need advice on bedtime routine for a 19 month old

Louise - posted on 10/17/2010 ( 23 moms have responded )

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my 19 month old daughter wont go to bed at a certain time she wont go to her cot until she is asleep already she drinks her bottle downstairs watching her cartoons but then i have to wait until she falls asleep to put her to bed have tried putting her to bed awake before and she cried until she threw up.... the thing is i want to put her to bed an let her fall asleep in bed but dont know how to go about it and she is still in my room i want to move her into her own room once she will go asleep in her cot if anyone could help id really apperciate it as im only 19 myself

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Donna - posted on 10/30/2010

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hey louise, i believe in routine but dont get to uptight about it if you dont, my son is 19 months and i lay with him while he has a bottle in my bed, no tv and quiet and dark he falls asleep and i transfer him to the cot and he sleeps through till morn, sometimes he wakes and gets in with us, so again dont stress to much, eventually i know he will go to bed it just takes time and all kids are different...

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Karen - posted on 10/30/2010

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Does your little girl like being rocked? What we did with my son was hold him with his blankie and his dummy and rock him to sleep, and then put him in his cot. We did this for a while and then eventually he didn't want to be rocked anymore and he'd happily go into his cot at bedtime. I'd definitely agree with the other mums that bedtime routine is really important, and maybe cartoons are too stimulating before bedtime. I've suggested rocking because you seem to be having difficulty finding a middle point between what she does now and what you'd like her to do. Clearly at the moment she is not used to going to bed in her cot by herself. I suspect that if you rocked her (I would hold my son diagonally across my body and kind of jiggle up and down and side to side) she would get used to her room as a place to fall asleep and might eventually be happy just being put to bed, like my son was.
best of luck :)

[deleted account]

I have a 20 month old. We have found that if bedtime seems like his idea he will stay in his bed. We ask him if he thinks it is night night time and he will nod his head. So then we ask him where he sleeps and he hops right into his bed. We say our night time prayers with him and sing him two songs. Then we tell him every night that it is bedtime and not play time and that we expect him to stay in bed. It has worked like a charm.

MELISSA - posted on 10/29/2010

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Louise, in Australia, we call it controlled crying. A routine is fine but your child needs to learn to sleep on their own so a routine will help but not cure. you need to leave her for 2 minutes, go back in saying nigh nigh, pat the bed and lie her down putting your arms through the cot. You can pat her back for a while but if she sits/stands or screams hysterically leave the room and come back after 4 minutes. Repeat the same but increasing the time to 6, 8 then 10 minutes. They soon learn that you will return but they won't be picked up or rocked to sleep. You sometimes have to be cruel to be kind, for your sanity and to get her sleeping. I went through it with my now 19 month old a few months ago and she sleeps so much better now. They will definately throw up/poo themselves or do anything so you'll get them up - especially if they're not used to being left to cry. A routine will help them understand that it's bedtime but the main thing here is the fact that they have to fall asleep on their own and to start with they don't like it one little bit. It is hard but you work out what works for your child and stick to it because confusion is the worst. It is important not to approach the bed form the top as they think you're picking them up and get upset more. It's ok to say don't worry about a sleep routine but if they keep waking and it's not working for you = you do have to worry. Hope this helps.

Candace - posted on 10/28/2010

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Take her into her room, put her PJs on, read a few books (the same ones every night), give her her bottle while sitting on her bed. The first few nights/weeks will take a LONG time, but stay there with her until she falls asleep. Coo to her that she's a big girl and she can put herself to sleep. Tell her that mommy is always there. Make sure she has a lovey of some sort that she can cuddle, etc. Praise her in the morning for being such a big girl. Sometimes I even have to bring rewards into my daughter's room to give her when she has PJs on etc.

