How to get a 16 month old into a sleeping pattern

Melody - posted on 06/02/2010 ( 23 moms have responded )

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I was just looking for some tips or advice on how to get my 16 month old daughter into a sleeping pattern. She only seems to go to sleep at around midnight. Even if she hasn't slept in 8 hours. I need to get her into a pattern for her and for my partner and I.
Please help. I'm over going to bed at midnight,

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Naomi - posted on 06/12/2010

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Same thing - routine!

Our 17month old wakes between 7 and 8am (usually 7) and has his breakfast.

Morning tea at 10

Lunch at 12 and then down for a nap (usually 2 hrs sometimes as long as 3)

Afternoon tea around 3

Dinner at 6

Bath small play and then bed at 7.30. We usually read a book and then we sing the same song everynight. He will sometimes grizzle for a few minutes but will mostly just chat to himself until he drifts off.

I know it sounds very regimented but it makes him feel secure and safe as his day is predictable. He is in care during the day when I'm at work and his carer follows the same routine so he has consistency at care and at home. He moved from 2 sleeps to one because he was copying the older children where he is in care - he didn't want to go to sleep if they're were up so they all go down together now.

He is usually very ready for bed at 7.30. Even if he seems really content and happy if you make the mistake and let them stay up longer its like a switch goes off and one minte they're happy as and the next they're way over tired.

People without young children don't often understand when you are manic about "the routine" but it's just not worth the headache for you and the trauma for them - they love the predictablility.

I imagine working shifts doesn't help as your own routine is not predictable! So make sure that everybody who does the nighttime routine is on the same page and doing the same things so that even though the person might change the routine doesn't.

[deleted account]

i agree about the routine of course, but it sounds like perhaps your little one is napping too late or taking too many naps so she isn't tired at a 'normal' bedtime hour. are you still doing 2 naps? when my daughter's bedtime was being pushed later and later, that's when we transitioned to one nap. it was hard the first few days but they get used to it, and it pushed her bedtime up to a reasonable hour. but whether you're on one nap or two, you can't just expect to change from a midnight bedtime to a 7 or 8pm one... you'll have to do it slowly to have the best results. i've heard moving bedtime up by just 15-30 mins at a time, do that for 3 days, then move it up another 15-30 mins, wait 3 more days or so, repeat......

i know it sounds tedious but your little girl wont suddenly be tired when it's hours and hours earlier than she's used to, just cuz you want her to be, right? if someone put me in a dark room locked in a crib 4 hours earlier than i was tired, i wouldn't be too happy either and all that crying would not be helping anyone. you certainly dont want to make her afraid of bedtime and to start fighting it because she's afraid to be left to cry for hours...

anyway good luck, i wish you all the best!!!

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Stephanie - posted on 06/16/2010

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my DD is 17 months and has had a bedtime routine from 3 months old.. bath every other night at 7:30 then kisses and off to bed at 8 (she get a sippy cup of milk in bed, and she got a 4oz bottle when she was drinking formula). we let her cry herself to sleep and check on her every 20 minutes.. she usually goes to sleep really fast.

Kristen - posted on 06/16/2010

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I give my son a bath, then a bottle (sippy cup) for about 1 hour. He then goes down for bed. Some nights he wants to play a little more but no later than 10pm. Try the bath, bottle routine and see. Otherwise trying waking her up early in the morning with a short nap then bedtime may come early.

Amy - posted on 06/16/2010

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Well you could either just lay her down early. She will probably cry for a while, but it will get her thinking bed instead of play. Also make sure to wake her up early, so she takes a nap early and maybe will then go to bed earlier.

Lesha - posted on 06/15/2010

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My 17month old is down by 8:00 if not sooner. We have the same routine everynight- supper, bath, book/snack, then I place him in his crib. He has a waterfall soother that I turn on and in a matter of minutes he's out. There have been nights when we weren't home and the routine gets off, but he adapts really well to the situation. It may seem hard at first, but as soon as she's used to the routine, she will start doing the steps before you.

Stef - posted on 06/11/2010

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Sleep training has worked for both my babies. The younger you teach them to sleep properly the better. We used the controlled crying method and found it super effective. And I can assure you it doesn't leave them psycologically damaged as some may think! It's initially hard work but everyone is so much happier in the long run. Our kids need to be taught how to sleep properly and there are a lot of different training methods out there, I'm sure you could find one that suits you. The key is consistency with NO COMPROMISE! As all the other mammas have said routine is key once you have established your baby settling themselves. Remember Mamma and Dad are in charge not the wee ones in the household! My youngest is 11 weeks and last night we started sleep training with him, it took an hour but he slept blissfully through the night and has been sleeping for 4 solid hours today! It works, but mamma you need to be resolved and ready and decisive for it to work, if you feel all wishy washy about it it won't ever happen! Good luck, and may you all sleep well!

