Toddler sleep advice - desperate for help
, Apr 24 2012 11:26 AM
9 replies to this topic
Posted 24 April 2012 - 11:26 AM
Just realised I posted this in the baby section so reposting it here.
I have a two and a half year old DS. Background
DS has slept through the night from 9 months old. He has always slept well and had the routine of dinner/bed/bath and then we turned off the light and he went to sleep. Around November we took the side of his cot off to create a toddler bed and around January we moved him to a new room in a single bed (proper wooden frame and mattress). He slept well in the toddler bed and well in the single bed. Initally he climbed out of the single bed but after a few nights of being consistent and putting him back, he fell asleep and didn't get out.Problem
About 2 months ago DS started waking up through the night saying he is scared. We gave him a touch nightlight and if necessary comforted him back to sleep. He started coming into our room and sleeping on kids couch with a pull out mattress. It looked uncomfortable so we put his cot mattress on the floor. If he came in, lay down and slept, wouldn't mind but he is waking up around 5 - 6 times a night talking, asking for water, saying random things like "it's dark in here", crying, etc. DH who is usually super gentle, calm and kind is at his wits end and exhausted. I am pregnant with twins and up a lot due to toilet visits and a runny nose and beyond exhausted. I am really battling to cope during the day.Other info
What would you do in this situation. I've phoned today to see the local childhood nurse but they can only see us in two and a half weeks. Thanks so much
- I'm a SAHM and we go out a lot in the day (playdates/park/library/playcentre) and do craft/puzzles, etc at home BUT DS has been watching a lot of TV (around 2 hours a day). Do you think this could be affecting his sleep?
- DS has a muslin blanky that he 'chews' to sleep but also asks for in the day. Would it be good to use it only for sleep time?
- DS dropped his day sleep around two months ago. He will fall asleep on the way home if we're out at lunch time but otherwise won't sleep. The problem is at 4pm or so he will then fall asleep (on the floor/couch, etc) if I leave him for 5 minutes or in the car if we go out. I have been driving him to sleep as I think he still needs a day sleep. Do you think I should not drive him to sleep? I.e if he falls asleep while out, transfer him to his bed but don't go for a drive if we're home?
At this stage I'm leaning towards removing the mattress from our room, going in when he calls, settling him and walking out (even if it takes ages) or putting his cot in his room and telling him if he calls out/gets out of bed, etc he goes in the cot (don't like threatening, etc but feeling desperate). Not sure what to do if he calls out? Do you ignore and wait for him to go back to sleep or go in and settle every time.
Posted 24 April 2012 - 12:40 PM
Sounds like he doesnt have any consistency around sleeping habits. Here is what I would do:
1. Explain to him that he is a big boy and needs to sleep in his own big bed all night. Set up some new teddies or special toy that he picks as his bedtime toy. Put a small light in his room that stays on all night and leave his door open all night just a bit. For the first few nights set up a reward that he will get if he stays in his room all night.
He might be too young to understand the reward but worth a try. Our DD2 is 2.5 and doesnt understand that yet.
2. On the first night very time he gets out or cries comfort him without making too much of it and keep putting him back but stay calm. After a few nights he should be ok.
Its not easy but if you stick to it it does work.
3. for the day sleep I did drive DD around at about 1pm but if she was still awake at 2pm i gave up. If he is really tired at 4pm try giving him early dinner and bath and bed at 6pm. Its a tough transition and for us it took ages for DD to be ok without a sleep. If I was at home I pulled out her little lounge and she wached a DVD for an hr rest time. Half the time she fell asleep but often she didnt.
Posted 24 April 2012 - 12:54 PM
It seems like the issues for you started around the time he dropped his day sleep.
Being over tired can cause nightmares & night terrors.
I would try to reintroduce a day sleep. Start by getting him to sit quietly in his bed for 1/2 hour. Sit by his bed. If he gets out of bed, give him one warning the next time leave the room for 2mins, shutting the door.
It took a couple of days for DS to stay in his bed. The first day he didn't go to sleep at all, the next day it took an hour, now only 10mins.
Every couple of days move further away from his bed until you are out the door all together.
Posted 24 April 2012 - 12:59 PM
Only my opinion, but I would...
Remove mattress from your room. He sleeps in his bed. Put a night light in his room that is on all night. Do a combination of the returning to bed if he gets out in the night, and ignoring call outs. He is old enough.
I would continue with day sleeps. I know I maybe biased or uninformed in this, but my 4 and 5 yo still have day sleeps some (or most for the 4yo) days. Don't tie yourself in knots trying to 'make' them sleep. Have a consistent routine. 1pm is sleep time. They go into bed, and they are not allowed out until at least 2pm. If they sleep, they sleep, if they don't, then they lay there 'resting'. Mostly they will sleep. Wake them by 3pm. Some suggest letting them 'read' books in rest time, or listening to music. Personally, I don't allow that. I believe that it is routine that allows my 2 to continue having day sleeps, I've never given the option of dropping it for good. But I also understand that it may not work for everyone. I definitely think a 2 and 1/2 yo needs a day sleep still. If you can get a routine in place before your twins arrive too, it will make it easier on you to have that 1-2 block in the middle of each day.
