Bedtime question.

Momof1 - posted on 04/17/2011 ( 16 moms have responded )

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Hi all. My son is 17 months and just recently when my husband and I have put him down for bed, he sits and plays with his Scout toy and cries/yells sporadically for 40 minutes or so before falling asleep. I never really know for sure if he is tired or not, but a good indication is him rubbing his ear, then after I see that, I'll say something all the lines of "playtime was so fun, it's bedtime everyone" (I got that from one of his book) just to see if he will cry, meaning he isn't ready for bed or just sit there rubbing his ear. I usually try to go by if he woke up at 7, I put him to bed at 7. But now that his sleeping pattern has changed, if he wakes up at 7, I put him to bed at 8-8:15 and he's still up. I never did cio, he started sleeping 12 hours a night on his own at 9 months. The longest my husband and I let him go when he is crying is 10 minutes. But if he is sitting in his crib playing and only sporadically crying, then we leave him go.



Anyway, the main point of this post is I feel bad if he is still awake and playing for all that time, then he finally falls asleep. I feel like he's thinking, "hey, I'm awake and crying, but my parents won't get me." So then he just falls asleep. I know, I know, that probably sounds stupid. But then sometimes when I peek on him, he's just sitting in his crib, staring, not even playing and I feel sooo bad, I usually go get him. On a normal day, he wakes up at 7 naps from 1 to 3/3:30 and falls asleep at around 8:40 ish. But we put him down at like 8/8:15, if he starts showing sleepy signs. Should we just wait and put him down later?

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Donielle - posted on 04/17/2011

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Yeah. Do you have a bedtime routine? That may help too. For DD's bed routine, we have a bath, some naked time, storytime and then she nurses for about 10 minutes, but doesn't always fall asleep nursing, but will go to sleep shortly after I put her in her crib.

Jodi - posted on 04/17/2011

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He's 17 months, he'll get over it. It certainly doesn't sound like he is excessively upset, so I think you are worrying to much and reading too much into it. What you are doing sounds fine.

Blackwood - posted on 04/18/2011

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I'm the sameway as you. I can't do the CIO method, I'm noting saying it's a bad thing, it's just not my thing. My son as always been a crazy sleeper. Sometimes sleeps alot sometimes not much. Rarely through the nite. My son is so restless during nite time. If you are worried that he is upset or feels alone the fact that he is playing is a good sign, he may get bored cry out and then entertain himself again. If my son would play in his crib and eventually fall asleep I would be good with that. Maybe try different toys or soft books and switch them up. He maybe over tired too. I think you should do what is best. My theory and what I'm going with is this. I can't really explain to my son he is a big boy and it's bedtime. When I can then I'll worry about the crying until then either me or my husband goes in a settles him down. He maybe getting teeth, coming down with something, bored, going through a big developement that he can't do in his crib and until my son can let me know what is going on and if there is a "real" reason for the waking up during the nite, sleeping here and there, then I will go to him too let him know that IF there is an issue I'm there for him. It's hard and it's tiring, but that is what I feel is best and I don't have too worry if I'm missing out on something.

Sheryl - posted on 04/18/2011

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If there is a reason that you put him to bed at 8/8:15, such as u n yor husband go to bed early yourselves n need alone time, then keep his bedtime the same. Otherwise I would wait til like 8:30/9:00 to put to bed. If he is really cranky or tired before then by all means lay him down. It is a very good idea to work your child into a bedtime routine as he will eventually start school and will need to be on a schedule, n ot to mention right now having him on a schedule will also make things easier on you and your husband (like going to bed n getting up for work) to keep your own schedule. The one important thing to remember here is: the more you pick your child up and remove him from his crib at bedtime because he is not sleeping, the more he will do it. It will become like a schedule to him. He will learn that if he does not go to sleep but instead just sits or plays it will get him outta bed. Routines are good it gives them structure as well as believe it or not responsibility. Never under estimate the mind of a child. A parent must remember even at this very young age the child is learning everyday and it is up to us to show them the proper way. Don't let the child trick you into him running the show.

Karla - posted on 04/17/2011

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I would be sure to have a bedtime routine, but besides that, I wouldn't change anything. My son does the same thing for sometimes as long as an hour. I also feel guilty about it sometimes. We tried putting him down later and he still talked for awhile and then just went to sleep later.

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Momof1 - posted on 04/21/2011

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Last night we put him down at 8:15. He woke up at 7:30 and napped from 1:30 to 3:30. (I normally don't like him to go to 3:30, though.) He only cried for like 5 or so minutes, then started playing. But he was up for an hour and closer to the hour point, he was just laying there, awake, not doing anything. And I just felt so bad. Then this morning, he didn't cry for me to get him out of his crib, instead I looked in and he was just standing there. So I felt/feel like he thought that I wouldn't get him if he was crying, because I didn't last night. I know, I know how dumb that sounds. It's just hard. Especially when you think you have the bedtime routine down, but then it changes.

Anyway, what would you ladies advise as far as bedtime tonight, since he woke up at 8:20 ish (an hour later then normal.) Should we still put him down at 8?

