How to get a 20 month old to sleep in her own bed all night?

Samantha - posted on 12/01/2009 ( 4 moms have responded )

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My daugher is now 20 months old and she has never really slept in her own bed all night long. I have read some things about laying them down and letting them cry themselves to sleep, but I can bear to listen to her scream for 20 minutes. I just don't want her to sleep with us all of the time. She starts out in our bed until she falls asleep and then I put her in her bed which only lasts a couple of hours. Does anyone know how I can fix this problem?

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Jessica - posted on 12/01/2009

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establish a routine... it wont be easy when you first start, remember it takes 28 days to make or break a habit.. 20 minutes of crying is not going to kill them or hurt them.. I wouldnt let it go longer then 20 minutes. once you lay her in your bed she has won. so dont. and when she wakes in the middle of the night just pick her up and clam her down dont leave the room with her, then lay her back in her bed.. children need routines and boundaries.

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Ana - posted on 12/01/2009

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Have you read any books on the subject? There are numerous out there... most of my research has lead me to believe that crying it out is not the best approach. Try reading the Baby Book by Dr. Sears, The Baby Whisperer and the Happiest Baby on the Block. It will give you a wide range of ideas on parenting without having to let them cry it out. I couldn't do it either... it just didn't feel right to me. My son is now 28 months old and has been sleeping happily in his crib since he was about 12-15 mos old. Consequently, it was alot easier after he was weaned from breast feeding for him to establish his independence from me and realize that he can comfort himself, rather than depending upon me. Children need our love and support and are emotionally sensitive, especially to feeling abandoned. Crying it out can cause emotional withdrawl, and can cause attachment issues later, often resulting in a needy child that has a hard time forming strong bonds with others... at least this is what I have researched. Good luck!

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Unfortunately, I think the only way to fix this problem is to let her cry it out. It will be very difficult for her to understand why this is happening since you have let her fall asleep with you for so long, and it may break your heart to hear her crying for you, but you have to be strong. It may take a few weeks, but it's important not to take a step back during the process because it will confuse her. We are going through the EXACT same thing here. Our second daughter just arrived so we're no longer able to lay with our older (she's 21 months) until she falls asleep. The first night she cried for 45 minutes, the second night for 30 and that's how long it seems to be taking her to fall asleep right now. My limit for "crying it out" is about an hour, but I've heard of some parents having to let their kids cry for up to 3 hours. She also hasn't woken up in the night for over a week. When she wakes up in the morning she's fine, so you don't have to worry about her remembering the night before and being mad at you or something. Keep bedtime a routine, like brushing her teeth or bath time, and read a little while she's in bed so she can wind down. That may also help her get used to being in her own bed before you leave the room. Good luck!

Jennifer - posted on 12/01/2009

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I was like you and was not wild about hearing my little girl scream. We tried laying her down and only going in every 5, 10, 15, 20 min. each night. I worked but it took about a week, but on the third night we discovered that if we added music or her fav. Elmo blanket & Elmo to the mix she would go to sleep and stay in her bed. I hope you find what works for you little girl.

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