Susanne - posted on 06/10/2010

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I know how you feel, Patrick goes to sleep finaly at 8pm but he back up crying at 11:30 and at 1:30am again

Juliet - posted on 06/10/2010

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Goodness it seems like you need to get a routine in place before you loose your marbles! I can only tell you what I do with my 16month old:
7.30am wake up and breakfast
10.30am -1pm Nap time
4.30pm - dinner time
5.30pm - bath time
6.30pm bottle and bed time.

She will generally wake up for one bottle at night but usually only for about 10 minutes and she is fast asleep again. (I know I am not supposed to give it to her, but I don't mind - personal choice). I would stick to these times come hell or high water for a few days and see if you can get her into a rythmn. Even waking her up when she is supposed to be awake if she is still sleeping. I also give my daughter her bottle and a cuddle and then put her to bed awake with her dummy and fluffly blanket and she then nods off on her own which helps her to do so at night as well if she wakes for some reason other than being hungry or thirsty.

Good luck! It sounds like you must be sooooo tired! I feel for you.

Susan - posted on 06/09/2010

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Routine is the key. I have had a routine for my 16 month old daughter since birth. She was first taking 2 naps and then going to sleep around 9pm then we went to Florida which is 3 hours ahead and she lost her afternoon nap. She now gets up around 7am and takes a nap around 11am for about 1 1/2 hours and then is asleep by 8pm. She gets a little cranky around 5 because she is tired so by 8pm she is ready to go to bed. I actually give her a bath in the afternoon after her nap and that works for us. I have an older daughter that is 20 and a son that is 19 and they where on no schedule at all I let them go to sleep whenever they where tired because I was a young mom and didnt want to upset them but I learned that children like schedules, besides it is really hard on your relationship. So, I feel for you. Good luck!

Angel - posted on 06/09/2010

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I agree with PP's regarding routine!! We started from the get go, and now she can put herself to sleep, we just do a bath, sippy of milk, brush teeth and prayers and kisses then into the crib for the night at 7:30. It was work getting her to this point though, I will admit, we did some CIO at naps, but now she loves her crib!

Amanda - posted on 06/09/2010

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definatly need a routine. I have had a routine since birth with my 17 month old twin daughters. We give them a bath some nights, around 7pm. After their bath and picking up toys, we shut the tv off (if its on) cuddle up on the couch with sippy cups of milk and read a book for about 15 - 20 minutes, giving them time to drink their milk and just relax. Then they get their teeth brushed and off to bed. They are usualy in bed around 8 pm or so. In their room, we have a cd player and everynight play the same relaxing music for them to relax and sleep to. We do turn on a fan on low (white noise, plus helps keep their room at a comfortable temp). Some nights they are quiet and fall right to sleep, others we hear them upstairs for a little while before they fall asleep on their own. If you keep the same routine and approx timing, your daughter should re adjust to the new schedule. And if she isn't tired until midnight currently, try switching to only one nap a day and trying to get her outside when you can to wear some energy out of her so she is tired for bed earlier. I hope this helps.

Naomi - posted on 06/08/2010

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Whenever we have had to change Jazmyns sleeping pattern (moving into her own room, weaning off dummy, moving into a toddler bed etc), we have used a controlled crying technique. Its difficult but Jazmyn has never cried for more than 20 minutes (usually the first night of the change) and then less the next night, and night after that. Usually by the forth night she is back into a routine and sleeping through the night.



We have also had a bedtime routine since Jaz was about 3 months old. Bath, Bottle (now cup) book then bed. She now walks herself in to bed at bedtime. Every now and then though she will get cranky at the bath stage because she knows what is coming!

[deleted account]

i completely agree, i have 3 girls and have learnt that even at a young age they understand whats what.
If your little one is waking every night at the same time it is just that she is used to waking at this time and knows if she crys you will go into her (i had this with my 6 year old when she was younger) When i eventually got to the point where i could do it no more i decided i had to do something about it, i put her to bed every night and read her a story then turned off the light and told her its sleep time now and Mummy will be in to see you in the morning.For the 1st 4 nights she still woke at 1 in the morning but i did not go in to see her and on night 5 she did not wake and other than when not well has not done this since.
So with my 16 month old if she wakes crying in the night i never go in to her room unless it is an ill cry, which has been once. It is easy to learn the difference between you little ones cry for attention and a cry that is telling you something is wrong.
So my advice is when she wakes although it will be hard (i know drom experiance) do not go into her room. She will soon start to sleep through the night.
Good luck

Jennifer - posted on 06/08/2010

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all good advice as children respond well to structure and routines...same time everyday and they'll be leading you as to what to do next :) can be quite cute to witness....bath, book, bed most ofter worked for my 4 unless they were sick or overtired...if you skip their routines, it really effects them...they get overtired and sometimes you don't realise it till too late as they appeared to be having fun visiting or shopping but then you can't get them to nap or go to bed...then a few days later we are all back together again as soon as I reapply the routine...I have witnessed that at night you think they are enjoying staying up late and wide awake but if you actually ignored this and put them to bed anyway at their usual time they most often just go to sleep...even tho you thought they were wide awake...book, bath bed around 7-8:30 and only one 1.5-2hr nap in the afternoon should work...it's the parents that need to work at this...keep up the efforts for a couple days and you will see they will general respond well...don't stray off your routines!

