Bed time

Stephanie - posted on 02/18/2014 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I'm wondering what a good bed time for my 2 1/2 year old would be. I am trying very hard to have a good night routine but he ALWAYS wants to stay up til 11 or later! No matter what. When I do put him in bed early he crys for hours or just gets up and comes back to me. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

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Tamara - posted on 02/18/2014

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I used to work in a child care setting and had one little girl who wouldn't sleep, yet her mum really wanted me to let her. I used to draw pictures with my fingers on her back and that helped to relax her. You could try this if he is ok with touch (I know some kids don't like the feeling). She took a long long time to fall asleep but this technique helped her to fall asleep faster.

Maybe you could talk to his carers and explain the situation and maybe ask them to let him sleep for no longer than a specified amount of time. That way he has a chance to rest during the day and it might just help him to go to sleep earlier.

To me when a child only naps sometimes, it tells me that he is growing out of the need. Maybe perhaps ask them to let him have a rest when the others are going for a sleep and he could either lay down on his bed for a little while (generally 20 minutes is the limit for kids this age and then they start making a noise) and then maybe he could look at books or do a quiet activity while the others are resting, something that is quite restful so that in effect he is resting but not exerting himself.

How long is the ride from child care to home? Generally if it is less than half an hour then he would only have one cycle of sleep. It might be late in the afternoon. I am gathering but do wake him up as soon as you pull in. That way he will have a much better chance of going down at bedtime.

It does take trial and error but of he is in childcare, then look to his carers to help you out. They might lend some insight into methods. I haven't mentioned.

Do some wind down activities in the evening. Maybe try an audible story instead of a movie. Generally kids become wired up with tv in the evenings.

Maybe encourage him to see you being tired - play act a little "I'm so tired. I need a sleep" and stretch and yawn. Maybe get him to tuck you into bed as a form of play. Maybe run through the routine with him. It helps them to feel more ease when you can talk about and associate with a routine. Take the time with him. It sounds as though he might be protesting because he wants to spend that time with you.

I know it is really difficult for them to understand. Just relax and spend that bit extra with him and hopefully he will see that bedtime isn't so horrible after all.

Good luck, I really hope this was helpful.

Stephanie - posted on 02/18/2014

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Thank you. He does take a nap at daycare..but he doesn't actually nap only sometimes and he falls asleep about the time other kids are waking up and then they let him sleep late. If he doesn't nap he's trying to fall asleep on the way home and I have to fight with him to keep him awake. His routine at night is usually supper around 6, playtime/movie time, bath and then I TRY to ease him into his bedroom to go to sleep..but he knows and will have nothing to do with me reading stories. I have to lotion him up and quickly tick him in and run while he's screaming! I hate that it has to be like that.

Tamara - posted on 02/18/2014

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Ok, is he having a daytime nap? If he is, often it is an indication that he only needs it because he lacked the sleep at night due to not going to sleep early enough. Try reducing it or cutting it out completely.

What is his bedtime routine like at the moment? Do you bath him after dinner or before, do you read stories before lights out? Does he have a night light or need one?

My children didn't need a nap at about this age as. I found myself in the same position and would have children becoming over tired and not sleeping as a result. I can completely understand your desperation here. You want him to sleep at a proper time as it allows you to have time to wind down also and that is very very important - tired mummy equals not a very good day for all.

I would feed my children at 5pm, give them their bath at around 6pm then they would be dressed into their pyjamas and we would spend a half an hour or so reading stories and having cuddles and then I would say goodnight and put the light out by 7pm. They would sleep through until about 6.30 or 7 am which for me was fine as it gave them a good 12 hours of sleep which is what they require.

The main thing is to be consistent so that he gets to know the routine and that everyone else in the house is on board and follows through also.

I hope this is helpful.

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