I'd also have blanky as only allowed at bedtime and naptime. Often it can be an incentive for nap time. Don't take out, don't give on the couch while watching TV etc.
Anyway, just my advice, take it or leave it. Hope you find something that works for you soon.
Posted 24 April 2012 - 01:00 PM
I'd be making him have a lie down in bed at around 1pm. I think this will be pretty hard, but doing the 'quiet time' by himself with the door shut or gate on his room? Give a few books or quiet toys. I think if you worked on him either sleeping or occupying himself quietly for 1hr- he may just fall asleep & it'll give you a break once your babies are here. The driving is a short term solution, but really you want to fix things. At night I think the problem is the mattress on the floor. Put him straight back to bed and leave. The hard thing is once he realizes you bring him in and give him attention when he is 'scared' that will be the excuse all the time! My DD doesn't say scared but she does bring out other excuses -mostly wee & poo as we've toilet trained during the day. My DD does these sorts of things at bedtime rather than during the night. But we are shutting the door if she carrys on. I go in once she stops crying, and put her back to bed. She gets the door open if she stays in bed nicely. I try not to give any attention/talk etc. It is definitely improving. If she comes in to our room during the night she just gets put back. It's hard but worth being tough now. My DD1 is 2yrs2mths, but I also have my DD2 who is 8mths, so I know how important it is that you be a little hard now for when your twins arrive.
Posted 24 April 2012 - 01:06 PM
Don't rule out a medical issue. Is a good meat eater? Low iron levels will often cause toddlers to be wakeful in the middle of the night.
Posted 24 April 2012 - 01:06 PM
Just thought I'd share what we did when we needed to take DD1's bottles off her at about 2.5. We promised her a very special gift if she could give up her bottles for a whole week. Maybe try some variation of this? e.g.: if you stay in bed all night tonight, tomorrow you can have x. If you do it for a whole week, you can have y. She cried a few times the first few days, but I would go in and remind her about the special toy she could have. By the third night, there were no issues and a week later, she got her bicycle helmet very excitedly.
About the same age, DD1 also began to have nightmares and worry about a monster. We keep her door wide open and leave the hallway light on all night. We've also had to explain to her a million times that monsters aren't real and that mummy and daddy don't let monsters even come near our house, and our dog also makes sure there are no monsters anywhere near.
We leave a water bottle full of water on her nightstand and she drinks that throughout the night when she is thirsty.
Similar to a PP'er, if my DD1 doesn't go down for a nap by about 2:30pm, I don't try. If she sleeps past about 3pm she is very hard to get into bed at night. I second making your DS have "quiet time" in the afternoon to lie in his bed with some books and a soft toy. My DD1 often does this and I hear her chatting to herself and making up stories, but it is a good wind down.
My DD1 also has a muslin blanky which she takes to her bed. I don't let her take it anywhere else or use it except in bed. She has such a strong sleep association with it that the minute she touches it her eyes get heavy. So maybe try this with DS too?
Don't know if this helps at all - but the current situation can't continue particularly when you've got new babies coming soon and you and your DH are so exhausted, poor things!
Posted 24 April 2012 - 02:14 PM
Thank you SO much for the advice, it is really helpful and has given me great ideas to implement.
Will definately take the matress away and resettle him in his bed instead.
Will look at rest time/quiet time so he has an afternoon break. Someone told me today to just climb into bed with him to get him to sleep so I did and he fell asleep in about 20 minutes and slept for 1 hour and woke up super happy so going to try this. The only problem is he wakes up at different times (between 6:00 and 7:00am) so is tired at different times. Will try 12:30 rest time as we'll definately be home so maybe light lunch, book and then rest.
Thanks for the iron suggestion. DS doesn't eat much meat at all (will eat steak and fish) which he used to have every night (one or the other) but now we're serving the family meals plus veg. Only on day 3 and he hasn't eaten any of the meat part (cottage pie, etc). Will see if I can find a supplement or introduce iron in other forms.
Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:45 PM
We had the SAME prob with DD only a month or so ago.
DD started to get scared of the dark and "monsters".
What has worked for us, we use a lavener spray with glitter in it in a trigger bottle. We spray for monsters and shoo them out the door every night before bed. I also have a nightlight on for her all night so she can see.
I also bought DD one of those starlight turle things that project stars all over the room. It's an AWESOME distraction before sleep time. DD has been sleeping great with no wakeups since the monster spray and shooing them out the door. I also have made she she is not watching anything she shouldn't (ie my tv shows that I thought were harmless...she thought one of the men was a monster).
Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:47 PM
P.S we have dropped our day sleeps. We find DD doesn't sleep as well at night when she has had a daysleep. If she naps on the way home in the car we wake her up as soon as we get home.
