Bedtime NIGHTMARE! Help?

Rebecca - posted on 08/06/2012 ( 7 moms have responded )

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My daughter will be 2 on the 22nd of this month. We have been having a terrible time getting her on a better sleep schedule... this is what we're doing now and what we've tried:

Currently we are giving her a bath around 8, brush her teeth, story time around 8 20 and bedtime around 8 30. The first time NEVER takes. I usually take her out of her crib for 15 minutes or so IF she cries for too long (generally 20 minutes is what I feel comfortable with for CIO) or if she cries herself sick, which happens quite often...
I do this until she finally gives in, which isn't until about 11 30, sometimes later. This has been going on for almost 3 months.

I have a lamp on for her in her room; she doesn't take too well with the dark. I also play her soft lullabies on my tablet so it's not too quiet in her room (she's never slept in a quiet place and doesn't sleep very well if it's too quiet) and she has her favorite stuffed animal with her at all times (a small 5 in. tall Elmo doll).

So, my question is this: What can I do differently to make bedtime more enjoyable for her?

It breaks my heart to go through this every night and hear her scream the way she does. I don't know what else to do! I have tried cuddling with her, but she only wants to play when I do that. I refuse to bring her in bed with me and her dad, since we had a hard time breaking her of that about a year ago. Does anyone have any similar problems or any suggestions for me to try?

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Kelly - posted on 08/09/2012

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I know how you feel. my daughter is 4 and her father and i still have trouble getting her to go to bed at night. some nights are better than others but she does put up a fight. one thing i have found that does help to make bedtime more enjoyable for her and me is we have to special night time songs that either i sing or we sing together. also on the nights that she is really putting up a fight i have found that if i take my pillow and a blanket to the livingroom and have her snuggle up with me on the couch and turn the science channle on that she relaxes and driffs off to sleep and we can then put her in her bed for the night. its not always easy but as you try diffrent things youll see what works the best. my daughter does not like the dark or the quiet when she goes to bed either. my little one also crys and screams until she is sick and i know how hard that is to deal with. maybe its the type of bed that she is in too. one thing that has helped us out a little with our little girl is when we got her a toddler bed that did not look like a crib. she still at times wants to sleep in our bed but she does like sleeping in hers. we found that if we put her big mickey mouse stuffed animal on one side of her and her big minnie mouse on the other side of her once she was asleep that this helped her too. good luck and remember to stay clam they can feel it when you get stressed and will feed off of that.

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Michelle - posted on 08/08/2012

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I havent read other comments so sorry if it has been mentioned. Maybe put her down earlier, use a lullaby thing or white noise, try getting one of those lights with the fish or whatnot that spins around with light dont let her nap after 2, 2:30 at the latest, my daughter goes down and some nights wont fall asleep till 9:30 sometimes will be asleep instantly, every night is different. Its usually better if her day is packed.

Rebecca - posted on 08/08/2012

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Deanna,
I answered those questions in the comments above, but I'll repeat them.
I get her up at 7 every morning and she takes one nap from 12 - 1 every day. I have tried to skip out on her naps but she every day that she does, she goes to sleep earlier in the evening, but only sleep for that hour and be up the rest of the night. I have her ceiling fan on at night, being the desert it gets insanely hot in here.

Deanna - posted on 08/08/2012

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You are doing everything right, some kids don't like bedtime. My daughter hated it. We found having a fan in her room helped a lot. The noise was there and it kept the room at a decent temperature. What time is she up in the morning? She might have to get up earlier so she is tired at bedtime. Does she nap during the day? She might be getting too old for that. It is hard to get a schedule going with a child, but it takes consistency and patience.
Good luck!

Rebecca - posted on 08/07/2012

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I get her up at 7 every morning. I have tried to cut out her daytime naps, but every day she misses her nap, she'll go to sleep around 8 and wake up about an hour or so later and be up until 2 am or later. She has her nap from 12-1 after lunch. I would like to do dinner earlier, but my boyfriend doesn't get home from work until around 6, so I usually do it then or at 6 30, depending on the day. I have tried to do her bed time routine after dinner, but the sunlight is still too bright for her to relax and calm down for bed. Her lamp is already pretty dim, it's hard for me to see in there at night, but I can definitely try something smaller.

Kimberly - posted on 08/07/2012

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What time does she wake up in the mornings and does she still have a daytime sleep, if so from what to til when? From my own routine I'd say try moving the bedtime up earlier so do dinner between 530/6 then bath getting settled into bed for stories by 645 read stories and be out of the room no later then 730. I would switch her lamp for a dim night light so there is still some light but not enough to stimulate. Start with this then I would also slowly take the music away. For her age if you let her cry for 20-30 mins then go into to resettle her but this is not picking her up, tell her that it is bedtime, you love her and will see her in the morning then walk out( I know it sounds harsh but it does work). If she wakes up early in the day and doesnt sleep she will be shattered come 6pm, once they get over tired that is when the wars start. We were sent to a sleep clinic when my daughter was 18 months as she wouldnt sleep through the night and eating problems. This is the routine they set for us and it was a god send, it been 16 months since and we havent looked back. I stuck to this routine for a good solid 6 weeks with no changes and now it is easy to get her off to bed for a twelve hour sleep. She has dropped her daytime sleeps in the last few months so bedtime is usually 630 - 7 at the lastest otherwise it just gets ugly!!! I know it is hard and breaks your heart to hear them cry out for you but if you can stick to it it will benifit both you and her greatly good luck

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