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3 year old going to sleep

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  • 3 year old going to sleep

    Hi all, My 3 year old daughter it having such a hard time going to sleep at night. Sometimes bedtime can take 2 hours. (bedtime has never really been easy for her, even as an infant and baby) By the time she is asleep my husband and I are so frustrated that we cannot even look at each other. Last night he said "this is tearing us apart " We try to keep the routine the same. I work two days a week so on those nights it may be a little later but btwn 7 -7:30 she is in bed. we do bath, books, prayers then I lay with her for a minute, then my husband lays with her for a few minutes. She will then say I want mommy to check me right now. I will try to let her fall asleep before I check her but sometimes she will get out of bed. then she has to go potty. sometime 2-3 times, she will need a drink of water, she wants me to lay down with her. some nights it is awful and my husband and I will raise our voices (Yell) at her and we tell her if you do not get in your bed we will have to shut your door. she gets so upset she has thrown up. it is just awful.
    Does anyone have any suggestions?
    Thank You.

  • #2
    My three year old slept in her own bed with no problems -- we coslept when she was younger but at 2 years old, she wanted to be in her own bed in her own room -- and then a couple months ago, we began to have major problems getting her to sleep. Actually, much of what your three year old is doing. Have to go potty, have to have a drink, want someone to lay with her, etc., etc. Sometimes, she'd be up til midnight or later. She would seem to go to bed alright and then at some point -- sometimes within minutes, other times after an hour or so -- she'd start kicking the door, and screaming and clawing the door frame wanting out. It was TERRIBLE!

    At nap time, I found that the problem was she didn't want the door closed all the way. She just wanted it to be cracked a little bit -- I guess she felt trapped otherwise.

    But at night time, nothing seemed to help until we decided to cosleep again. I read the book, Raising Your Spirited Child, which definitely defines my three year old. One of the many traits of a spirited -- or high-needs child -- is difficulty falling asleep alone and difficulty with night waking. So, we take her and her sister to our bed with us at night, but because there's not enough room for all of us to sleep comfortably, I wait until they fall asleep...some nights it can be 1 1/2 hours, other nights it's 1/2 hour, usually it's about 45 minutes until they're fully asleep. I then move my three year old into her own bed for the rest of the night.

    I've found with her that she gets better sleep if we move her eventually then if she's in our bed all night. I suppose we could move a crib mattress to our floor and have her sleep there, too. I just haven't it done it that way.

    This has been a ton(!) better for my marriage than trying to get her to sleep in her own room. Yeah, it's a little inconvenient having her in bed for an hour or so every night, but a whole lot better than doing it the other way where we were up easily for two or three hours.

    Another about three is when kids begin to become afraid of the dark and to imagine things like monsters under the bed. My three year old's bedroom has a tree outside that rubs on the siding when it's windy, and she was scared of the noise. One more thing...spirited children tend to be more stimulated than relaxed by bath time, so perhaps consider adjusting your bedtime routine so bath time is in the morning.

    I hope this gives you some inspiration to continue looking for ways to comfort your child at bedtime that will hopefully work better for your family.
    Last edited by LisaL; 06-08-2009, 11:10 PM.


    • #3
      Yes, I can see why you are frustrated! It does sound like it has become a battle of wills and that is never helpful! Have you read
      Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles: Winning for a Lifetime (Paperback)
      by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka- click for link
      there is a lot about not letting a situation escalate! I love that book!

      Anyway, we have had nights of the same thing. Lately my son is suddenly famished right when it is time to go upstairs for bed. Occasionally we give him a carrot but most of the time he might as well be saying "I really don't want to go to bed now" so we try to appeal to that thinking and talk about the books we are going to read or something like that. The distraction and Playful Parenting-click for link work with direct effect on his attempt at getting us to forget it is bedtime. In a way HE is trying the same thing! There have been a few nights where he has been so resistant to bedtime that we both had given up and went about doing our chores that we do after he goes to bed. He followed us around while we put laundry away and cleaned the kitchen counters. He sat with us while we read our own books. Eventually he did fall asleep with us at 11. I think he did miss the security and predictability of what we normally do, so the next night it was all better. We do get to a point where it is such a struggle we feel the advantages do not outweigh the disadvantages so we abandon the idea for the time. Contrary to popular belief, your kids do not learn to walk all over you if you 'let it go' at times. I don't mean necessarily give in to the demand, but not pushing back and finding a compromise for the short term.
      Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers
      by Gordon Neufeld- click for link
      ---has some good thoughts on approach.
      Have you looked into NVC- click for link? At 3 1/2 it REALLY helped with my son and I and our relationship. When I do use it (I need to do it more- but any is good) I think he really feels heard and can understand my concerns too.

      Let us know of how it goes!
      Last edited by naomifrederickmd; 06-09-2009, 10:34 PM.


      • #4
        Thank You both for your posts.
        What is NVC?


        • #5
          NVC- Non-violent Communication--
          see this site
          "NVC provides practical skills in language, awareness, and using power to communicate in ways that inspire compassionate giving and receiving toward meeting the needs of all concerned. These skills provide clarity, understanding, and connection leading to mutual respect and cooperation."

          and this is my favorite short book on it-
          Parenting From Your Heart: Sharing the Gifts of Compassion, Connection, and Choice (Nonviolent Communication Guides) by Inbal Kashtan - click for link

          Favorite longer book about it--
          Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids: 7 Keys to Turn Family Conflict into Cooperation - click for link

          Great for husbands, in laws and others too!


          • #6
            What's worked wonders for "us" is allowing our 3 year old daughter a "choice" in where she sleeps. I layed a thick blanket on her floor a few days ago, next to her bed for me or her daddy to kneel on when we're next to her bed at night. When I left the room she opened the blanket and layed on it. She was asleep in a few mintues. I've kept it in her room, on her floor since then..until our daschund peed on it, then I had to wash it of course.. I don't know if this would work fo you or not, but I wanted to tell you what we've tried and found successful. Good Luck Mama!! :-)