door!
Within a week or two, we bought a toddler bed. We'd put him to bed, sit beside his bed for a couple minutes, help him settle down after his milk was gone, then quietly leave the room and hope he'd go to sleep. It was the same story as the week before. We'd end up spending 2 hours sitting by his bedroom door sending him back to bed every 35 seconds. He would stay in bed if we stayed in the room, but it was still taking him over an hour to fall asleep! (I don't know about you, but I don't have a spare 2 hours at 8 pm! I have things that need to get done!)
We decided to move his bed downstairs to his sisters room, because we thought maybe he just didn't want to go to sleep alone. It took some getting used to (about 3 weeks) but the time it took him to fall asleep was shorter and eventually, we could put them both to bed, lie with them for 15 minutes, the leave the room and they'd go to sleep. (With the occasional escape, once every few days)
Things were continuing on like this since about January until around last week. Eli is back to taking over 2 hours to fall asleep, he FREAKS out when it's bedtime, and he won't even lie down in his bed. He keeps asking for more milk (last night he had 30 oz!) and just gets out of bed and wanders around the room, keeping his sister up. He's opening the door every 2 minutes.If you go in to lie with him, he only stays lying down with you for 5 minutes, then he sits up and refuses to lie down!

Obviously.....he is not ready for bed?!?!?! Do I really have to give up his nap????? He is sleeping anywhere from 9-10 hours at night, with a 2 hour nap during the day. He used to not fight his nap or bedtime, now he is fighting BOTH. The past week I am forcing him to take his nap, and it takes 45 minutes just to get him down. Add that to the 2 hours at night, and I am wasting 3 hours a day on fruitless efforts!

Obviously he'd be ready for bed at 8 pm if he hadn't napped. But I don't think he can make it thorough the day without the nap, no matter how much he fights it! He'd meltdown by 3 pm, I'm sure of it. Then he'd fall asleep until 5 pm and not go to bed until midnight.

Any advice? What do I do with this psycho kid? We are doing a bedtime routine - we brush teeth, sit together and read stories (at least 6!) then the kids lie down and I sing them a few songs while Eli is having his milk. Then I usually stay for another 10 minutes, then leave them to go to bed.

Are your kids still napping? My DD napped until she was 3, and I felt even that was hard to give up. I know all kids are different, but Eli is such a handful, I still NEED that nap from him!

Last night he didn't go down until 10:15 pm (we started bedtime at 7:50 pm) and he had 30 oz of milk before going down. Mega thirsty because it is dry?? Then he was up FOUR times in the night!!!!!!! Each time we have to take him back down to bed and sometimes even get him more milk.

Also, he is in a toddler bed. We are considering getting a twin instead (my DD went straight to a twin, but I was trying to save space by putting Eli in a toddler bed, since the rooms are small and they are sharing, plus all the toys are in the room too!) A twin might help because we could actually lie with him properly.

AH!

Going insane. And sleep deprived!

ETA: I feel like I can't even reason with him either. He still is barely talking, and I'm not sure his comprehension level is where it should be. I feel like I can't even say, "No more! It's bedtime!" because he doesn't even know what I mean!

Joined: 02/08/08
Posts: 35

Sounds to me like a power struggle. I'd draw the line at 1 cup of milk. Give him water if he realllllly is thirsty. Don't give him an option. When abby had gotten used to getting milk in the middle of the night and getting up and laying with DH, we had to break the habit. Took about 3 days. I'd also move him back to his room. Make sure he can't hurt himself on anything, and reverse the door knob (lock on the outside) until he realizes that you are serious. Currently, he has all of your attention and is still gettting his way, using all possible escape mechanisms. He understands you. Like you said, spending 3 hours a day puttign him back in his bed isn't working. He needs to learn to put himself to sleep again and not rely on you to lay there with him. It'll be hard for you. You are the mommy. You can do it.

joysiloo's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1054

I think he's ready to ditch the nap. Try getting rid of it and putting him down at 6:30 or 7 for the night...I bet it will be much easier for both of you. It's pretty common for kids to give up their naps around age 2. I'm hoping Daphne will keep hers until she's 3, but she's showing signs of being ready to drop it too. Blech.

