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HELP how do we make him go to sleep
2 1/2 years later and he still isn't sleeping


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14 replies to this topic

#1 lisajane666

Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:30 PM

Hi

Our lil man has not been a good sleeper since he was about 6 weeks old and he is now 2 1/2 years old.  We have tried everything but its gotten to the point where it is taking us over an hour for lil man to go to sleep at night and its driving me nuts.  He gets up around 5am every morning, still has a day nap and we put him to bed around 6.30 but it can take up to 8.30 at night for him to give in.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Lisa

#2 overthehill

Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:36 PM

Can you shorten his day sleep and/or put him to bed later in the evening?  This may take a good few nights to see a difference but would be worth a try.


Can you shorten his day sleep and/or put him to bed later in the evening?  This may take a good few nights to see a difference but would be worth a try.


#3 Frau Farbissina

Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:46 PM

I also suggest a later bed time. Hopefully it helps.



#4 José

Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:55 PM

Not sure where you are but what about trying a sleep consultant either visit your home or talk on the phone.  May not be cheap but how much is a good nights sleep worth to you?  I know very little on this topic but it seems that people often describe little  ones as bad sleepers and leave it at that as is nothing can be done. I wonder if that's really true?

#5 immismum

Posted 05 January 2013 - 09:38 AM

I suggest you look at the total amount of sleep he has in 24 hours.

You don't say how long his daytime nap is, but if he is having a 2 hour nap, then he might only need 9 - 10 hours at night.  Trying to put him down earlier than he needs to go is just going to lead to frustration for both you and him.

Transitioning out the daytime nap is hard on all concerned, as kids get very very ratty at the end of the day, usually right before dinner when you are trying to do things!

It does get easier though, and it means they go to bed really well at the end of the day leaving you with lots of lovely adult time!

#6 Pinky101

Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:31 AM

What time and how long is his day nap?

We've been finding with DD (26 months) that if she naps later in the day, she'll not go to sleep until 9.30pm. Definitely not what we want!

#7 AntiBourgeoisie

Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:56 AM

I respectfully disagree with most posters. After a 5 am start, moving his bedtime to 8:30 will probably result in him going to sleep at 9:30/10 and then being overtired. I absolutely wouldn't shorten or drop his day nap (as long as it is not longer than 2 hours; if he's sleeping 3.5 hours in the day, there's your problem). 6:30 is a perfectly acceptable bedtime for a child who wakes at 5 (although if you made his bedtime 7:30, you might get a bit if extra morning sleep out of him). I wouldn't make bedtime any later than 7:30 in this age group (right through to about 4, and then I'd sit on an 8 pm bedtime until about 8 years, and then 8:30 until pre-teens, and then all bets are off!)
2.5 is a hard age. He is probably starting to have nightmares he can remember, so bedtime becomes 'scary'. He's probably just realized that mum and dad (his favourite people in the whole universe) are just in another room doing amazing, cool, awesome things. His language is probably now good enough that his headis full of thoughts and he doesn't know how to turn it off. There's a big wide world out there and you're asking a wee mite to lie down, stay still, fall asleep, and not see his favourite people for a whole night.There's a lot going on, and it's a big ask. But not impossible.
In order to fall asleep, one needs to go to bed, lie still, close their eyes, and wait for sleep to overcome them. How good is your average 2.5 year old at sitting still? There's your problem! The reason he falls asleep at 8:30 is because he is finally so exhausted that sleep comes fast enough to beat his lapse in concentration. But that method results in hours of frustration and a chronically sleep deprived child.
So rather than convince your child to 'go to sleep' you actually just have to convince them to stay in bed. Go through all the things they use to delay sleep all at once. One last cuddle, drink, kiss, toilet trip - whatever. Do it all once ans never again. The hardest thing to change is them coming to find you. I find the best solution to this is you going to them. Put them to bed, tell them you'll check on them every ten minutes all night so they are never alone. Then leave. Of course a 2.5 doesn't know what ten minutes is. Go in every 1-2 min to prove you are still there to start off with. If you can just keep them in bed, and keep them happy, they will fall asleep. Increase the time slowly. You'll eventually find yourself in a position where you're doing your ten minute check at ten minutes and they are asleep. (At which point an iPhone photo of you next to sleeping them 'proves' you continue to check on them).
At all points, take them what they need, but try and avoid getting them out of bed.
2.5 is, I think, the hardest sleep age. Younger babies don't have fears and just go with the flow (even though they may protest loudly). Older kids can be reasoned with. At 2.5, it's a big world and they are little people with real, present, developing fears, anxieties, loneliness etc - adult emotions they don't know how to manage and which cannot yet be reasoned away.
You'll need to be gentle at this age, and it will take longer to see improvement. With kids under 2, thy can generally get new sleep habits and sleep well within three nights. By 3ish plus, again you can change behaviour quickly. At 2-3, it may take weeks.
Just be consistent and gentle. But the aim is to KEEP HIM IN HIS BED.