[deleted account]

My daughter does the same (the playing part). I pushed her bedtime back to 7 and she still does it. I think it's a calming time for them.

You can always try to push his bedtime back, but be warned that it can often cause a crankier and more upset child. I have found that the later my daughter goes to bed (after about 6:30 or so) the more she cries.

Momof1 - posted on 04/20/2011

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Thanks again for the advice ladies. I have to stop thinking that I'm making him sad or bored by leaving him in there. It's just hard. The past couple nights I'll put him down and he'll cry for 10 to 15 minutes, not straight, then he plays, then maybe we hear him after about a half an hour.

Hannah - posted on 04/20/2011

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I have a 6 year old and a 4 year old and they go to bed at 6.30-7.00... chat and hang out in bed for 15-20 mins b4 falling asleep... like someone said its a good wind down time for them... dont feel bad.. remember leaving babies to cry is good for the lungs its so not mean !!

Pamela - posted on 04/18/2011

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eh- quiet time is not the worst thing in the world- and if he's not crying out, he's probably not as bored as you think. Don't project your thoughts onto him, maybe he enjoys hearing the sound of his own voice in a quiet room, maybe he's just processing his day & it's part of his wind down routine. If he was truly upset, he'd start crying hysterically. Don't worry too much, sounds like he's doing great!

Nancy - posted on 04/18/2011

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One thing kids need most of all is to have the same schedule. I had three sons back to back and without my schedule I would have gone mad. The boys usually woke about 6;30 - 7;00 had a nap and were all put to bed by 8;00 pm at the latest. They didn't always go right to sleep. sometimes they were restless just like we can be, they get over tired just like us also. Let him stay in bed and relax, play if he needs to unwind. Or cry if he's over tired. But don't keep running in there, he will use that against us fast. Kids learn quick how to manipulate us. You also need your time for each other. You just gave 12 hours to your baby, now give some time for each other and keep your marriage alive.Nancy

Donielle - posted on 04/18/2011

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Maybe try a more calming, quiet bedtime routing. TV is a bit too stimulating. So maybe try something simple like putting on some soothing music and letting him play with quiet toys for about 10 minutes, then read a couple of books before the kisses goodnight. And try to keep the lights dimmer if you can.

I highly recommend the No-Cry Sleep Solution. There's 2 books, one for babies and then another for toddlers.

Momof1 - posted on 04/18/2011

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@ Sheryl, yes the reason I put him to bed around that time is because my husband and I usually try to get an hour/ an hour and a half of alone time is before going to bed for the night. He is gone from 5:30 AM to 5:30 PM and we go to bed at 9:30. I work weekends, Sat 11-8 PM and Sunday 6 AM to 2 PM. So it is hard to spend time together and we haven't had a "proper" date in 17 months because of not having to many options for baby sitters. But I don't just put him to bed so we can have alone time, I'm not trying to suggest that. I usually try to go by 12 hours after he woke up is usually bed time, except now that he is older, I go by 13 hours unless he is showing signs of sleepiness.

What are some good bedtime routines to start trying?

Momof1 - posted on 04/18/2011

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Thanks ladies. Like I said, I know it sort of dumb for me to feel that way, but I can't help it. Yesterday he woke up at 7, napped from 1 to 3:15, then I put him down at 8:10, he screamed for about 10 minutes, then it was off and on for awhile, then he just played until a little after 9. And I didn't know if I should get him, because I felt bad that if he was still awake enough to just sit and play maybe he should still be up. But he had gotten up so early yesterday and had lots of run around time that he should have been tired.

As far as a bedtime routine, I wouldn't say we have one. Back when he was under 8 months, I would nurse him to sleep, but then I stopped nursing him to sleep, I would nurse, then change his diaper that way he would go to bed awake and as I said, he started sleeping amazingly at 9 months. So no, we never really had a bedtime routine. He has this one Baby Einstein that he watches (well, I'd say he semi watches it now, plays/catches a glance at the TV) and we usually put that on at like 7:00 ish, so he knows it is getting close to bed. But besides that and having his yogurt and around 7:30, then my husband and I doing our "saying" to him along with give Dada a hug, which he knows means bedtime, that's it.

[deleted account]

You've already said that you don't leave him to cry for more than 10 minutes, so I think it's totally fine. His cries are only sporadic... if he were really wanting/needing you, they would be continuous. Just think of that 40 minutes as his 'wind down' time.

I co-sleep w/ my 3 year old son (no where else to put him), but it doesn't matter WHEN I put him down (unless some of the times when he hasn't napped) he will generally roll around, talk to me, just basically be a little pest ;) for 30-45 minutes EVERY night. That is HIS think.

Donielle - posted on 04/17/2011

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If he isn't crying often then you could just leave things be for now. or You could try a later bedtime, but you could also try limiting his nap time. Currently DD (18 months) will wake up around 630-7 and plays in her crib until 730, takes a nap at 1230 and usually sleeps 2 hours though sometimes it's 1 1/2 and I don't let it go longer than 3 hours. Her bedtime is at 7 and she usually falls asleep pretty quickly.

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