1 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users
to WIN 1 of 2 $500 Coles/Myer gift cards
Some phrases just pop out before you really think about them, but there are some things you should try to not say to a new mum.
The phone calls started a couple of weeks ago. At about 5.30 each evening - if I am lucky - I will be greeted by a sweet, excited voice declaring: "'Allo Annie".
You sometimes have to wonder whether relationship/sex advice from magazines is designed to help or humiliate.
People used to think that social skills were something kids were born with, not taught.
Lately I've been thinking about the caesarean stories and the brave women who birth their children with strength and beauty.
Scientists have calculated at exactly what age you need to start trying to get pregnant to have the best chance of realising your dream.
Differently abled child
Why are people so concerned for this happy child and his mother?
When it comes to two-year-olds and birthday cakes there are a few requests that are usually at the top of the list. But a cake featuring a local personal injury lawyer?
When we become mums, our instinct to protect our children and keep them safe from harm is so strong we're often likened to a Mama Bear protecting her cubs.
There are no guaranteed ways to avoid the dreaded winter illnesses completely, but there are ways we can boost our children's immunity.
Jade Beall usually chooses to breastfeed her son, now 3, in private. This week, however, she shared portraits of her breastfeeding her preschooler.
Your schedule is not important to your two-year-old, and you cannot convince her otherwise. So what can you do?
A child whose remains were dumped in a suitcase in the South Australian bush is believed to have been a girl aged between two-and-a-half to four.
An Argentinian mum and politician has caused a stir on social media after being filmed breastfeeding her baby.
It was 1am on a cold winter's night when I woke suddenly to the screams of my 12-month-old son. Our lives were about to change forever.
Inflatable and portable children's pools may be required to be sold with compulsory fencing to prevent backyard drownings, with some experts even floating the idea of a ban.
At 11.07am on April 2 this year, Sarah Marriott welcomed baby Sebastian into the world.
These kids' beds definitely fit the brief of providing personality and personal space for little people who are moving up in the world.
Since becoming noticeably pregnant, my son has taken more of an interest in the sibling he'll soon have.
In this age of political correctness, it seems the one subject still subject to discrimination is that of the Only Child.
A neighbour heard a child screaming before a baby was found dead, believed to have been stabbed, in a house in Newcastle.
So far, 206 Samsung washing machines have caught fire and some have exploded. But many remain in people's homes.
We all know that having a baby can turn your life upside down - and it can also bring a raft of new anxieties and worries.
Couples using IVF may be able to choose the gender of their babies and women could be financially compensated for donating their eggs.
Not too young, and not too old. That's reportedly the best age to get married. Not everyone agrees.
Get your free ticket to the Sydney Essential Baby & Toddler Show for September 25-27 - register online now.
to WIN 1 of 2 $500 Coles/Myer gift cards
I believe that you get out of families what you put into them, and I will give mine my all.
I have had two postnatal psychotic episodes. The first when my eldest child was six weeks old, and another after my second child was born.
French names are always in fashion, but a few have risen in popularity in recent years.
A British woman who gave birth in Spain has told of her ordeal after spending weeks trying to convince medics the baby girl was hers.
Some friends of ours say that it's dangerous to have a dog around a newborn and that we should start looking for a new home for him. Is it?
First Apple and Facebook announced they would pay $20,000 towards the cost of their female employees freezing their eggs, now IBM in the US has come up with an innovative new policy aimed at retaining female employees.
The Duke of Cambridge opened up about family life and his plans for the future in an interview to mark his first day as an air ambulance pilot.
A simple photo taken in front of an evening fire gave new mother Sarah Bowers the power to save her baby's life.
Of all the advice people told me before having a baby, no one warned me about the amount of decisions involved.
Parents of toddlers all know the moment when realise your child is being suspiciously quiet. It can only mean one thing - trouble!
If you have trouble recalling the ages of Jeremy Ryan's seven children on The Voice, you're not alone. So does he.
Getting glasses can be a formative moment in a person's life.
When a mum of six was caught shoplifting nappies, clothes and shoes for her kids, the last thing she expected was for a stranger to pay for her haul.
The risk of having uncontrolled depression is far greater than the small increased risk of birth defects that may be associated with specific antidepressants.
Police have raided properties and arrested a number of people over a brawl at a child's birthday party at a play centre in Sydney's west.
Looking for a creative way to share some big news? Look to the skies, like this family did.
Little Owen DiCandilo's name means "young warrior", and it's a description that perfectly fits the inspiring 18-month-old
The exhaustion that comes with caring for young children often means romance between parents becomes a thing of the past.
I've been fat for pretty much most of life, besides a few crazy moments of being less-fat, but for the most part I've existed on this earth with a little more meat on my bones than desirable.
Since the dawn of civilisation, generation after generation of new parents have had to rely on instinct, trial and error - and sometimes get it wrong.
Get your free ticket to The Essential Baby & Toddler Show and save $20 - register online now!