Need help for my sleep deprived 2 yr old!

Maria - posted on 02/14/2011 ( 2 moms have responded )

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I dont even know where to start with this issue ....

My DS has never been a good sleeper. ever. At 16 mo, I threw in the towel on all the other methods I'd been trying and decided for the sake of my sanity and my marriage (i was getting really bitter about it) and decided to start CIO with him. With his type of personality, we knew right off the bat, that we just needed to leave him in his crib and let him do his thing- popping in and out of the room would just make it worse. It worked well enough, he cried at the most about 25 minutes on day one and from then on, at least he learned to put himself to sleep. HOWEVER- even when we were at the best, he would still protest every single night even though our routine never changed. It was acceptable though, it was eventually to the point that he just complained about going to bed, but was ok when we would leave him.

but then... When he turned 2, we transitioned into a big boy bed.( We have another one on the way, and needed to use his crib eventually, and didnt want to be kicking him out of it once the baby was here. ) At first everything went swimmingly. He took to the bed wonderfully, loved it. We stopped leaving him alone, thinking he would be scared due to the transition, & the plan was we would sit in the rocking chair until he fell asleep, until he got used to the idea, and then start leaving earlier and earlier until someday, we'd just leave him after tucking him in and all would be well........ yeah that seems like its never going to happen.we've had several setbacks, everything from an ear infection, several colds and fevers, going to my parents house for a few days, getting his last molars.. etc etc. problem is, things now seem to be worse than ever, and I have no idea how to make it better.

Right now, my husband has bedtime duty. Even if my DH sits with him for 45 min to an hour some nights, he doesnt always fall asleep. Then when my DH goes to leave- he has decided that my reasons for him sitting with DS are dumb since we seem to be getting nowhere in terms of DS "getting used to" anything, so he is all for CIO and just leaving him frmo the get go, but has compromised and will leave after enough time has passed to fufill what he thinks is long enough- the wailing and crying begins... but its like a full temper tantrum every night. We thought at first he was scared of the dark (maybe) but we bought him a twilight turtle, and have a nightlight in his room, but that doesnt seem to be the issue. We tried leaving the door open (our bedrooms are on the second floor, but we apparently have a custom sized staircase and no gate fits, so we dont want him wandering out at night when he might fall down the stairs) and having my DH sit in the hallway where our computer is, so DS could feel reassured but DH could get stuff done, but we soon found DS just jumping on the bed (after 30 min of having been left alone). We are now to the point where DH will sit w/ DS for 15- 20 then leave, knowing DS will still be awake but knowing theres nothing we can do about it. And instead of the angry thrashing (we have a video monitor, we can see he is just pitching an angry fit) lesseing over time, it seems to remain the same. this past week, he has taken to getting out of bed, and crawling underneath it in the crawlspace, and just hanging out there for a while... we thought to just let him if it made him feel better, but then he feel asleep there once after like an hour, and its so tight that if he shifted at night he would hit his head and probably freak out, so now we make him get back in bed, and the angry fit starts all over again. We have seriously considered maybe bringing him into our bed, but right now it doesnt seem like a viable option. I am 35 wks pregnant, and even when not pregnant, a very light sleeper myself, and DS is the SHIFTIEST sleeper ever. We have shared a bed whenever we are on vacation, and those have been the worst night's sleeps ever. I also know we will be co sleeping when the new baby comes, and with my DS1's personality, i know if we kicked him out of our bed in a few weeks, there would be hell to pay.
On top of it, it seems he is still teething with those !)*!@ molars. For the last 2 nights, hes woken up every 2 hours. We tried going into his rooms, and sitting with him until he feel asleep, worked fine the first night, but last night, at 4 am, my DH sat with him for 1.5 hrs, and he was still wide awake.....

SO.... I have consulted the No Cry Sleep Solution for toddlers, nothing seems to apply to our situation.....

