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2.5 yo refuses to stay in bed/ cot
22 replies to this topic
Posted 23 January 2013 - 01:26 PM
I know this has probably been discussed at length, and is very similar to another current thread, but I didnt want to hi-jack and DH asked me to seek advice from the EB Mummies!!!
DS (2.5) was so good about going to bed, we had the odd night of refusal but overall he would go down happily, sometimes we could hear him chatting / singing but he drifted off to sleep....
One week before Christmas, which we were then travelling for 3 weeks, he works out how to climb out of cot... we were of the aint broke dont fix, leaving him him in a cot till we had to change,
So we went to Inlaws... he refused portacot, we did single bed with toddler rail.. usual issue no sleeping there, bu t he did fall alseep eventually usually found under the bed in the morning ... then away where he did sleep with us in the studio accom and got transferred to mattress on floor if he didnt fall asleep there first once he was asleep....
Now we are home and its horrendous, I am having issues getting a toddler bed mattress so using cot with side down, or up, he climbs straight out or if I sit there stopping him throws a mega tantrum... nap time is gone, and we are so at a loss we have resorted to shutting his bedroom door at 11pm to get him to crash out and then open it... ( I know I will get flamed for that, but it was very late and we were desperate)
or alternatively after major hysterics he comes to bed with me, .... falls alseep and we transfer back... we dont like the shutting of door, he screams so I dont think a baby gate would help either
We have tried repeatedly putting him back, saying no its sleep time, turning all lights off and even going to bed ourselves, all the things I have read....but we give up around 10.30pm after about 2.5 hours, and put him in bed with us ... I read no more than 2 stories.... he refuses his milk, bunny, books ... anything....
He isnt hyper or anything, eating before bed, little stimulation etc ... no SN or other issues just a very wilful stubborn boy!
We are about to have our second baby in 8 weeks, and we really need to sort this bed thing out... its just such a complete change? Is it the new baby? Is it a phase or are we completely useless parents in sorting bedtime out?
Should we just let him go to sleep in our bed and transfer or is that just making a huge rod for our own backs?? I so wish he could speak more to tell us
desperately seeking practical advice ....
Posted 23 January 2013 - 01:35 PM
I use sleeping bags in winter only, its too hot in sydney... I thought of that but then worried about him trying to climb out and hurting himself... so you are thinking grobag in toddler bed? Mmm... may slow him down
Might try baby gate as alternative
but its more like the "go to sleep/ bed" function has been disabled and we cant seem to reboot and get it working again??
Posted 23 January 2013 - 01:40 PM
At this point, I would consider closing his bedroom door. I think he's old enough to cope, and he's playing you guys. He's learned that you give in if he carries on long enough!
I know it's horrible and really hard, but I think that all you can do is show utter firmness and consistency. Routine, calm, identical going-to-bed procedure every day, then close the door and let him yell. Check him every ten minutes if you need to. He's only upsetting himself, and that will stop when he figures out that his only real option is to be quiet and go to sleep.
Get some industrial grade earmuffs, the kind blokes use for heavy work. But the first time you give in and let him into your bed again, it's all going to have to start again. You aren't being cruel in making sure he understands that he's just gotta go to sleep.
Posted 23 January 2013 - 01:42 PM
Place him back every time he gets out of the bed, do not say anything to him other that "time for sleep" and say that in a calm monotonous voice. Don't be guilt tripped by his tantrums, which he is really doing. If you need to shut that door, do so, don't get down in the dumps about yourself. He is old enough to work out that tantrums elicit a response so naturally he will keep going so shut that door.
If you need to tag team putting him in bed then do so, it shows that he can not divide and conquer you either.
I hope you get some rest and that your little guy can improve and quickly by the sounds of it.
Posted 23 January 2013 - 01:45 PM
We had similar issues with DD when DS was born. She was already in a toddler bed and was going to sleep perfectly fine until we brought him home. Then she was getting out, crying, yelling, waking up numerous times, wanting pats etc etc
We basically had to sit in there until she fell asleep and DH did it each time she woke. Once she settled to the fact DS was staying and the frequent night waking stopped we stopped sitting in her room to get her to sleep.
I get her ready for bed, read 3 stories and then it's lights out. We get the usual excuses of I need to go to the toilet a couple of times so I take her, limit the amount of talking and then straight back into bed. She hardly gets out of bed anymore and she very rarely cries. If we do have a night where she is screaming then I sit in there with her until she is calm. But usually she happily lays in there talking to her toys for a while and then falls asleep.
