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Jojoba99

21month old wont fall asleep for hours

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Jojoba99
Posted (edited)

Hi all, hoping for some advice as my 21 month old DS keeps taking longer and longer to fall asleep, to the point where his bed time has moved from 7pm to almost 11pm over the last 6 weeks 

We try to use a routine of a bath then a book in bed before lights out, but because he cosleeps in my bed once the lights go out he will try and interact with me by talking and if I dont respond he sometimes cries or pulls my hair, and only falls asleep when totally exhausted which has been progressively later each night. 

E.g.  Today he woke up at 9am, and after having a 1.5 hr nap from 3.30 to 5pm (we tried to get him to nap earlier but he wouldnt), we began the bed time routine at 9.45 with lights out by 10pm.

Once the lights went out he spent more than an hour constantly trying to talk or interact with me for something like 90 minutes and only fell asleep around 11.20pm... which again is later than yesterday (yesterday he fell asleep around 10pm)

Im really at a loss of what I should do as his bed times have just been getting later and later , and it's similar with his naps too... (I.e. resisting them, crying, trying to escape the room etc, which just delays his bed time even further, as his naps gets delayed)

Any advice would be super helpful..! 

Edited by Jojoba99

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Islander

Wake him at 7am, get outside and active all morning, offer nap at midday, make sure he’s awake by three and do it for a week till he re-sets?

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ineedmorecoffee

How many day naps does he have? Sounds like he is not tired at bedtime because he sleeps too much during the day?

He might not be needing to nap as much anymore, so you may need to drop the afternoon nap so that he is tired and in bed by 7pm. 
 

Try to move the nap to around lunchtime and then he will be well and truly tired for bed at night.

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tinselfoil hat
Posted (edited)

Sounds tough, you must be tired :( 

If it was me I’d steele myself for a bad day, and do as @Islander suggests. It’ll take a good three days before he’s used to it, and longer if he’s overtired. You might find he wakes more often and needs help resettling over those first few days but if you’re consistent initially it will be really worth it. He’s pretty young to drop his nap overall but definitely limiting it to 3 hours is a good idea. Good luck!

Edited by tinselfoil hat
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Behind Hazel Eyes

Wake him early and offer earlier nap or let him wake when he's ready and cut nap would be the options I'd look at.  DS1 had a lot of trouble falling asleep from 18 - 24 months, took 2-3 hours every night of over active toddler bouncing off the walls.  Cutting naps when he was 22 months and getting him sleeping past 5am were the things that helped here.

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lozoodle

His nap is way too late in the day, i'd aim for early lunch and down for a nap by 11.30 / 12 pm, up by 2 and then out doing something active in the afternoon then start your night time routine at 6 with bath etc and bed by 6.30/ 7. 

I'd get up earlier too, start the day at 6.30 / 7. 

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22Fruitmincepies

Could he be ready to go to sleep by himself? With my DD it took me ages to realise that she went to sleep much more easily if I wasn’t in the room. Without me there she was asleep in minutes! However DS (2.5yo) needs me in the room to go to sleep, all kids are different in what they need. 

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Jenflea

Wake him earlier, don't let him nap that late and maybe look at moving him to his own room. 

I'd also consider dropping the nap completely and getting him in bed at 6, then waking him up at 7 the next morning. 

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Freddie'sMum

It's been a long time since my two were that age but I think Islander has hit the nail on the head.

A nap starting at 3pm and finishing at 5pm(ish) is far too late in the day.  Re-set the day, get him up and active before 8am, have an early lunch (eg 11am) and then nap after lunch.  Do not let him sleep past 3pm.  I used to call it "winding the day back" because if the girls slept past 3pm then our whole rest of the day was shot to pieces and it was a huge struggle to get them to sleep even if we tried to do the usual afternoon.

Keep him active, run him ragged during the day, short nap and then more activity and then slow down for dinner / bath / bed.  Fingers and toes crossed for you OP.  Best wishes.

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melanieb530

I’d wake him up at 6.30am for a few days, resist the temptation to let him sleep in any longer otherwise early nap will be a struggle,  do something very physically active in the morning to tire him out, lunch at 11.30 to 12 ish then nap at 12.30 ish, definitely wake up by 2pm (wake if needed) and then bed at7.30. Will take a few days to re-set the routine. 

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jb_85

Agree with most of the previous posters, you probably need to reset his days with a wakup around 7am, nap around 12.30pm and up by 2pm and then bed at 7pm.

It will be a rough few days tring to reset everything.

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Babetty

Yep, just agreeing with everyone else about the need to reset the day. Lots of fresh air and sunlight in the morning to wear him out for an earlier nap and never let him sleep past 3.

 

If my kids slept till 3 at that age, I also needed to make sure they got some active time in the afternoon or they would fight bedtime. Chasing bubbles in the yard was a favourite as I could just sit while they ran!

