Three year old bedtime woes

Shelley - posted on 07/14/2012 ( 1 mom has responded )




We just transitioned my three year old son to a toddler bed a few weeks ago, and he just doesn't seem to be getting better at falling asleep. It is still taking two to three hours of screaming and tantrums and going my husband and I going in an out of his room to get him to go to sleep. We will stay with him and rub his back until he falls asleep when he is laying quietly in his bed, but most nights he won't cooperate and so we have to leave him to cry and scream for periods of time and check on him periodically to try to calm him down and get him to sleep. He was a much better sleeper when he was in his crib, and we are exhausted. I start work at 430 AM most days, and my husband and I both work full-time, so we need some solutions to make this work better for all of us. Please help!


Rebekah - posted on 07/14/2012




Is he still taking a nap? If so, I'm wondering if its time to drop the nap so he is more sleepy and ready for bed at night.

Can he articulate what his concern is at bedtime? Is he afraid of his new bed (like falling out), or of the dark, or re-arranged room, or is he just not wanting to miss what you and daddy are doing while he is supposed to be asleep? If you can target a specific concern, maybe you can resolve it. Does he miss his crib? If so, you could put up rails that simulate the same cozy feeling of a crib.

Do you follow a predictable bedtime routine that prepares him for sleep? Maybe change up the routine--and even have your son be part of that planning--may help the process too. Would soft music (lullabyes) playing in his room help him to fall asleep? White noise? Be sure you aren't giving him anything sugary close to bedtime, or having him watch tv or computer either (which alerts the brain).

If you've tried all these things and more, then it may come down to 3 year old behavior.... 3 is tough. Stay as consistent as you can and tough it out with clear expectations, and I would think he will come to recognize that his tantrums aren't getting him what he wants (which may be, to have more of your time and attention). Sounds like you are in a rough cycle. The nights when he is calmer/more cooperative, be sure to praise and give rewards (even stickers on a chart towards an outing, or something) if you must. Hopefully that will motivate him in that direction.

Hope you get a peaceful night soon!!

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