Have you tried just staying in the room with him and see if he will fall asleep? Shutting the door was never an option for us as she has a sliding door and can open it anyway.
Posted 23 January 2013 - 01:45 PM
If you read the other thread, you would've seen my suggestions there for this, some of it not really appropriate tho.
Can you take the rail off your cot until you get the mattress sorted? maybe its the confinement that he doesn't like? And encourage quiet time with reading, listening to chill outmusic etc during the day (as opposed to sleep time) so he gets the concept of staying in bed and relaxing??
I personally would not encourage co sleeping now if you are really keen to get him into his own bed. Thats just going to confuse him and unsettle him more in the long run.
I second the notion of persisting and repetition in a monotonous tone with resettling him in his environment. They will give up eventually... But may take a few days or a week. Unfortunately its exhausting, but will be worth it in the long run.
Also, 8 weeks til the newborn?... You may or may not find he plays up with the newborn anyway no matter how you approach this.
Good luck OP
Edited by Mini Mac, 23 January 2013 - 01:51 PM.
Posted 23 January 2013 - 01:50 PM
It sounds like he is really resisting being forced to stay in bed. Bed needs to be a happy, safe place that you choose to stay in.
DD hated her cot so we got rid of it. We put a single bed mattress on the floor, with a few pillows lining the side (she is a very active sleeper and often falls out and sleeps on the pillows or the floor). She is also in a sleeping bag (because she moves so much she gets cold otherwise) but honestly this doesn't slow her down much.
So your current situation is broke, and you need it fixed in 8 weeks. I would look at putting in a plan such as this:
New bedding arrangement (mattress on floor, toddler bed, whatever). Take him shopping and get him to choose new sheets/doona cover etc. Also buy him a new special sleep time teddy, he should choose it as well.
New bedtime routine. Sometimes you need to do a BIG change to jolt them out of established routines that aren't working.
Maybe some lullaby music?
Explain explain explain that it is now time to sleep.
Could you (or your DH) sit with him while he goes to sleep? Honestly I think you might need to do this until things are settled. Sit with him while he goes to sleep, rub him gently if he likes it, sing to him quietly if he likes it. Having you there ought to stop him getting up etc. Then once things are settled you can slowly inch the chair away from his bed, do a few "trips to the toilet" where you leave him for a few minutes...and then work back to putting him to bed and leaving?
Posted 23 January 2013 - 01:54 PM
We had very similar issues with DS1 when we first transitioned to a normal bed when he was just over 2, and it ended up with everyone in the house frustrated and tired the next day, as he would keep coming out up until he fell asleep from pure exhaustion at about midnight. We would take him back to bed each time, explaining not to come back out, reading stories, getting into bed with him, all that stuff.
It got the point where we just bit the bullet and closed his door (we had to put one of those protective door thingos on the inside knob so that you have to squeeze and turn at the same time for the door to open). He screamed for about half an hour on the first night as his 'game' had been taken away, and we went and explained why every 10 minutes or so, but left again closing the door behind us. The next night he only screamed for a few minutes, and from then on he has just accepted that the door gets closed and there are no tears about it. I hated those first two evenings listening to him scream, but it has made for a much happier household, and a much happier DS1 in the mornings as he now gets enough sleep!
Posted 23 January 2013 - 01:55 PM
We were in a very similar position with my DS - he was able to climb out of the cot while still in a sleeping bag - so we had to take the sides off. He was hopeless in the toddler bed - it was too small with his eleventy billion toys he has to take to bed with him so we moved him to a single bed.
We have a gate on his door and we also hold his door shut after we put him to bed - he thinks it's an awesome game to open it continually - give us a cheeky grin and then jump onto his bed. By the 15th time, it's kind of old for us - I have no issues holding his door shut - at the start, he really cracked it (angry, not upset) but now he just tries the door and wanders off to play with his toys or put himself to bed when it won't open.
Posted 23 January 2013 - 02:07 PM
We are about to put our 2.5yr old into his first bed. I predict he is going to mess about in his room until late, as he does that now in his cot. I plan to put a baby gate on the door so he can't get out. Then wait and see. I have a girlfriend whose little girl 3.5 still is found asleep in all places in her room, under the bed in the cupboard, so am braced for this. Unfortunately you may just have to ride it out until he gets bored and falls asleep, veyr hard when you are pregnant and tired
Posted 23 January 2013 - 02:28 PM
Here are a few techniques that may help. Tresillian Sleep for Toddlers
We are another that shuts the door, DS can open it, but having it shut means he is more likely to get bored and go to sleep. We also moved to a full sized single bed, not a toddler bed. He still takes ages to go to sleep, but he is talking or singing, not crying, and he is not getting up.