I have no experience with co-sleeping so not sure if it's time to change that up either.

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Jojoba99
Posted (edited)

Hi All, thanks so much for all the advice, everyone here is just so helpful I really appreciate it. 

I'll definitely try resetting his routine to wake early with the exercise to tire him out, and I hope he can nap earlier too

Part of the problem is he resists naps as well, e.g. today we woke him earlier around 8am, and tried to get him to nap at 1.30pm, but so far he's refused the nap entirely (its 3.30pm now), so it looks like may be he is trying to drop the day nap?

He's pretty big for his age (he is the size of a 3-4 year old, 99+ percentile for height), so I'm not sure whether to keep trying to get him to nap, or to try and break the day time nap habit (is it too early at 21 months, even though he's physically as big as a 3 and a half year old?)

Edited by Jojoba99

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tinselfoil hat

He is very very young to drop a nap. I’d try resetting his timing and stick with it before making any decisions about dropping the nap. Remember if he’s overtired he’ll fight a nap, no matter how much he needs it. 

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Fluffy Potatoes

If he’s resisting the nap, I’d pop him in the pram/carrier and go for a walk or even just rock him in his room. I think he’s too young to drop it as well and agree with the others that he needs to reset. 

He may also sleep better on his own. Ds2 co slept with us until about 18mths when it was clear that we were disturbing each other more than sleeping. It wasn’t easy transferring him to his cot and own room, but after a hellish 3-4 days we got there. 

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Mooples

Ds2 started resisting naps in the cot but couldn’t help but fall asleep while in the car. Can you go for a drive after lunch to get him to sleep at the earlier time? Ds1 never transferred so I often just sat in the garage for 2 hours reading. 

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Jojoba99

Thanks guys - those are great ideas,

you're right, he normally naps pretty quickly in the pram (e.g. within 20 minutes or so of walking he'll fall asleep usually), we'll give it a try after he has his lunch tomorrow 😃 Hopefully tomorrow will be better than today :D

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~LemonMyrtle~

No sleep after 3pm if you want a 7pm bed time. If he has resisted a nap and 3pm comes round, then just keep him up until 6 and do a 6pm bed time. Both my kids dropped their naps at about that age. So I wouldn’t say that’s so unusual. I just adjusted their bed time to suit, and they went to bed at 6 for a while. Some kids just don’t need naps, especially if total sleep hours at night are 12-14 hours.

also, sounds like you’re a distraction now that he is older. It might be a good time to put him in his own bed. Even if it’s in the same room as you. Just so you can say “no, it’s bed time now” and there is nothing he can do about it. 

You’re dealing with a toddler now, not a baby, things will get harder as they get more agile and more stubborn.
 

 

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Jojoba99

I am also guessing it's too late in the day to allow anything more than a 30 minute nap? Or we should just try to avoid the nap entirely and try to get him to sleep around 7pm today...  (he woke up at 8.20am)

 

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~LemonMyrtle~

If it was me, I’d definitely not do a nap today, at all. Just aim for an early bed time. You have to break the cycle of late nap and late bed time. 

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Mooples

I wouldn’t be doing any nap today. Dinner at 5pm, bath around 5:30, books and cuddles at 6 aiming to be asleep by 6:15-6:30. 

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Gabbitz

My son is now 2.5 so I feel your pain! He’s tried dropping his nap as well, but still needs it, so we persevere with providing time in the day for it for all our sanity.

I agree with the early lunch and bed options given by pp.

we also taught him to stay in his room with some books and quiet toys so he has down time even if no sleep. (Quiet toys being teddies, blocks, cars - toys that he can’t push buttons to play music or noises as they’re too stimulating).

if he doesn’t sleep - give up on the nap by 1.30 ish and adjust the evening routine earlier and just expect a toddler meltdown because too tired! If he sleeps after that point, then night time is likely to be a disaster in our house.

we keep the day timing relatively consistent, so the routine seems to help

He’s a toddler, unfortunately they seem to be very good a manipulating their parents and pushing their buttons! I hope that you’re able to establish a new ‘normal’ for him with minimal drama. Good luck  

 

 

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Noodlez

I could have written your post OP word for word. It’s horrible isn’t it!! I know my DD needs a nap ideally between 12.30 to 3 at the latest but it is so hard to get her to have one. If I’m really desperate I will take her for a drive and will sit In the car or drive around for the entire nap time. 
 
I hear about all these children that go to bed at like 7pm and I really wish I was better at this whole bed-time thing. 

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Expelliarmus

All of mine had ceased naps before 18 months. They had an occasional day where they fell asleep in a couch or beanbag but they all stopped napping from  about 12 months. So I don’t think 21 months is too early to stop naps. 

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Babetty

Hi OP just checking in - any luck with resetting your DS sleep patterns?

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