Crystal - posted on 06/07/2010

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well this happened with my daughter too. we used to have to rock her for 2-4 hours until she fell asleep and she would go to sleep at 1am. so one day we were out and she didnt take a nap all day and she knocked out at 8pm. we found that the nap was giving her a boost of energy that lasted for 10 hours.so we stopped giving her naps. and we stopped rocking her, we just put in in the crib said goodnite and walked away. she cried for about 2 hours the first nite, but after a week, she stopped crying. its been a few months now and she's gotten to the point where at 8 she tells us nite nite and drinks her milk and then goes to sleep. she occasionally takes a nap, but we wont put her down for one unless she asks for it. now my daughter is one of the rare one's who dont really nap, but you have to find out whats best for you and your child. baths tend to calm my daughter down. as long as you stick to a routine, and dont give up on it, whatever your routine is, it will work. kids love structure. good luck.

Arlie - posted on 06/07/2010

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These last girls are right, it is so important to keep consistancy with children. Children are more secure if they are surrounded by consistancy because they know what comes next and what is expected of them. I find that a solid week of the same routine, whatever works for your family, is the only trick. Every child is different and every family is different so you need to develop your own routines. But NUMBER ONE RULE is to keep those same routines. My daughter and I have had the same routine since she was 3 months.... We have dinner, then we have a bath, then we have a massage and pj putting on time, and we cuddle on the couch for a few minutes, and then she is off to bed. My baby girl now directs herself through the routine with only small directions from me. Routine and consistancy makes bed time more enjoyable and stress free for both of you!!! Good luck!

[deleted account]

Routine, routine, routine! I have had my daughter in a routine since she was 6 weeks old and she has slept through the night since about 8 weeks. She has also gotten to where she only gets a binkie at bedtime so that is another 'cue' to go to bed. Also, your daughter may cry for awhile after starting this earlier routine. However, letting her cry it out is not a bad thing. Every now and then my daughter will cry herself to sleep and that's okay. You know when the crying is just for pity or when something is wrong! Good Luck!

Natalie - posted on 06/03/2010

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ROUTINE ROUTINE ROUTINE!!! Get her up around the same time, keep things going till nap time, which should be around the same time too. snack time dinner, bath and bed aroudn the same time. Put her down w some music on and maybe a sippy cup of warm water and LEAVE HER BE! She will fall asleep and keep this up for a week and you will be good to go!

[deleted account]

I've always stuck to a routine with the kids. I started right from birth to teach them the difference between night and day. At first with baby...I would usually give his bath in the evening...even as late at 9:30pm...it depended on his feeding time.Eventually as the months went by, I just started making it earlier and earlier to the point where bathtime was around 7-7:30 and he would be in bed and sleeping by 8pm. I did the same with my twin boys. We always give the boys their bath at the same time at night usually around 7-7:30 and then we put them to bed. Sometimes they fall asleep right away but other times they might stay awake for a while but eventually fall asleep. The twins usually wake up in the morning around 7am and they nap after lunch. I guess the day napping might affect her...if she is still sleeping twice a day, try to change it to once, that way she will be tired in the evening. Not sure what time she gets up too. Sleeping too late in the day might not be good if you are trying to get her to sleep at a reasonable hour. When I first changed my boys from two naps to one...I would always make sure to have an early lunch...ready to eat by 11:30 and that way, usually by Noon we were done and they would nap for about 2 hours. I know it might be hard but you might even have to let her cry and leave her in her crib. They don't usually cry that long. I know I hate hearing them cry but sometimes you just have to do what you gotta do! Good luck!

Miranda - posted on 06/03/2010

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I agree with Jane, a routine is key. I give my lil girl a bath every night, she drinks her milk from her sippy, we read to her and she plays 15-30 mins after her bath and then is usually ready for night night, If you stick to it they get the hang of it. Make it a priority to try to do it around the same time every night too that's KEY if not the routine will be hard to stick to and manage. :) Good Luck!

Jane - posted on 06/02/2010

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bath, book and bed. get her into a routine. even if you dont give her a bath every night, just get a routine going. our 16 month old LOVES when i rub her feet. helps calm her down. also, she LOVES books right now. turn the lights down low, play a classical or ocean sound cd in her room and "read" w/her. give her all the night time clues she needs that it's time to sleep. even if she just gets used to laying or sitting in her crib w/you next to it rubbing her back or reading w/her, she'll get the message in a week or so. it's trying but it shouldn't be a battle or disruptive. and leaving her in her crib by herself is okay. as long as she's safe.

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