Posted 23 January 2013 - 04:22 PM
Reading further PP's posts after mine, it made me think a bit more... We do occasionally have to shut the door on DS1 if he's worked up and won't settle. He hates the door shut, he gets one warning before it is shut (its a last resort if resettling hasn't worked) and then it is shut and he generally screams or cries and bangs on the door (which I will hold if he tries to open it) . i leave him for aminute or two then open and kneel down and explain why its been shut, give him the option of behaving or the door shuts again and help him get back into bed and leave with the door open again. I've only had to do that two or three times to get the message across and now generally the threat of the door gets him to stay in bed. He's 22 months but appears to understand consequences and choices he is given quite well. As PP have said he is another who might not sleep straight away, but he stays in his room and he is quiet, he has a few books and usually reads until he falls asleep sometimes even on the floor next to his bed.
Posted 23 January 2013 - 04:30 PM
Seriously, I 'd just shut the door. We had to do this with DD about the same age. she very quickly learnt that once she was put to bed and the door was shut it was game over and time for sleep. She actually likes her door shut now and will shout for you to shut it, or even get out of bed to shut it herself when she goes to bed.
Posted 23 January 2013 - 04:31 PM
thank you all.... I really appreciate the positive actions, DH has just come and read the replies and agrees with the suggestions.
And yes sedawson you are right about playing us, he has the biggest self satisfied grin when we let him into our bed... I do feel straight away that I have been played!!!
He self settles, sleeps through etc ... its just the initial phase we have to get through, sigh,.... I do miss the cot being non escape!!
We are putting Activation : Bed/Sleep into place tonight and hopefully it will reboot!!!
Posted 23 January 2013 - 04:56 PM
I think closing the door is dreadfully cruel, but a baby gate is fine. At least he can see you.
Do you think this could be his way of getting to spend extra time with you? Could you make an effort to do some active play with him during the day or include him as you go about your chores?
You may still need to walk him back to bed a couple of times, but it shouldn't take long.
Posted 23 January 2013 - 07:05 PM
Remind yourself that you aren't asking him to do anything cruel, unnatural or unreasonable. All you're requiring is that he stay still until he's asleep. It's a fair instruction. Hope it goes okay and honestly, there's nothing wrong with wearing earmuffs. It doesn't make you a better person to listen to it all at full volume and you can put up with it longer if it's quieter.
Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:25 AM
Hi OP,We have just been through this with DS 27mths. We made the transition from cot to full size single bed with side rail, as DS2 is due in March. DS1 had never climbed in or out of the cot previously and was finally sleeping about 12 hrs most nights, after two years of poor, regularly interrupted sleep (sometimes 4/5 times a night). I have to say, it was hard work!!!
Initially it was crying for hours, hysterically, getting up countless times etc. I was losing my mind, and DH acted as though the problem was mine...which compounded my stress and frustration. I then decided to get a gate for his doorway, as at least he was confined to his room. This helped, safety wise, as a number of times he roamed at night, falling downstairs, and getting outside-which is very scary..... Then the gate became the place where he would scream and shout, for hours, which was still not great, as he and I were not getting sleep.
I chose to be very firm, returning him to bed, no eye contact, no discussion, over and over. Eventually it worked. But then he started getting up at 4/4.30am, which is not on! So we battled again, with me getting more tired, stressed and unhappy.
Then I found mentions of a Gro Clock, manufactured by the Grobag company. Basically you set it for the time they are allowed out of their bed, and the clock face changes from blue stars to an orange sun, alerting them to wake up time. DS is fairly switched on, so this worked for us within a night or two. He says goodnight to the sun at bedtime, as we set it to sleep mode and the stars appear. Sometimes he wakes before it changes, but is promptly returned to bed and stays there, looking at books, playing with toys or sleeping until it transitions to the sun.
Long story short, it takes time (hopefully not too long!!) and effort, and mostly consistency. Which is hard, but essential. Oh, and DS would often, without complaint spend nights sleeping on the floor by the gate, which initially I hated, but have accepted it won't do him any harm. I have returned him to a 0.5tog sleeping bag, as I wondered if he was waking due to being colder overnight(he hasn't worked out he can pull up his rug if needed) and this has limited, but not stopped his getting out of bed.
I have found that every stage of change/transition/development with DS has been problematic and not easy, so have no doubt that the new baby, toilet training etc will all provide more stress and struggle. But what can you do?
Good luck, I hope our suggestions have been useful.
Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:05 AM
DS (3yo) doesn't always stay in bed in the evenings. We have a very relaxed approach to sleeping. (Though I was co-sleeping with my baby DD, so co-sleeping with DS was not an option). Two solutions which have worked for us are:
- Fold-out couch that he is happy to sleep in the hallway. We'll put him to bed, and sometimes he'll crawl out to his couch and go to sleep there instead. It is in the dark, but he is closer to us and can see/hear us as he goes to sleep.
- Extra cuddles. Sometimes, he comes out panicked. His language isn't good enough for us to discuss why, but I know he is scared. I put something on TV (so I don't get bored) and let him sit cuddled up on the couch with me for 10-15 mins. After which he is usually happy to walk back to his bed with me. I'll re-tuck him in and leave the room and he'll drift off.
Neither solution gets him going to sleep first go in his bed and sleeping through the night every time. But it does mean everyone can get some sleep.
I have tried a few times lying in bed with him (he is in a single bed). However, this often ends up with me going to sleep first. I remember waking one night around 3am after having fallen asleep trying to get him to sleep. He was asleep next to me and his bed was littered with toys, books, games etc that he had brought up after I fell asleep.
Posted 24 January 2013 - 03:50 PM
Our DS is the same age, he had been sleeping in a Phil and ted traveller cot, that zipped up like a tent - we travel a lot and it has been the best thing for the last 18 months, about a month ago he had a nightmare and would not go back to sleep in it. We are moving soon so are holding off buying a toddler bed so we have pulled his old cot out and taken off one side.
But we put a fold down bed rail, which helps as a reminder for him the stay in there. The first few nights were fine, then like yours he started acting up.
He went from being a gold medalist sleeper to the worst one ever, and stopped napping!
After tearing our hair out we remembered advice from various sleep groups, 'sleep begets sleep' so we started working on his naps first.
He sleeps in a sleep suit. I quickly sewed one out of bed sheets because it is so hot.
When I put him Into his bed we discuss bed behaviour
1.He can play quietly or read quietly but needs to stay in bed
2. He is not allowed to kick the wall, throw toys out of bed or get out of bed
3. That no matter what time he goes to sleep mummy will be back in at xx time, so if he goes straight to sleep he will have the best sleep, but if he plays too long he will have a short sleep and be grumpy all afternoon
The no matter what I wake 1.5 hours after I put him in there. The first 4 days he got a 15 minute nap, then something clicked and he now falls asleep after 10 mins or so. When he called out I looked in on him but did not talk to him. There was a few warnings about trips to the thinking corner when he got out of bed or took his sleep suit off.
Once naps settled back then his night time got better, we discuss bed behaviour and he takes about 15 - 20 mins to go to sleep. Still calls out trying to get attention and we go to his room a few times to look at him with frowns but no talking.
We are 3 weeks into this new set up are about 12 weeks from baby number 2
Edited by DMC_baby, 24 January 2013 - 04:01 PM.
Posted 31 January 2013 - 10:23 AM
I thought I would pop back in and update ... couldnt work out how to add that to topic heading!!
Success... and a big thank you for the suggestions!!!
We put a baby gate on his room, put his pjs on and said bedtime...
first night - 1hr 45 mins hrs of screaming hysterics
Second night - 20mins of screaming, we didnt walk to him but just called out its bedtime so he knew we were there but didnt see us then went to read his books, passed out on floor with said book
Third night - no screaming played with books, pulled a toy box, curled up in lid asleep
Fourth night wanted story read, he sat in his cot for that, I left he went and read more himself, found asleep on chair
Fifth night - walked past he asked for nigh nigh, picked him up did our little night time thing of the last bit of Mem Fox Time to bed w kisses, popped him in his cot, snuggled in and bingo asleep!!
Another thing is he wanted a normal pillow so loves that.
Now we say nigh nigh, bedtime he says yes, puts pjs on no fuss I read a story which he sits still for and then we leave, he does get out of cot and grabs his pillow and lies on the floor with a book and falls asleep but hey no more hysterics
Dh just goes in around 9ish and pops him into bed... baby gate is still there and will remain
Toddler bed matttress about 2 weeks off but we think the bed will mean he will climb back in on his own accord
Babygate is left open once he is asleep and he comes into us around 6.30am , usual wake up time...
so thank you all so much for our sanity it really worked so fast once you get past the first horrendous bit!!!
Posted 31 January 2013 - 10:27 AM
Well done OP!
Be prepared for possible relapses but at least you know what to expect at the worst. You've done well!
Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:31 AM
Wonderful news op, and so great you could do it while being reassuring.
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