to think CC/CIO is different for a toddler?

(34 Posts)
Varfalli34 Tue 22-Apr-14 10:01:11

I am in dire dire straits. My 2 and a bit year old DS is not sleeping and am at end of tether (also 6 months preys and still being sick non stop). He has always been an appalling sleeper and I did CIO when he was a baby. I was happy (well not happy) to do it as I knew he was just tired and needed to let it out a bit etc and it worked well. Now he is older it just seems so much more emotional and personal. As in, it's not him in his cot crying because he is frustrated and needs to sleep. Now he's older it seems distressing and cruel. Am not passing judgement at all. I would like to do it for him if it would solve the problem but now I'm feeling like maybe it would be the wrong thing to do. Would really like to hear people's genuine opinions on this. Do people do CIO for toddlers? Am I just being wet? Or is it a whole different thing?

Would also love love love tips on how I might get him to start sleeping through the night again (this has been going on for months).

Have tried nap in day or no nap in day
Have tried super long wind downs before bad
Have tried gradual retreat
Have tried sort of CC, going back in after ten minutes, settling back down with just a quick cuddle, no talking etc. I did this for a while but would go on for up to three hours (then I admit I would give in and sleep on floor next to him).

The thing is, I think there is something waking him up and then he finds it impossible to get back to sleep. I have had him in bed with me a few times and he still wakes up quite frequently but is easier to settle back down. I cannot for the life of me think what it is that is waking him up though.

Sorry for long post. Desperate for help!

jaysaway Tue 22-Apr-14 10:08:38

19yrs ago this was me with dd1 I tried everything like you I did a little bit of cc with her as a baby well older baby and did the retreating as well, by the time she was 2 she decided she did not need sleep and was up and down all night, what we eventually did was just march her straight back to bed no discussion no conversation just minimum talking, and she also had a torch in her bed incase she woke up and was scared and had some books to look at, some children are just light sleepers and get anxious, consistent but firm not harsh IYSWIM it took us a few weeks to get her to stay in her bed she was up once in the night but it was better than the dozens of times

bumbleymummy Tue 22-Apr-14 10:12:11

I would actually disagree that it is more distressing and cruel for a toddler. At least they have some understanding of where you are/that it is nap time/night time and you can explain things to them a bit more.

supportworker Tue 22-Apr-14 10:13:30

I feel the exact opposite, leaving a very young baby with no comprehension to cry themselves to sleep is far far crueller than leaving an older child to deal with a situation that they may not like but they definitely understand.

CrazyOldCatLady Tue 22-Apr-14 10:22:20

I think it's not as bad for a toddler because you can explain it to them. A tiny baby just hasn't a clue, which has to be worse.

DS is that age and we had problems with nighttime wakings for ages recently. DH actually ended up bringing him downstairs to watch Bob the Builder at 2am a couple of times. Predictably, that just made him worse because then he knew it was an option! What fixed it in the end was that I stepped in and got strict with him. When he woke, I went in, gave him a quick cuddle (with him standing in his cot - he never got taken out), said 'night night, sleepies time now', made sure he had his dodi and muslin, and walked out. I'd leave him crying for 4 minutes, then repeat. It took one fairly bad night and he got it. He does still wake sometimes but goes back to sleep fairly quickly, and doesn't cry for Bob any more!

They're well capable at that age of understanding that it's time for sleep and that there's no other option. And they're far better off having uninterrupted sleep than messing around all night and being tired all day!

gamerchick Tue 22-Apr-14 10:23:40

I don't have a problem with CC but CIO is different and I probably wouldn't use it.