Joined: 05/31/08
Posts: 1131

Sounds like fun Sad
Griffin's naps have been creeping later, partly from us trying to pack more stuff into our mornings and not getting back in time for the usual naptime, and partly because he has been taking longer to fall asleep. He is definitely not ready to give up the nap though. He sleeps 2 hours for nap and still sleeps fine at night. Sometimes he doesn't go down until 2 p.m. for his nap. If you try skipping the nap and he starts getting sleepy later in the afternoon, maybe just put him down then. You can always wake him up if it starts to get too late and you're worried he won't be ready for bed.

Nell4Him's picture
Joined: 10/25/06
Posts: 2455

We are trying to skip the nap too. But, just like what you expect from Eli, Daniel starts breaking down into fit mode by 3 or 4 and would SOO go to sleep if I let him. But I HAVE noticed on the days that he DOESN'T nap, he goes to bed fairly easily and sleeps most of the night (mostly ALL night) instead of waking up 2 times like he usually does (never slept through more than once a week).

I agree with the no more than one cup of milk, it sounds like he's using the milk as an excuse to stay awake.

:goodluck:

sandraleigh's picture
Joined: 11/23/06
Posts: 2672

Thanks ladies. Smile One day at a time, right?

I decided to keep him busy today and skip the nap, just as a trial. We stayed busy this morning and he didn't fall asleep in the car when we were driving home at noon. We played some more and then around 3 pm went outside for a walk in the puddles. We walked and played outside until 4, then they needed a bath because they were WET!

After his bath he fell asleep on the couch wrapped in his towel while I was getting his diaper and clean clothes :rolleyes: It was 5 pm. I woke him up and handled a 20 minute ANGRY boy until he finally calmed down and started eating his dinner. He played for a bit more after dinner, but just fell asleep again in an armchair at 6:15 pm. I decided to let him go to bed, so I transferred him to his bed.

We'll see, he may get up at 8 pm thinking it was a nap :confused:

mwilliamson006's picture
Joined: 09/10/08
Posts: 928

Good Luck! My first dd got up a lot when we moved her to her toddler bed. She would go to the door and look under it and say mommy ..mommy. She didn't figure out her door knob until she turned three. Eventually she got the hint that we weren't going to come and she would go back to her bed and go to sleep. Kamryn our youngest dd is doing better transitioning to a bed. She is taking only one hour nap a day, and gets up at 2p.m. and plays until bath time, then we have dinner, and by 8 she is ready for bed. I do think that your ds is just testing you, and you can't give in. I saw that someone else said to draw the line at 1 cup. You might have to listen to screaming for a couple of nights, but he will eventually get that you mean it when you put him to bed. I do hope it works out for you. I know how stressful this can be, and I know how much you need that time after 8p.m. I am also in the same boat there. Keep us updated.

:bigarmhug:

les27's picture
Joined: 05/21/08
Posts: 840

any updates Sandra? how did it go last night?

Joined: 11/23/07
Posts: 870

i think he does understand "no more" and he'll understand it better if you stick by it! Ellie learned what "gangled" (which would be Tangled BTW) was after watching it ONCE, and will now say it at the commercials for it that we see on TV. If he's talking more than Ellie (and lots of kids are, she's not a huge talker and doesnt use more than 2 words together often if EVER, and if she does one of the words is "more" every time)

Ellie will fall asleep whenever she wants... except bedtime! so she still takes naps, even if its only half an hour instead, but if it hits 4 pm and she hasnt napped, i try not to let her fall asleep until close to 9 or ill be up til midnight with her. i'm already up until 10 with them for sure. But at my house, as much as i've tried, if we don't go to bed when she does or very soon after, she wakes up and wants to play until 3 am. i think she has supersonic hearing.

I can't help you with much though, Ellie still nurses to sleep in my bed (sometimes in her bed) and almost always is in my bed by morning even if i transfer her to her own room. but i haven't given up, i'll keep putting her to bed in her room until it works again. it was great until she got sick and wanted mama again. i'm about to put DS to bed in her room too so when he wakes up if i'm still asleep in her room DS doesnt wake up DH before i hear him. If Ellie nurses and i'm done with her doing that and she's still awake, i lay with her, hug her, and pretend to sleep... and i often do fall asleep too. thats why we went straight to the twin bed, in case i fell asleep with her. I dont know if that would help him or not, depends on what is goal is!

There are still lots of options here for you. We also skipped the toddler bed, but DD has almost never put herself to sleep AT ALL i always sit with her or just let her sleep with us. when she's 3 we might have to change that up a little bit. i just feel she's young enough to need me still. if she starts preschool i'll consider her old enough for lots of things that i dont think shes ready for now. (if they have a midyear opening in the head start she could be in there as soon as next january!)

