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Bedtime battles
What to do

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#1 Missmarymack

Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:34 PM

Our 2 year old is seriously resisting sleep.  We read a set number of stories, sing a set number of songs and then it's time to sleep. The whole routine can take 20-30 mins depending on the stories. But lately she has started screaming at us that she doesn't want songs but more stories. We used to be able to tell her that we had read all the stories and now it was time for songs but now she gets hysterical. We've tried negotiating -  eg it's songs or you go into your bed for sleep (done calmly), and while this also worked for a while, now she completely loses it. We've even tried walkin out for a couple o minutes to see if she would calm without us there, but she screams for us to come back but then continues to scream at us when we are in the room.

It is seriously starting to ware us down. We have always done everything gently so I'm not interested in CIO/CC methods but I have no idea what to do now.
Please help me before I lose my mind sad.gif

#2 Feral Nelly

Posted 05 January 2013 - 07:00 PM

I'm feeling your pain Missmarymack!
I'm currently camped outside my little girl's room so that I can stick my head in the door and tell her the mummy is here but it's time to go to sleep.
Our clever little minx will try anything to stall bedtime - more stories, I'm hungry, where's daddy? Need to do a wee (not that she is even TTing).
We used to lie down with her but found that she just wants to play with us so we've had to change our routine to stories, lie down and tuck in, say goodnight and leave the room. I stand near the door and reassure her that mummy is here. If I need to, I go back in and repeat the tuck and kiss, tell her mummy is just outside the door and that she needs to go to sleep. I don't let her cry herself to sleep and am not interested in CC or CIO methods.
It is a work in progress.

#3 Pssst...

Posted 05 January 2013 - 07:15 PM

How do you feel about letting her take a book to bed? You could keep the routine the same as always. But when she asks for more stories then say, 'no, we've read our X stories, it's time for songs. When the songs are finished you can choose a book to take into bed with you'

If she's showing less interest in the songs i'd also be tempted to drop them from the routine. Maybe less fussing over bedtime in general will keep things calmer?

DD1 is sometimes happy with none of her full routine as long as she takes a book to bed. She's usually asleep well before her room is fully dark anyway. Just be sure to only offer board books that can't be torn, or any books that aren't 'precious'

Anyway, just a suggestion original.gif

#4 belinda1976

Posted 05 January 2013 - 07:22 PM

If she doesn't want songs anymore I can't see the harm in having a couple more stories.  If that's all it is to keep the peace I'd just do that.

#5 Escapin

Posted 05 January 2013 - 07:34 PM

Things were getting out of hand with DD when she was about 18mo. Endless books, breastfeeds, wanting to leave the room, anything else she could think of. It wasn't suddenly like this, just happened gradually. And by the time this was regularly happening, she was REALLY difficult to put to bed.

So we pared it right back - 1 book, 1 feed and into bed. Took a few goes, but now it's working fine, and has been for a while. She's 20mo now.

If she won't go in her cot, we do the 30 seconds in the cot, 2 minutes of standing cuddle ('no darling, no more feeds, no more books, would you like to stand here and cuddle me or get back in your cot?), then back in the cot. Repeat as needed.

Oh, and the old 'I'm just going to go and do XX chore and then I'll come back and see how you're going' trick works too. She's usually asleep by the time I come back original.gif

#6 Marchioness Flea

Posted 05 January 2013 - 07:35 PM

Why MUST she have songs? How would you feel if you were made to sit and listen to jazz(my personal hate) or country or death metal, when all you wanted was another story?

I don't understand why you HAVE to do it in a certain way if she doesn't like it and it's turning into a battle.
Just offer the songs, then if she says no and wants more stories, then read one or 2 more stories instead.
Let her have a bit of control over her life and she'll be much happier!

#7 SMforshort

Posted 05 January 2013 - 07:35 PM

Would a pretty jar or box and say six balls / pegs help?  Three blue balls / pegs for stories and three red balls / pegs for songs.  

Each night you get the balls out of the jar and then she puts one in each time a book and song is finished.  This gives her a cue as to when the process will be complete.


#8 Kay1

Posted 05 January 2013 - 07:43 PM

I always suggest the same thing in these threads but it worked a treat for us. We have a selection of stories on cd and when our kids were 2 we started using them. So stories, songs, cuddles etc and then if they've been VERY good they get to have a cd on (so its seen as a reward/desirable thing) then lights off, story on, quick kiss and out the door. We like the playschool ones and Giles Andreae ones particularly. The Giles Andreae ones have lovely music that sends them off to sleep. Its a good idea to read the book/listen to the cd BEFORE using it at bedtime or it could be a bit too exciting. Mine never ever got all the way to the end of the cd before falling asleep. They would practically shoo me out the door so they could have the cd on. Worth a try anyway.

#9 RunDMC

Posted 05 January 2013 - 08:11 PM

I agree with Pssst, try letting her read the last book herself, this has happened organically for us with DS wanting to read the last book to his monkey.  We leave the light on for 5 mins then turn it off, sometimes he is asleep before we get back there. He gets into trouble if he gets out of bed.
For the last 2 months, neither DH or I are allowed to sing anywhere! Even singing to ourselves to the car radio prompts a "no singing mummy" comment sad.gif Must be a phase.....of course I am an excellent singer wink.gif

#10 Maniacal_laugh

Posted 05 January 2013 - 08:22 PM

For our DD, a shorter number of stories works (max of 3). I tell her at the beginning how many she can have, and remind her constantly (one more after this, this is the last story etc). 20-30 min routine of stories and songs sounds a bit long to me.

Then, I'd pop her in bed/ cot and say time for bed - and ignore the whinging. Stay with her so she feels safe, but stick to the number of stories agreed.