Halie - posted on 10/28/2010

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OK I know there are a lot of posts on here already and hopefully you have found some tips. This is my suggestion and what I did.
TO ALL MOMS that when their kids cry then throw up: try not giving them a bottle right before bed. My son did that a few times and it terrified me into not putting him down by himself.
Before I started the cry it out method he had a bottle before nap and bedtime. Other than that it was a sippy. I rocked him to sleep and sometimes that took HOURS. Hours of him hitting, scratching, pulling, kicking, crying, poking my eyes, anything to keep himself awake. One night I rocked him for 3 hours before he finally fell asleep and as soon as I put him in his bed he woke up and cried. I ended up not going to sleep until 4:30a. It was horrible. The next morning I drove to the local store bought a night light and a light that projected onto the ceiling.
That night we did our normal routine dinner, play, bath, read, brush teeth, bed. However at bedtime I took him into his room, changed him, turned his light on, and put him in bed and shut the door. It took him about a week to not cry. The longest he cried was about an our and a half. But I didn't go in there once. It broke my heart but I was strong. Now I say 'let's go nigh' nigh' " and he walks into his room and waits for me. It's the best thing I could have done for myself physically and mentally.

When he goes to his father's house let him know your child's routine and ask that he follows it. And it will help a lot if your child doesn't sleep in the same room as you.

I hope this makes sense to you and I really hope it helps.

Jessica - posted on 10/28/2010

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I've had a TERRIBLE time getting my little boy to sleep in his own bed on his own. But we've finaly cracked it. He suffers from Reflx in a bad way so the cry it out was never going to work as it upset his tummy. What did in the end work for him (and he was the sort that had to be rocked into a deep sleep before going down) was story w/ milk, then lullaby and cuddle, then in his cot while i rubbed his back and sang. it took a while but eventually he accepted this was his new way of life. Once he started falling asleep this way I then stoped the rubbing his back, then stopped standing by the cot, stopped sining to him, sat by the door, then outside the door, then door closed. but i had to reasure him for a while that i was still there. now i can finaly lay him donw and go down stairs w/o him irrupting in tears. It took a VERY long time but worked in the end. I think the most important thign for you however might be to get the father on bored and follow the exact same routien regardless of where she is. The most difficult part for me was how long it took to move on from each step. i'm talking at least a couple of days, (i was probably soffter than i needed to be) but after about a month I was out of his room completly and able to get on with my evening. The other hard part was that i wasn't able to find a book to tell me what i was doing, i was just sort of making it up on my own. hope u get it cracked!!! The way my life works though his routine is what i consider a floating one. it's supose to hapen at 8 but as my family lives in america and calls late to talk often doesn't happen till 9 or even 10. just because u do the same thign doens't mean it has to be at the same time

Carisa - posted on 10/27/2010

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First I put my daughter in her pajamas and then I nurse her. When she is done, I brush her teeth and hand her off to her Dad for story time. He reads her several books while I read to our older daughter. After story time, she comes into her sisters room to kiss us goodnight, and then it's into her crib. She has a stuffed dog that plays bedtime music to help her settle down.

This has worked pretty well for us. You can also try sleep training. I always used the crying it out method, although I know there are no cry methods. Your local library should have books on different methods. Whatever you try, it may take up to two weeks before she finally settles into a new pattern. The most important thing is to be consistent and stick with it. Good luck!

Kimberly - posted on 10/26/2010

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My daughter has the following routine for bed time:
Bottle at 7, bath at 7:30, Daddy reads a book to her while her hair dries and she is in bed by 8.
Be consistent, my baby likes her daily routines. I'd also cut out the cartoons.

Erin - posted on 10/22/2010

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We got my son that little leapfrog dog that you can hook up to the computer and program to say your childs name, favorite foods, etc. and he just loves it. As soon as we lay him in his crib, he squeezes the paw for bedtime music three times, as that plays the longest. Then in the morning, he squeezes the other paw for his favorite wake up music. Sometimes when he wakes in the middle of the night, he does the same thing and goes right back to sleep. We also have that little aquarium attatched to his crib. The music and the sound of the waves put him right to sleep.

Ashleigh - posted on 10/22/2010

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LOL I totally understand your pain. The best thing to do is of course establish a routine, but that can be hard. What I do for my daughter is I put her in her crib between 8:30 and 9pm each night and I put a movie on for her on the tv by the crib and put it on repeat. that way if she doesnt wanna sleep she has something to watch at least, though it usually knocks her out at 10pm at the latest.

