3 year old WILL NOT Stay in Bed!

Heather - posted on 02/08/2013 ( 5 moms have responded )

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Oh where to begin, I did the whole babywise schedule with my babies. My son has always been on a schedule, always had a great bedtime routine and always went to bed at bed time, with only a night off here or there. Then Wham! The last 2 months have been a total nightmare. He will NOT Stay in bed at night. I don't get it because at nap time he will still usually lay down and go to sleep but at bedtime he is up and up and up again, sometimes for hours. Nothing major has changed in the last 2 months, I have a 7 month old baby but he had no problems for the 5 months so I don't think its that. My husband works nights and I'm a stay at home mom so I'm soooo exhausted and just done. I even tried the Supernanny method of putting him back in bed over and over and over and it doesn't work. He thinks of every excuse under the sun, tonight I finally snapped at 10:30 when after 3 hours he was yelling and throwing a temper tantrum in his room because he wasn't allowed to get up again, I finally gave him a spanking, yelled at him and put him back in bed, something I never do, and it didn't work and now I just feel like a horrible mom and I'm ready to cry. I have so many friends who brag their kids just sleep 10-12 hours a night still no problems, but not only does he not go to sleep at night, he wakes up at the crack of dawn! Is this normal, are they're any other ways besides laying with him in bed and making sure he stays, am I the worlds worst mom! HELP!!

-One Sad Tired Guilt Laden Mommy

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Elfrieda - posted on 02/10/2013

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Oh, to address the getting out of bed issue: have you tried putting a baby gate up or locking the door? Put a blanket near the door just in case he falls asleep on the floor so he'll be more comfortable. We only had to do that once and my son was so insulted and upset that we now only have to say "Yes bed, no floor" and he will obey because he knows that if he doesn't do it himself, we will "help him" by locking him in his room. Maybe it's his personality or something, but he found it extremely offensive. (not that he was scared to have the door closed, because we always close it for the evening so we don't wake him up if we watch tv or do the dishes, etc.) I don't mind (other than for his sake) if he roams around his room because there are no toys in there other than a few books and stuffies.

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Gigi - posted on 02/11/2013

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From what I have noticed, if your kid has problems falling asleep in the evening (if it takes more than an hour), it most likely is that he sleeps too much during the day.
But the thing is that when you start cutting down his naps, he is genuinly more tired because he got used to dividing his night sleep in 2 portions (late night and afternoon). It takes few days and up to a week for him to get used to sleeping longer portion in the night and I think its during those days that parent concludes that their child still needs naps and goes back to old schedule.
Some children grow out of their naps at 2 years, some at 4, but it doesn't mean that the lenght of a nap stays the same the whole time.

My daughter (3 years old) goes to sleep at 8pm, but her day nap is about an hour to hour and 15 minutes. If she naps longer than that (or if the nap is after 2pm), she will not fall asleep until 10pm.

Elfrieda - posted on 02/10/2013

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My 3 year old is also having trouble sleeping at night. This is so sudden, we were always the people with the "perfect sleeper" but now he wakes up for hours and it seems like insomnia, sometimes doesn't nap, and just walks around with horrible blue bags under his eyes.

I was so worried it was psychological issues because we just had a baby, and I think that's part of it, but actually I think it's largely because we don't go outside much anymore, and we used to have a vigourous playtime outside every day, which of course would tire him out physically and make it easier to sleep. And of course it's harder because it's freezing cold outside and I don't feel comfortable taking a 3 month old out in it, but my husband and I are making a point to really try to get him outside and running every day even if it's only for 15 minutes, and I think it's working.

As Gigi says, one spanking won't damage him, but you can apologize to him if you want. I know I'm apologizing a lot to my son these days. :( I am so impatient when I'm sleep deprived. :(

I don't think it's necessarily that your son's grown out of his naps, at least I don't think it's the case for mine. Try to get him to run outside and burn off some energy, maybe that will help.

Gigi - posted on 02/09/2013

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First of all, never compare yourself to claims that other people make about their children being little angels. Granted, some of them might be true, but in my experience many claims of "my kid sleeps perfectly" come down to making up stories. Its peer pressure I think.
So you gave him spanking yesterday and now you feel bad. He will forget it soon and if you don't do it again no damage has been done. Don't be too hard on yourself, one action does not make you a bad mother.
As for bedtime prolem - could it be that he grew out of his nap, so he has problems falling asleep in the evening. Waking up too early could support that. How long are his naps? Have you tried not putting him down to his nap? One thing to keep in mind is that since this has been going on for 2 months, he is now dividing his sleep routine between nap and nighttime, so it might look in the beginning like he really needs his nap - because he does. But after few days of new routine - start with shortened nap until you are at no nap, he should be changing back to normal sleep routine at night.
He might need a longer transition period, and he might keep his naps for longer, you just need to find out how long they have to be so they don't interfere with night sleep.
I changed nap routine for my daughter months ago when she started falling asleep difficult in the evening and now she naps for about an hour (also goes to nap earlier) and some days she doesn't nap at all. The way she is going, i expect her to drop nap completely in the next few months.

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