Have you read the toddler/preschool version of The No-Cry Sleep Soution? i read it last year (which lead to my first month of sleep success with Ellie in her own bed) but i disregarded so much of it because it just didn't apply at the time, there might be a bunch of tips in there for you!

as you've discovered, you can't MAKE a toddler do much. sure you can move an unwilling child from one location to another, take away things they shouldnt have, but you can't MAKE them sleep just like you can't MAKE them eat or take their medicine. Make guidelines, like if he won't go to sleep, he has to stay in his bed and be quite. eventually he'll get bored and fall asleep (would work better if he's in his own room again) definatly limit the milk to one cup and then go to water, and you might want to limit that to one or 2 cups too.

and pray that its just a phase!

i know you guys are a pretty acive family, but is there any way you could find more time in the afternoon (after nap time would be, whether you try skipping the nap or not) really tiring him out? I had to take Ellie to the park by 10 am every morning last summer or she'd fall asleep, but if we went outside and she played, i could push nap to noon and avoid the 4pm doldrums that happened if she conked out before 10 am while i did chores.

It sounds like it might be what Ellie does trying to avoid sleep. the more tired she gets the faster she goes until she crashes. try putting him to bed half an hour earlier.

sandraleigh's picture
Joined: 11/23/06
Posts: 2672

Well, Eli went to bed at 6:15 pm last night, falling asleep on an armchair right after dinner. I moved him to his bed, and he slept until 2:30 am. He came upstairs to get me then, so I took him back down to bed. Unfortunately it took him about 40 minutes to fall back asleep, but at least he was lying in bed quietly. Then he slept until around 6:30 am. (I think, I was still sleeping! DH got up with him)

It was pretty hard to keep him awake without the nap yesterday. I think I may try the nap again today but maybe limit the time? If I only let him get 60-90 minutes instead of 2 1/2 hours, it may be easier at bedtime.

The problem with keeping him busy and tiring him out is that we are still cooped up in the cold weather! It is finally starting to warm up here (and by warm, I mean just above freezing, still in the 30's) but it's too cold to spend time at the park (plus the playgrounds are still covered in snow) I have a feeling once the summer comes he will be a lot happier - he loves to be outside, and we may daily park visits in the summer. Once he can burn off all his energy outside I think he'll just be all around a more happy kid!

Until then, we'll play it by ear. Perhaps he'll only nap a few times a week instead of every day.

Thanks for all the input ladies!

les27's picture
Joined: 05/21/08
Posts: 840

KUP how he's doing Smile I hope better so you can get your rest preggo lady :bigarmhug:

sandraleigh's picture
Joined: 11/23/06
Posts: 2672

Yesterday I let him nap from 12:15 to 2:00 pm. My MIL stayed with the kids last night and put them to bed. When we got home at 10 pm, Eli was watching a movie with MIL on the couch :rolleyes: She said he was just fighting it so hard!

We put him down at 10:15 pm and he wanted more milk :rolleyes: so i gave him water instead. He was SOOOOO mad! LOL. I decided to take him cup and leave (he thought I was getting him more milk) but I just never went back in.....LOL. He went to sleep on his own. Of course, it was nearly 10:30 pm.

les27's picture
Joined: 05/21/08
Posts: 840

that's a start though! he didn't get his way Smile and it doesn't help that MIL let him stay up lol

heateras's picture
Joined: 06/01/06
Posts: 192

"taralynne" wrote:

Sounds to me like a power struggle. I'd draw the line at 1 cup of milk. Give him water if he realllllly is thirsty. Don't give him an option. When abby had gotten used to getting milk in the middle of the night and getting up and laying with DH, we had to break the habit. Took about 3 days. I'd also move him back to his room. Make sure he can't hurt himself on anything, and reverse the door knob (lock on the outside) until he realizes that you are serious. Currently, he has all of your attention and is still gettting his way, using all possible escape mechanisms. He understands you. Like you said, spending 3 hours a day puttign him back in his bed isn't working. He needs to learn to put himself to sleep again and not rely on you to lay there with him. It'll be hard for you. You are the mommy. You can do it.

I agree with Taralynne (we're the mean Texas mommies,LOL).

I'm glad things are going a bit better now though!