Dee - posted on 10/21/2010

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hi, geez there is a lot of pressure to be in a routine. i thought i wasnt really able to get into a solid routine until my 19month old can talk. Otherwise she pretty much goes to bed at different times every night. her day routine is hard too cause her sleep pattern is always different.. but basically she did this routine on her own... wakes up 8.30 eats eats eats, back down around 12 or 1.... (sometimes later.. depends if she is worn out or not) and then back up and awake till 8-8.30, but she crashes in fron t of the tv, she always has.. i then carry her off to bed. I am waiting for the cot to be converted into a toddler bed, so then i can sit there next to her and read the story and actually be able to hold her in bed , as i cant whilst she is still in a cot..I know bella can understand me ,but she will cry if i just put her to bed, she always has, all bubs are different too, if you have always rocked your bub to sleep or had them near you then they arent gonna know any better than that. so just wait... i wouldnt worry about being so strict on a bed routine.. like unless you really need to have one.. just go with the flow... xx hope this helps xx

Alicia - posted on 10/21/2010

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My daughter is on a bit of a routine. She eats dinner at 6:30 Bath if need at 7:30 bed by 9 she has no problem with it

Rachel - posted on 10/21/2010

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I agree with all the Mums here, routine is really important. Babies need to know what to expect. We have been having a little trouble getting our son to sleep at a reasonable time, but we're working on a new bedtime routine and after a few days he is beginning to get the hang of it. Your own routine needs to suit your circumstances - what time people in the house are coming or going, what time you want your child to wake in the morning (kids at this age need about 11 hours night-time sleep, according to babycentre.co.uk), where your child sleeps, etc. We have a small flat and our son sleeps in the sitting room, which presents it's own problems. I would say that with shared custody the most important thing is that both of you have the same routine at bedtime, so that even in different houses and with different people the same things happen at the same time each night.

Our son's routine is similar to everyone else's - dinner, clean up, bath (or quiet play; he doesn't have a bath every day), book, milk, toothbrushing, cuddles and a song, then into bed. He doesn't have a room of his own, so we can't leave him to settle alone, but we make everything nice and quiet, with the tv off and the lights low (we've found it really helps to have the tv off for a while before bed, and look at books instead). At the moment he's taking quite a while to actually fall asleep, but with occasional reassurances, sometimes a drink of water, and maybe a gentle rub on his tummy or back, he settles down and eventually decides it's time to sleep.

Before we started this routine we used to rock him to sleep, and then put him into bed, but it's important he learns to fall asleep on his own. And he is getting used to it already, making less of a fuss each day. Before long I think we'll be able to put him in bed and he'll sleep more or less straight away.

Good luck finding a routine that suits you and your child. Once you've decided on your routine, keep it consistent, and before you know it I'm sure your child will be telling you what comes next!

Amber - posted on 10/19/2010

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Hi,
I have the same issue my daughter can not cry for longer than 5 min or she throws up. I live with my parents and brother, so I am unable to let her scream it out anyway. I've taken my que from her. My brother works 3rd shift and for months I'd put her to sleep by 8:30 around 10 she'd wake up everynight, it donned on me that she is waking up to see him so for the past month she gets her bath around 8:00 says goodnight to granny and papa then we go to the room and we play or read until uncle gets up around 10:00. She sees him, gives loves, has a poopie at around 10:15 and she's out by 10:30. It may seem late to some but I have found its useless to make her cry and get upset right before bed. If we go through this bed time routine then we have a peaceful sleep all night. You've basically got to find what works for you and your little one. I don't know if you have the Sprout channel where you are but I highly recommend it they have a great night time program, if you want to continue with the cartoons, they are design to help the kids wind down. Good Luck though I hope you can find a routine that works for you!!

Trisha - posted on 10/19/2010

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my daughter is 17 months. she has been in a bedtime routine since she was a year and a few months. as long as she was in the same room with me she wouldnt get into a routine. so we moved her into her own room and got her a toddler bed. since then we eat an early dinner mostly between 3:00 and 4:30 because my boyfriend leaves for work at 5:30. then we have a snack between 7:30 and 8:30. she watches tv and plays with her toys until about 9:15 or 9:30 depending on how tired she is. then shes in bed by 10:00. that may seem late for some people but it seems to work pretty well with us. it didnt take long to get her into a routine. maybe a week. i started her off without having a tv in her room but after a few months of her going to bed and going to sleep when she was supposed to i decided she could have one. she gets to watch one movie and if she doesnt fall asleep before its over the tv goes off and she has to go to sleep without it. i turn it off if she falls asleep before its over. her movies are normally pretty short and they arent cartoons. they are childrens movies that have actual people in them so theres not as much color flashing and things like that. this seemed to work for me. she gets up between 8 and 9. hope this helps..... and goodluck.