#8 *lightning

Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:11 PM

I would make bedtime 7.30pm or 8pm. Try for a week or two and see if there's a difference.

I wouldn't drop the daytime nap and with my kids I allow them to sleep as long as they need but I have flexible sleeping times for my kids and they aren't bad sleepers

#9 RachealJane

Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:20 PM

My 2.5 yo DD doesn't have her day nap anymore but still can be wide awake at 9pm.

Most nights I take her into bed between 7.30 and 8pm and it takes about an hour to get her to sleep too. But she'll sleep in til about 8am since her room is now pitch black.

I lay with her to go to sleep as she only just night weaned so still needs my contact to feel comfortable.

#10 AntiBourgeoisie

Posted 05 January 2013 - 01:21 PM

QUOTE (RachealJane @ 05/01/2013, 01:20 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My 2.5 yo DD doesn't have her day nap anymore but still can be wide awake at 9pm.

Most nights I take her into bed between 7.30 and 8pm and it takes about an hour to get her to sleep too. But she'll sleep in til about 8am since her room is now pitch black.

I lay with her to go to sleep as she only just night weaned so still needs my contact to feel comfortable.


Can I gently suggest that you may in fact find its easier and quicker for your child to fall asleep if she still has a day nap? Sleep deprivation in this age group actually makes them stay awake longer, and fight sleep harder. 12-13 hours of wakefulness in a row at 2.5 is actually too long and may impact on her mood, and her ability to play and learn. It is the rare child who does not benefit from a day sleep before around age 3-3.5, and most kids benefit from the occasional nap well beyond this.
You may find that a 1.5 hour nap and a 7-7:30 bedtime make for an easier bedtime and a happier child (acknowledging that you have made no suggestion that your child is not happy).
Even if you are perfectly happy with this scenario, I'd like to suggest to the OP that this is not an ideal situation for the average 2.5 year old.



#11 Pinky101

Posted 05 January 2013 - 01:36 PM

QUOTE (AntiBourgeoisie @ 05/01/2013, 02:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Can I gently suggest that you may in fact find its easier and quicker for your child to fall asleep if she still has a day nap? Sleep deprivation in this age group actually makes them stay awake longer, and fight sleep harder. 12-13 hours of wakefulness in a row at 2.5 is actually too long and may impact on her mood, and her ability to play and learn. It is the rare child who does not benefit from a day sleep before around age 3-3.5, and most kids benefit from the occasional nap well beyond this.
You may find that a 1.5 hour nap and a 7-7:30 bedtime make for an easier bedtime and a happier child (acknowledging that you have made no suggestion that your child is not happy).
Even if you are perfectly happy with this scenario, I'd like to suggest to the OP that this is not an ideal situation for the average 2.5 year old.


AntiBourgeoisie, can you please provide some suggestions on how to get a 26 month old to still have a day nap? DD refuses to get in her bed for nap time and will not stay still long enough to even have a chance of falling asleep. She will fall asleep in the afternoon in the car, but that causes her to go to bed late at night. We're still persisting with trying to have her nap with no success. Nothing in her routine has changed. She just went from sleeping at least 1.5 hours one day, to not sleeping at all.

