2 year old is still crying himself to sleep

Jaime - posted on 11/15/2012 ( 2 moms have responded )

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Help! My two year old is still crying himself to sleep. We have followed the same bedtime routine since he was 8 months old. We take a bath, put on pjs, read a book and give him his teddy bear. As soon as we leave the room he starts screaming....everytime. It happens at night as well as at naptime. Sometimes he screams for 5 minutes, sometimes it's 30. The biggest problem is if he wakes up in the middle of the night for any reason, it is so hard to get him to go back to sleep. So far tonight he's been up from 2:30-4:00 and I've gone in there about every 30 minutes to reassure him and everytime I walk out he screams harder and louder. I keep thinking that it just takes time, but this is excruciating. My first son had no sleep issues and we did the same routine. We even tried moving him into a toddler bed last week and after 3 hours of him getting up and having to put him back in bed, I gave up. Any ideas? (Oh, and before I get a string of comments about how cruel it is to let your child cry to sleep...yes, I have tried rocking him to sleep but he is a very light sleeper and wakes up during the transfer from my arms to the bed.)

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Amy - posted on 11/15/2012

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What works for my family is snacktime, story and bed. My husband and I lay with our 2 1/2 year old and 6 1/2 year old till they fall asleep. My son up until a few months ago would climb into bed with us in the middle of the night, now most nights he can put himself back to bed but it took a long time, but he has some anxiety issues so we try not to push it. My 2 1/2 year old still comes into our bed each night, like I said it works for us. I'm not judging but after 16 months I would say it's not working and what could be happening is the more you push him towards independence the clingier he is becoming. Have you tried setting up a cot on the floor in your room for him to sleep on?

Gigi - posted on 11/15/2012

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Its not clear is this screaming happening since he was 8 months old? It sounds like it from your post and it is a long time to be sticking to something that doesn't work. I am against cry-it-out approach, and would never do it, but I did see that for some families it did work. What I am trying to say is that I think everyone does what works best for them as a family. It just doesn't sound like it is working for you.



You mentioned rocking didn't work either, but there are other options as well. It sounds like he is terrified of being alone by now, so you might have to tackle that as well as "falling asleep" part. My advice will probably don't do much if you are determined to continue with cry-it-out approach, but here it goes anyways.



If he is afraid of his bed/being alone you could try to make him like it more - playing in there when he is awake or such. Also night light might help. If he is really upset (difficult to say like this) and afraid to stay alone- I would also stay there with him after he is put in he bed - goodnight kiss, lights off, no talking (if he starts talking give him one warning, and if he continues walk out and when he starts crying go back in). You'd be just sitting next to his bed and every 2 days move closer to the door. He might raise to see if you are still there, but you'd just reasure him and tell him to go to sleep. Once you are out of the room you should be all clear and he should be falling asleep on his own. Mind you that might take some time if he is afraid.

The other approach would be that you put him in bed as normal, and walk out. at teh moment he starts crying you go back in, pet him on the back or if he is very upset get him out of the bed and calm him down (hugging or so). At the moment he is calm, put him back to the bed and walk out. repeat about 150 times the first night. It gets better fast though so you just have to stick with it.



Good luck

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