[deleted account]

One more important thing to note: studies suggest that, while we can zone out in front of the TV, it isn't actually relaxing our brain. Relaxing our body (vegging in front of the TV) and relaxing the brain are two different things. The TV actually stimulates the brain- lots of action and flashing lights on the TV get the neurons shooting fast. Maybe you can cancel the TV time before bed, and switch to story time.

[deleted account]

A routine is important. It should be the same routine every night. It may take a few weeks for her to get used to it, and she will cry, but that's ok. Just pick one method of dealing with the tears (ie; checking / comforting her periodically OR letting her cry it out) and be consistent with whatever you choose.

My son is 19 months. His routine is this:

6:00pm dinner
6:30pm tidy up
7:00pm bath
7:30 bedtime routine, in this order: pajamas, blinds down, read a story, lights out, put him in his crib, give him a pacifier and his favourite stuffed animal, pull the blankets up, say good night.

You can adapt a similar routine (but shorter) for her afternoon naps. For example: into bedroom, blinds down, lights off, into bed with favourite toy or pacifier, close door.

It will be difficult for the first few weeks, but if you stick with a routine, she will get used to it, and so will you.

Good luck!

Taylor - posted on 10/18/2010

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Theres a great book by Elisabeth Pantly called "the no cry sleep solution." While the cry it out method works well with some, it is not for all of us. She has a TON of suggestions that you can pick and choose from. We do Bath, brush teeth, (or diaper change if no bath), Book, pretend to put him in his cribby, second dinner (which includes cheese or bananas because they help release sleep hormones) and then real bed time which means the CD goes on, lights are out, my husband sings twinkle and he goes in his crib while my husband lies down in the guest bed. It isn't the most textbook routine, but it works for us. My husband had to take over our sleep routine because he was always trying to nurse with me and I was trying to wean him. (I'm pregnant and couldn't take it anymore.) If your child already winds down with the TV, you might consider having that be part of the bed time routine, but ultimately it would help YOU if she fell asleep in the bed she will sleep in. Later, you can gradually cut out the TV part of the routine, but for now, I would probably say to keep it in there somewhere. Maybe hearing the TV, or a CD would help if she is already used to falling asleep with the TV.

Louise - posted on 10/18/2010

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see i find it very hard to put her in a routine as myself and her father are separated so she will be with me for 2 or 3 days then with him for 2 or 3 then me again then him and it has been this way since she turned 1 unfortunately so its very difficult because the first day back with me she is gettin used to the different bed and that her daddy isnt here etc

Corlia - posted on 10/18/2010

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I also strongly believe in a bedtime routine and it works for us. My 19month old son gets supper at 17h00. bathtime is 17h30. bottle at 18h00. plays a little on his own or read books and at 19h00 he goes to his cot. some evenings he will wave at me and walk to his cot by himself. other nights he screams for about 5 minutes but we are very strict about this. you have to be cruel to be kind. i don't say let her scream for hours non stop but they are at the age where they will scream to prove a point. a strict routine is the only way. good luck. he sleeps until 06h30 / 07h00 in the morning.

Abo - posted on 10/18/2010

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I'm a big routine-lover! Hope this helps...
Indeed kids settle into a routine quite quickly(within a week,mostly), though they may initially resist - so take courage.
My daughter goes to sleep around 19h45, so I try to have the TV off @ 7 so that she can calm down and unwind better. She then sleeps thru until about 6h20.

Beth - posted on 10/17/2010

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hi louise
u have probably heard this a million times but u should get your daughter in a bedtime routine.
what we do with our 19 month old leading up to bed time is last snack before dinner is no later then 4:30pm, dinner is 6pm on the dot! she has half an hour to eat then its a bath (or story time if she doesnt really need a bath) and no later then 650pm its pj's, saying goodnight and straight to bed at 7pm.
it may take a couple of days maybe even a week or so, but be patient! i think stopping the cartoons right before bed will help because all they do is stimulate her mind.... giving her her bottle while u read to her will help calm her down. eventually u could put her in her cot while u read - she'll stand but she will get used to being in it :) hope this helps!!

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