IS THIS NORMAL!? Shouldnt he be used to this by now? is there another option i can try, or should I keep trying the CIO, since at 28 months, he is old enough to be going to be alone, since he USED To do it just fine? nothing else in our living situation has changed, and we know he doesnt miss his crib or anything like that, it just seems like maybe a power struggle?!? i dont know but my DH is at his wit's end, and keeps asking if there isnt SOMETHING we can do to make this easier...

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2 Comments

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Jeneva - posted on 02/17/2011

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Very normal. Here is what I would do and what I did with my daughter when we moved her into a toddler bed. We had to just leave. And we had to close the door. With us awake, she wanted to be awake too (the whole, what am I going to miss thing). We basically did another CIO and it was our only option because she was the same way as yours. She always protested sleep. And could scream for a long time.



Also, don't stay in there. Go through the routine, say goodnight and leave. No sitting in there for an amount of time because your DS knows daddy is going to leave so he is probably getting anxious about it. He needs to know exactly when daddy is going to leave. For us, it goes reading then in bed then I sing specific songs in a specific order. We go over the rules and expectations (no screaming or yelling, staying in the bed - consequence is the night light gets turned off) I say the i love you's and good night and go. If she calls for me I only talk to her through the door and it's only to basically say go to bed, good night. The more you talk and engage, the more they stall. It took us a while to get to where we are. Rarely do we have issues now.



Also, he may not be ready to go to sleep. So put some books in there for him. Make him aware that it's ok to play quietly with quiet things. You can't make him sleep and he wants to feel some control so this works. Also try music. We put soft classical on and she really likes that. I tell her to close her eyes and listen to the music.



Oh... and just FYI... if he falls asleep on the floor it's ok. My daughter did too a couple times. She did fall out a couple times but called for me and I helped her get back in bed and she was good after that. They get used to the beds quick.



And you have to be consistent. That and patience are key. Keep it up every night and after a couple weeks you should see a huge improvement.



Also... does he nap? Does he maybe need to stop napping? Both my kids stopped right after 2. If they have a nap, they stay up till super late and a vicious cycle ensues. So you can try that too.



Good luck. It will get better. Also want to mention my kids are in bed by 7:30, asleep by 8 at the latest and wake up between 7:30 and 8am the next day.

Tiffany - posted on 02/16/2011

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Wow. I see you seem to have a serious issue here. Usually kids at the age of 2-3 are very insecure. Hence the tantrums. Also the fact that you are pregnant and there is a baby coming probably affects him more than you realise.

The key here is PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE. It is not going to happen overnight. You also need to be firm. Tell him when bedtime is and when the lights are out, he has to lie down on his bed. It doesn't matter what he does on his bed, as long as he doesn't get off. But eventually, he will wear himself out and fall asleep. It can be anywhere from 15 min to 1 and half hours. Whatever you do, NEVER give in to his tantrums. If he gets off the bed, put him back on the bed. You need to be firm. He will get the message eventually. At the same time, assure him that you will stay until he falls asleep. Don't scream at him. Talk in a firm manner. Read him a bedtime story, sing songs etc if he wants you to. Give him lots of cuddles and hugs.

I know you are quite keen to make your child fall asleep on his own. However, if he's going to be on a big boy bed, it's probably a good idea to have him supervised until he falls asleep. You don't want him falling off and knocking his head on the floor, while jumping on the bed. I would suggest someone staying with him until he falls asleep anyway. That way, he knows that someone is with him physically. And he feels loved and wanted. Let him know that when baby arrives someone will still stay with him. That's when you get hubbie to help.

With me, my older one only showed that he could fall asleep on his own when he's past 3 years old. ThenI got pregnant and my older one was feeling insecure. So I stayed with him until he falls asleep. Currently, my second boy just turned 2. Both of them share a room. I still stay with them until they fall asleep. But they go to bed without fussing, they lie down in their beds and fall asleep on their own. I know if I leave early, my 2 year old will fuss. That's when iPhones/laptops become valuable. I read, email, surf the net etc quietly until they sleep. I send them to bed at 8:30 to 9pm. Sit with them usually until 10pm. That's when they are fast asleep. They usually sleep through until 7am the next day.

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