How Do You Get Your Toddler to Stay in Bed and Sleep?

Beth - posted on 12/01/2012 ( 1 mom has responded )

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My son, who will be three in February, has always been a fantastic sleeper. He has gone to bed at the same time for a couple of years now. In the past few weeks, getting him to go to bed and STAY in bed has just been an absolute nightmare. We still go through his regular routine, but now he thinks once we put him in bed and leave the room, he can get out of bed, turn the light on in his room and play. It has been taking us now up to 2 hours to get him to bed at night. On top of that, now he's waking up in the middle of the night to do the exact same thing. We have tried a few different suggestions like just letting him play in his room ("as long as he is quiet, he'll fall asleep on his own"--yeah...not so much), and we have also tried the Supernanny approach of no eye contact, don't say anything to him, etc., just put him in bed and "soon you will have a child who goes to bed at his regular time and stays in bed." That too did not work. We are getting a little desperate, very tired, and searching for ANY advice that someone could give us.



Thanks in advance for your help!

Beth

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Kimberly - posted on 12/01/2012

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Thanks for starting this conversation. I am also having issues with my 3 1/2 year old daughter. I found that the best bet is to wear the kid out during the day. Keeping the child active and engaged in some game or just running around is good for their health and it's more likely they'll sleep soundly at night. I suppose that goes for adults too.



When the proper excercise doesn't happen, this is what I do; I start slowly winding down after dinner. I start talking about how bedtime is coming up, the bed time routine, talk to her about what pajamas she'd like to wear, this is happening as we're cleaning up after dinner, and as I'm helping her put her toys away. Then pick out the jammies, take a bath (with calming lavender scents), then I have her pick out 3 stories to read, we cuddle up on the bed and read. Sometimes we also talk about what had happened that day, or what will happen the next day. If she doesn't fall asleep by the end of the story I turn off the light and sing a few songs while rubbing her back.



If she's still not asleep, or if she's not holding still and listening quietly, I tell her that its bed time, its time to sleep and that I'm going to leave her room now. She seems to be comforted when I leave her door open a little and the hall light on when I leave to start washing dishes. She likes knowing I'm still close by.



She gets scared of the dark and of being alone. She's told me this before. She goes to sleep alot easier when I take my time during the bed time routine and focus on her and reassuring her that I'm not far away if she needs me.



Hope that helps



PS. We still have days when bed time takes 2 hours, but staying consistant with the bed-time routine really helps

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