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26 month old and getting to sleep

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  • 26 month old and getting to sleep

    So . . .
    I've got a 26 month old who will not , can not ,go to sleep independantly.For awhile there bedtime went like this : we'd do bed-snack , brush teeth ,goodnights to sister, lay in bed read a story and he would drift off while I was reading to him - most nights it would only take maybe two childrens books. That was working nicely - DH and I could and did both do bedtime with him comfortably and happily. Somewhere along the way it became three books , four books , five books plus a lay there and wait for him to fall asleep period of 10 , 15 , 20 . . sometimes more minutes , for a bedtime totalling sometimes more then an hour. This recent resistance to falling asleep has basically gobbled up all of our evening as my husband works VERY early so goes to bed very early. So by the time the little guy has finally fallen asleep and I come out of his room ( if im doing his bedtime) DH has maybe 30 or 45 minutes untill weboth need to prepare for the next day , clean / showe and then get to bed.ror if DH is doing his bedtime then he generally falls asleep while he's laying there with him.

    So a few months ago we tried getting him tosleep on his own , we laid down with him , read him a couple of stories , hugs, kisses , reassurances of checking back on him then left. he just came running back out , we picked him up put him back in with an i love you time for sleeping , repeat . .repeat . .repeat . . .add in crying . . yelling , crying , exclamations of 'SCARED' my broken heart and a failed attempt at getting him to go to bed more independantly. My dh got ' strict' and did stuff like stood at his doorway and told him to stay in bed. Which in some ways i felt better about because at least DS could see that dad was there, but it also frustrated him because DH was right there saying "STAYIN BED' everytime he tried to move.

    Anyway . . DH feels very strongly that the LO neds to start doing bedtime more independantly . .I say he's still just a baby . .but on the other hand . . .i would like my evenings back . . ? If LO wakes up through the night he's always welcome into our bed , by both DH and I - infact DH quite likes when he joins us(which he does 99%of nights) and requests having him next to him. But bedtime DH feels needs to change.

    So - how can we at least move in that direction , GENTLY!? If i lay with LO and do stories and then say im just stepping out and will be back he gets upset and cries and gets up and comes after me . . . ?

    Any other methods?
    I read Pantley's no crysleep solution over a year ago when he was under one yrs old and found it interesting but didn't really find a 'formula' that worked for us....

    anybody have any ideas or reccomendations of how i can move towards what we want to see without scaring or hurting my baby boy? gentle and eventual is what I'm looking for...?

  • #2
    It sounds like you feel that it is out of control! How has his naps been? Is he sleeping the same amount? Any other big changes in his life? These things can, and do effect a child's nighttime behavior. I remember my own son doing that for a while and then there was a window where he feel asleep even if we had to leave and 'check the laundry.'

    His inability to fall asleep in the manner you have described says a few things to me...
    • Maybe his bedtime is too early in relation to his wake-up time and the naps he is getting
    • Maybe he is spending less time with you or feels like he needs more interaction that he is not getting so stretches out bedtime to get it.
    • Maybe he is using bedtime to process emotions from the day
    • Maybe he
      would like a clear, predictable layout of the bedtime ritual for comfort.

    Those are just theories of course, as I do not know your child, but things to think about.

    My approach would be to reset the stage for a new bedtime. Possibly change his room around a little, get a cool nightlight or some new PJ's. Then tell him how you would like bedtime to happen. Ask him how he feels about it. It dosn't have to be all or nothing. I think its reasonable to lay with a child untill he falls asleep. If he is not falling asleep quickly, maybe the bedtime is not right or some other issue is to blame.
    When he feels safe enough at bedtime again you can slowly move from laying down in bed to sitting up. From sitting up in bed to sitting in a chair touching him, then to not touching him and each night move the chair farther away. If he protests, stay at his safe spot for a few more days. If he is ill or had an especially bad day, its OK to cuddle him to sleep again. You won't have to start from the beginning again when he feels better!
    I would say try this process for 3 weeks, more if you have a lot going on the weekends or other disruptive activities. Have patience with your child and yourself!


    • #3
      As far as wake up time and nap time , if anything he's not getting enough sleep. He mostly skips his nap unless we're in the car at the right time of day because i don't have time to lay with him for an hour to get him to nap - i either have my daughter home with us ( teusdays and thursdays) or my neice who i babysit ( monday wednesday friday) - and i can't leave them alone for an hour. So by around 5:30 or 6 he's falling asleep in his highchair eating supper , but if i let him go to bed at 6 i see him the next morning at 5:30 which then perpetuates his being-tired-at supper-time cycle.

      His bedtime routine is pretty normal everynight - bedsnack , wash hands , brush teeth ,goodnight hugs and kisses to his sister and whichever parent isn't putting him to bed, then into bed for stories.

      I do like the idea of doing a gradual moving away from his bed . . as long as i can get DH to be consistent.