Our DD responds really well to choices ("do you want to get back into bed yourself, or do you want mummy to help you?" "do you want one more story or one song?")

HTH, you have my sympathy! 20 months was the roughest time for us (so far) with DDs sleep.

#11 Missmarymack

Posted 06 January 2013 - 04:58 AM

Thankyou all for your replies. Firstly - we don't sing songs if she truly doesn't want them. We don't force her to listen to us sing for our own amusement. The asking for more stories is a stalling tactic as we've tried reading heaps (and I mean upwards of ten) and it still doesn't satisfy her. we give a set number and then count down, constantly letting her know how many stories/songs we have left. Usually after the hysterics of wanting more stories is over we then tend to get hysterics about wanting more songs.

QUOTE (tiggywinkle @ 05/01/2013, 09:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Then, I'd pop her in bed/ cot and say time for bed - and ignore the whinging. Stay with her so she feels safe, but stick to the number of stories agreed.

Our DD responds really well to choices ("do you want to get back into bed yourself, or do you want mummy to help you?" "do you want one more story or one song?")

We've tried giving her choices too and it definitely worked for a while but now she just screams no to everything (she also just told me that she didn't want a cake or a party for her birthday sad.gif ). I do like the idea of staying with her rather than walking out. Perhaps if we just sat quietly on her chair and kept reminding her that we will stay until she's calm?? Her tantrums at bedtime are so huge - jumping, hitting screaming - it's not just a bit of a whine, and she's usually such a lovely girl during the day.

Her bedtime doesn't seem to be the issue, she's no different if we try to put her down at 7:30 or 9pm.

Could it be an indication that the day sleep is coming to an end? It seems FAR too early for that.

Please tell me this is as bad as the terrible twos get?!  original.gif

#12 What'sNext??

Posted 06 January 2013 - 05:47 AM

What's happening with the baby when it's her bedtime?

It is a tricky time having a newborn and doing toddler bedtime.  My only advice is try to be consistent and give her lots of cuddles - her world has changed!  It will get better!

Good luck!

#13 Marchioness Flea

Posted 06 January 2013 - 07:43 AM

Ohhh, having read your update I see it's not the songs, it's a slightly different problem of her not wanting to go to bed and delaying it.

Best thing we've found, is do the bedtime routine of 3 stories(songs if she wants, though I think that stretches bedtime out too much) lights off, gro Clock on, into cot. One of us then sits with her in the dark(boring for me, I really need a tablet to browse EB on lol) while she settles down and hopefully goes to sleep.

It could be your DD is afraid of the dark, do you have a nightlight?

I'd get a bit tough and tell her You'll stay with her ONLY if she lies quietly in bed. If she starts standing up or yelling, walk out. Say something along the lines of"I said I'd stay if you were quiet, but you are being loud and yelling so I'm leaving the room until you're quiet again".  It might need to be repeated a few times till she gets it.

#14 winkywonkeydonkey

Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:00 AM

It could be the bedime routine is just too long?

Its a bath and ONE story here. then lights out and i lie with her for 5 minutes then say i will be back to check  on you (i have to feed the cat etc)
Sometimes i will read another book if she is having trouble falling asleep.

I do think 10 books is excessive and probably hypes her up? Also try getting her a nightlight and making sure she has a special toy to cuddle.

#15 Cat Burglar

Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:27 PM

I came in here to post a similar question but I realised the common factor here. My 22 month old DD is doing the same sort of thing and we have a newborn. In her case she started screaming hysterically when being put to bed from the day the baby came home, and had never done it before. I am going to try some of the things in this thread. I dont know if anything will help but we have to try something!

#16 Cat Burglar

Posted 08 January 2013 - 07:18 PM

QUOTE (Jenflea @ 06/01/2013, 08:43 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Best thing we've found, is do the bedtime routine of 3 stories(songs if she wants, though I think that stretches bedtime out too much) lights off, gro Clock on, into cot. One of us then sits with her in the dark(boring for me, I really need a tablet to browse EB on lol) while she settles down and hopefully goes to sleep.

How long do you find you have to wait before she drops off? We tried sitting in the dark with DD1 but no luck after 40 minutes or so, and we cant keep doing it every night since we have a refluxy newborn to take care of!  sad.gif

#17 Jjbeanz

Posted 08 January 2013 - 07:30 PM

It's such a difficult age, the only thing that has worked for my daughter is to say its bedtime when I see her tired signs ( around 7.30-8pm ) and give her the dummy and her bear and straight to bed then shut the door and occasionally she will have a little whinge but mostly I don't hear her so I think she falls asleep quite quickly. I found doing anything like reading or negotiating anything would just wind her up and she would be wide awake and come out of her room anywhere up to 10pm.

#18 Cat Burglar

Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:17 PM

We tried the special book but no luck last night.

Tonight we tried the CD and she was asleep in 5 minutes with minimal screaming. Thank you thank you thank you Cherry Ames!

Im not sure tomorrow night will be so easy as it also happened the baby was asleep at DD1s bedtime, I dont know whether the CD will work if baby is crying at the same time

#19 Cat Burglar

Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:21 PM

QUOTE (CherryAmes @ 06/01/2013, 08:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My nearly 2yr old is also saying 'no' to everything at times. The other day she asked for something and before I even had time to reply started yelling 'no I don't want it!'

Yes! Same here. yyes.gif  Sometimes she says no to things she actually wants or likes, just so that she gets to assert her opinion.

And wanting to choose clothes, food etc. I try offering 2 choices or 3 choices and saying you can have one of these only, but she just wants to make her own choice and not have something Mums chosen for her. So weve gone to the playground in pajamas a couple of times recently  wwhistle.gif

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