They aren't the same thing.

jaysaway Tue 22-Apr-14 10:27:44

you are right CIO isn't the same and i never did it either , as they couldwork themselves up into a state and imo that isn't fair, god parenting isn't easy is it

toomanypasswords Tue 22-Apr-14 10:41:28

I've had this recently with my DD who has just turned 2. I was fortunate in that it didn't last that long but it was so frustrating when she wouldn't go to sleep as she'd managed to get into a routine of me reading her a book, putting her down, turning light out and being able to say 'night night', giving her her teddy to cuddle and then walk out of the room, which was just brilliant. For no apparent reason whatsoever she suddenly stopped doing this and would just cry, stand up, throw things out of her cot etc etc and take absolutely ages to settle down again, involving numerous trips in and out of her room for me. I tried doing CIO but found it too difficult as she would just cry for a full 30-40 minutes and sometimes just wind herself up so much that she started almost hyperventilating and I'd end going in to her anyway. I tried playing the 'tough love' card and not going to her but I can't bear to hear her cry for that long (even when I know there's nothing actually 'wrong' with her). I spent a couple of nights going into her and not speaking to her, just lying her down again, covering her over and leaving again. I know that she quickly understood this as she very quickly started lying down again as soon as I went into the room but as soon as I left, the standing up crying would start again. I ended up reaching a 'compromise' with her (as far as you can bargain / compromise with a 2-year old) in that we have a story or two, then a cuddle before I put her into bed. She then gets to hold my hand through her cot bars for a few minutes while she settles down, then I tell her that I need to go and go to toilet / cook dinner / get a cup of tea (anything, basically!) but will come back to see her later and 90% of the time she accepts this and now says 'good night' to me, cuddles her teddy and go to sleep. If she doesn't settle the first time, I just go back to her, cuddle her as she stands in her cot, then tell her that it's time to go to sleep, lie her down and tell her that I'll be back later. That's usually enough. Most nights now as soon as I let go of her hand she tells me to go to the toilet and see her later and that's it!! I know it's not a perfect solution but it does seem to work for us. Also, if she does wake in the night, she now lies down as soon as I walk in, puts her hand out for me to hold and is usually ok when I let go a few minutes later and tell her that I need to go back to bed but will see her in the morning. I also still use the Ewan the Sheep thing, just as a(nother) signal that it's time to go to sleep. Not sure if any of that helps but good luck, I hope it sorts itself out soon!

BertieBotts Tue 22-Apr-14 10:49:06

I think it's completely different.

With a toddler they can more understand what you want and also that you are nearby and haven't abandoned them, so in theory it should be kinder/easier.

How is his speech? It might just be that he's waking up and wants you - it's a bit scary to be all alone in a dark, quiet room when you're little. (Story CDs might help as an incentive?) I put DS into a bed at about that age and used to sit/lie with him until he was asleep and then once I'd gone to bed, he had to come in to me if he wanted a cuddle. He did for a while and then I think the effort of getting out of bed got the better of him, I suppose he knew I was there and he could come and find me if he needed me but just thought "Ok I'll go in a minute" and slipped back into sleep again safely knowing he had the option. I just put a stairgate on the stairs.

Or like toomany says, start off by sitting with him and then tell him an excuse which means you need to go, but will be back - like going to the toilet (works well if they are potty trained/ing!) and you can increase the amount of time you're gone as he gets used to it. (Incidentally not sure why you say it's not a perfect solution as it sounds perfect to me! smile)

MrsPatrickDempsey Tue 22-Apr-14 10:51:22

Sorry you are going though this. You list all the different things you have tried; I wonder whether you need to be consistent and stick to the one method that suits you best so that he gets the message. Stick to your guns!!

BertieBotts Tue 22-Apr-14 10:52:50

And he could be waking due to developmental spurts, it's supposed to be quite common. Their sleep will be disturbed and then all of a sudden they can walk/jump/talk in full sentences.

Varfalli34 Tue 22-Apr-14 11:36:17

Mrs Patrick Dempsey (great name!) I knew someone would accuse me of inconsistency! :-) To be super clear, this has been going on for months and months so I haven't been chaotically running in and out, leaving him then madly coming back in. I have been consistent to the point of lunacy with making sure I even say the exact same words and time the exact amount of time to the minute that I sit with him (when I have done that approach). The different methods I have used have each gotten a good whack of an attempt.

jaysaway Tue 22-Apr-14 11:41:24

did any of them work better than the other IYSWIm or was he a little bugger not having any of them .