      The other layer of complication with this is that LO is rather fearful :s so im uncomfortable leaving him if he is feeling scared.


      • #4
        So by around 5:30 or 6 he's falling asleep in his highchair eating supper
        I think this might be 'it'
        Maybe the time he gets sleep is kind of wacky so when he is open to sleeping, he is not able to. Then later when its 'time' to go to sleep he is not ready, or overly sleepy, so cannot relax and welcome sleep.
        I would also focus on trying to get him to sleep at some point during the day.
        I also have an older child and I did do some babysitting recently so understand the conundrum of logistics. If he has to be with you to fall asleep for nap and you have to be able to supervise your other children, what middle ground can we think of? Taking a walk? Rocking or patting? Everyone pretend to lay and sleep- watching a boring show or listening to music? I don't know how old your other children are or their needs/the layout of your house etc.

        If he is falling asleep late in the evening for a short cat nap, that totally explains the resistance to a 'normal' bedtime. I bet he would go to sleep like a charm if you did the same thing at 11pm... which I understand you don't want to do as a habit! When does he get up in the morning?


        • #5
          He gets up at 7ish. Give or take 30 minutes.

          I don't really let him nap when he's getting sleepy at suppertime - but he gets very upset when i 'bug' him to keep him awake and it makes me feel terrible. But it does seem that once I bring him around from his falling asleep /cranky- resisting being woken up state that he has a 'second wind' and /or ends up overtired.

          Just to make it clearer let me lay out his day chronologically.(just the sleeping related stuff!)

          Approxiamately 7 a.m.Wake up.

          IF we are in a vehicle he'll fall asleep as early as early as 10 a.m. , or at basically any later time. Basically as long as he's been up for at least three hours(ish) he'll nap in the car. The days I have a car I often plan a quick outing in late morning so he can have a nap then. If he has a car-nap later in the day - like later then say 1 , 1:30 ( because I couldn't help it - had to go somewhere or be somewhere at that time) it makes bed time harder.

          Approx. 5 p.m. - he gets very very sleepy , and cranky. Once he gets in his highchair he's toast. I think the fact that he's in a highchair and his movement is restricted he finally relaises he's tired and because he has to sit still to eat he just can't help but fall asleep. Sometimes I try to push supper as late as I can so that when he does fall asleep eating at least it's nearly bedtime - but thats not realy the ideal plan as my daughter has after super needs to be looked after - bath and whatnot for dycare the next day and if its already late theres not much time for such things.

          7 p.m. is his ' actual' bedtime , we do bedsnack , brush teeth , kisses , hugs and then into bed where i lay down with him and read stories for awhile - hoping he'll fall asleep and if after several stories he does not then ill just lay beside him untill he falls asleep.

          somewhere between 10:30 - p.m. and 4 a.m. he wakes up and comes into our bed and stays there untill

          7 a.m. (give or take 30 minutes) We start all over.

          I think I know that , ideally he would take maybe an hour to hour and a half nap at around 11. Problem is logistically it's rather difficult - AND he really really resists it. Perhaps because he's accustomed to only going to sleeep when hes completely exhuasted . .but trying to get him to lay down and sleep at 11 a.m. islike pulling teeth. He jumps and yells and kicks and laughs and gets up and crawls on me and exclaims ' G'UP!' ( get up) or 'No Sleep!" and in the meantime his sister is either needing me for something ( his sister is special needs - cerebral palsy non verbal , she does not walk and can not feed herself sshe is 4 1/2 )OR my 9 month old neice cries or SOMETHING! inevitably seems to get in the way of me having time or patience to lay with him long enough for him to realise he's tired!

          If i could have a vehicle every day I would go for a short spin , grab a tea at a drivethrough and let him get a nap - but i only have my vehicle 5 days out of ten. . so half the time I'm left without that ' tool'.


          • #6
            Thats funny. We only have one car too! I totally understand! I am still nursing mt 18m old so he still nurses to sleep for nap, so that's relatively easy. My 4 year old has great trouble leaving us alone (in the same room but quiet) sometimes so he can fall asleep.

            Do you have anywhere you can lay down with your son while the other children are in sight and safe? Maybe a quiet time where everyone reads books together? Nothing is going to work right away, you will have to introduce the idea and keep practicing it for a few weeks. Maybe set a timer for 10:45, have books or some relaxing snack and practice laying down and napping. Don't be too pushy, if he want to get up say that's fine but you are still resting untill (10-20 more minutes) I would still get up and help the girls but then go back and 'nap.' Eventually, with consistency, he might see the opportunity to sleep, expect it, and do it. Get all the stuffed animals ready for rest time too. Keep it easy and relaxed, don't turn it into a battle of wills and try not to show how frustrated you are that he is not napping. You can try this on a couch or put a mattress in a corner of your living space so you can still be near the others.
            There are never any guarantees of course, but that is what I would do!