#12 AntiBourgeoisie

Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:02 PM

Pinky, it's a really common problem at that age (just as bedtime become problematic too).
It's the sitting still that's the real issue, I think!
Most kids I know who have passed that phase (mine included) all went through a nap refusing stage. Or two. Or three. They seem to be trying to assert their little wills.
I think (and this is no more than my personal opinion) that it comes down to just being the parent and continuing to be consistent in the face of obstinacy. Be gentle and supportive and kind, but don't back down. Insist they have a 'little rest', and lie down with them if you must. Model having a rest by stating its bedtime and go lie down in their room (on the floor if they are still in a cot). The fact that she falls asleep in the car suggests she needs the sleep. The later bedtime is a furphy - just because she fights bedtime a bit harder when she's better rested doesn't mean her body doesn't need the sleep. Keep the nap. It just means she's a normal 2 year old fighting bedtime. Keep the normal bedtime.
Usually, each phase of nap refusal seems to go for about a fortnight, and then kids seem to revert back to napping easily. But it can be a hard couple weeks of sitting their and patting, shushing, lying with them, and really insisting on the nap... And then insisting on the normal bedtime. It does pass, I promise you won't be doing it for 12 months!
I know it sounds counterintuitive to be 'suffering' twice a day with a kid who won't sleep, when you could just let her stay awake and then fall in an exhausted heap at bedtime. Many many people do this. I just think it's a bit unfair on your child. They shouldn't have to struggle through the second part of the day tired because a parent can't be bothered working hard to try and get them the sleep their bodies and brains need, but are not developmentally ready to obtain by themselves.
Somewhere between 3 and 3.5 (sometimes 4 for some kids) you will notice an ACTUAL need to drop the day sleep. They will be wide eyed and happy through the day, they will stop falling asleep in the car and will just sit and chatter away or look out the window, and will be in a good mood through the day. They may nap a couple days a week but not others. It's quite a gradual process. If your 3 year old is happy, bright, and cognitively intact at 8 pm (can play complex games with you, is not tantrumming any more than usual, still has a smile on their face, is behaving exactly as they would at 10 am etc) then it's probably time to start shortening or dropping their naps. Until then, do all you can to enforce a day sleep and an appropriate bedtime.

#13 Jenflea

Posted 05 January 2013 - 03:31 PM

I do quiet time with my 2yr old.
I do nappy change, books, get her to turn her Gro Time clock on(good for telling them nap time is over) then she hops into bed and lies down. Sometimes I do need to get her to lie still as she;s a bit wired, but normally she's asleep in 5 mins or so.
I do a basic type of relaxation with her, talking quietly, telling her to stop moving around, breath in and out slowly etc.


#14 MAGS24

Posted 05 January 2013 - 04:01 PM

MY DS1 was also very difficult to get to sleep at that age.

He would get up at 5am every morning and his bedtime was 7.30pm. I always made sure that we had the same routine every night and that helped him to realise that it was going to be bedtime soon. He had dinner, bath or shower, three books and cuddles then it would time for bed. I put a child lock on the inside of his door so that he couldn't get out of his room on his own after he went to bed, and after about five minutes of crying in his room, he would usually go back to bed to sleep without much intervention. If he cried for more than five minutes I would go in and tell him it was bedtime and put him back to bed, sometimes I would lay down with him for a little while but I was always strict with not letting him get out of his room after official bedtime.

It took a while but with consistency he started to sleep a lot better. He also had problems with his tonsils being very large and had sleep apnea which would cause wake up screaming most nights so I could understand that he didn't really want to go to bed. He had that problem until he had his tonsils out when he was four years old and now he sleeps better than he ever has before and has grown so much now that he isn't tired all the time and spending all of his energy fighting tonsillitis.

Bedtime was always a struggle and a stressful time for us with DS1 but they do seem to grow out of that eventually. Keep trying some different things.

#15 elegie

Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:44 PM

It sounds like he just doesn't need as much sleep as you think he does. DS wakes at 7-7.30, and goes to sleep at 9.30, with a 1-2 hour nap during the day. Trying to make him sleep even at 8.30 or 9 usually results in me getting frustrated and eventually falling asleep just as he does.

We start his bedtime routine an hour or more before that, and read books in bed from about 9. I'd suggest putting him to bed at 7 for a week or so and see if that makes a difference.




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