My 2 year old won't sleep, suggestions?

Anika - posted on 12/17/2011 ( 7 moms have responded )

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I have a 28 month old boy, who I have always had struggles with for periods of time with poor sleeping. Recently (about 2 weeks ago), he was doing ok, would go to sleep very easily, have a nap for around 1 1/2 - 2 hours, and sleep for 11 hours through the night (bed at 7:30-8pm, woke up around 6:30-7am). Suddenly, he's started becoming a complete nightmare. Nothing changed, just decided one day to become difficult. It has been taking on average 2 hours to get him to sleep, falling asleep around 9:30pm-10pm. Waking up a lot during the night. And waking earlier (around 6am-6:30am). I have always had a consistent bedtime & daily routine for him since around 6 months old. Dinner at 5:30pm, bath at 6:15pm (he is also fighting his baths now, used to love them), relaxing time in our bed after bath, then put into bed at 7:30pm, read a book by my partner for 10 minutes, then leave the room. Now, he used to go to bed without a fuss & quickly after my partner would leave the room. Now he starts crying instantly. We know why, he wants us there with him. My partner has tried reading to him for longer, but he still didn't fall asleep while being read to. He's also tried lying there with him til he falls asleep. Sometimes he's in there for an hour, thinks he's asleep, and gets up and my son starts crying. At the moment he's still lying with him til he falls asleep, and it's taking an incredibly long time that it's not doable anymore, we're up early with him and then in bed at 10pm and are stressed out. At this point we have avoided CIO because I find it really hard to listen to him crying, and he is very strong willed and I know he could do it for hours. Also we have neighbours (house is right up against ours) and would wake them during the night. It doesn't make a difference if he naps or not, or how long he naps, he still has trouble falling asleep. Doesn't matter if he has toys with him or not. We're desperate, we're so tired. Any other suggestions? Lying with him for hours until 10pm is just not practical, and I believe he should and can fall asleep on his own, as he has done before. His speech is limited, so we can't explain it all to him either. I'm expecting my 2nd child in August next year, so would love for him to be in good sleeping habits by then.

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Lise - posted on 12/17/2011

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"Nothing changed, just decided one day to become difficult."

Also, maybe nothing changed as far as you know... He could be teething, working on a milestone, not feeling 100%, learning new words - all of those things screw up sleep.

Lise - posted on 12/18/2011

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If you choose to go with melatonin, use it rarely! Your body builds up a tolerance to it quickly.

Katherine - posted on 12/17/2011

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I would cut out the nap. It's sounds like he may be done with them anyways. My daughter is the same age and if I give her a nap she's up until all hours of the night.
It didn't always used to be like that. I just found one day she wouldn't go to bed until 10pm and wake up at 6am. I couldn't figure out why until I cut out the naps.

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Anika - posted on 12/22/2011

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Okay, we did actually stop the naps the next day after writing this, as you guys said it seems like he didn't need them anymore anyway (unfortunately!). That has solved the problem of him going to sleep, he has't been to sleep later than 8 so far. But he is still waking up throughout the night, and every day at 5:30am, my partner has to lie there with him til 6:30-7 or he won't go back to sleep. Didn't think about the molars, will have to check that. We also tried keeping some music on in his room during the night, hasn't seemed to help. Hoping he will just go back to sleeping through the night, he's always in a much better mood when he sleeps well, and so are we!

Katherine - posted on 12/21/2011

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That's true, this is about the time they cut their 2 year molars.

Sarah - posted on 12/19/2011

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I agree with Katherine, cut the naps out! I have a 21 month old and he doesn't nap anymore either. Mine gets up early like 630 and doesn't nap and goes to bed by 8. Have you tried getting like a scensty warmer in his room and put lavender and chamomile scent in there? That may help as well as a bath and warm lotion in that scent.

Valorie - posted on 12/18/2011

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go to wal-mart or pharmacy...get melatonin....It is a natural supplement that will tell his body it is bed time. Twenty minutes tops they are out like a light. the other thing is ...I turned the door knob around. If it is quiet time (hubby gets up at 2 am to go to work) parent having to rest or whatever I put her in her jammies and let her know she can play until she is ready for bed...no escaping and no danger as her room is child proofed. She loves the nights she gets to stay up and play. I even checked with the local child protective agency to see if that was ok. They said it was until the child is old enough to escape a fire by themselves...we would have to go get her in that event anyways.

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