Varfalli34 Tue 22-Apr-14 11:50:43

The Little bugger option unfortunately.

We did go through a short phase where he would wake around 1am I would go in give him his beaker and a kiss. Then I'd sit for two minutes next to his cot then leave. He'd still be awake but would go back to sleep soon after I left without much complaint. Sadly this was quite short lived.

I'm thinking maybe getting him into a bed would be a good idea? Maybe knowing that he can get out and get me if he really needs to would help.

I do often wonder if he is scared but night lights etc seem to make the issue worse. I think he needs really really minimal stimulation when he wakes up in the night otherwise he is then fully awake.

Bed time isn't too bad. We do a book before bed then I sit with him in the dark and tell a quick made up story and walk out. He sometimes whines a bit but not much. It is something about the night waking I think.

TheTertiumSquid Tue 22-Apr-14 11:56:26

I think by toddler age it is just setting boundaries if you see what I mean - I wouldn't call it controlled crying or cry it out. If my toddler (22m) wants chocolate for breakfast and I say no, he cries. But I don't give in - he can't have chocolate for breakfast. I see it as the same for night. He may want to be up and down all night but it is sleeping time and he can't have his own way.
We had recently got into the habit of giving him a bottle of milk in his cot to settle his night wakings, but when we realised we had got up to 3 8oz bottles in the night we knew we just had to stop! Cold turkey. No more milk. He cried off and on for three nights (lots of reassurance but no milk and not coming out of his cot) and he slept through last night.
I like the views of the baby whisperer who says that sleep problems are often solved by looking at parental anxieties. I say this as a mother of a DS who didn't sleep more than 2hrs in a row for his whole first year! I was worried he was hungry so I fed him every time he woke (and obviously still like to feed him in the night, as the three bottles of milk show wink ). Once he was old enough that I wasn't worried about it any more (about 15 months) we slowly got him to sleep through the night. Is there anything in particular you are worried about that means you can't leave him to settle himself? Is that something you could work on?

jaysaway Tue 22-Apr-14 11:56:48

is he maybe banging himself off the cot sides when he is stretching out ? get him a bed see if it makes a difference , god it is so hard you just want to sleep don't you

TheTertiumSquid Tue 22-Apr-14 11:58:55

Sorry, I expect you are leaving him to settle himself - I know some babies just don't settle. I am lucky with my DS that if we leave him to settle he does wind down. Some babies just wind themselves up (ie my daughter). To add to my above post... I don't know really. Maybe just believe the mumsnet wisdom that this too shall pass. Sometimes it isn't what you do or don't do, you just have to wait for them to grow out of it.

longjane Tue 22-Apr-14 12:20:41

I also had a non sleeping child and after many trails and errors work out out that he was waking up to wee and the best the do was to
1 co - sleep
2 when he woke up take him/tell him to go to toilet.
3 be very strict about this .
and it work to fact he did not wake crying every night.
He woke up and took him self off to the loo.

toomanypasswords Tue 22-Apr-14 12:52:39

A couple of people I know tried moving their DC to a bed when they were having trouble with them not sleeping and it did seem to work, so may be worth giving it a go? Is he getting too hot / cold? I keep DD in her gro-bag still but know that most other people I know with DC have stopped using those and they now have proper duvet and pillow. Is it worth trying a different bedding option to see if that keeps him asleep? Also, two of my friends have bought the gro-clock and swear by them for keeping their DCs (both 2 yo) quiet during the night and until they want them to get up$ja=tsid:49662&cm_mmc=googlemerchantcenter-_-nmppla-_-NULL-_-NULL&gclid=CObx0t6D9L0CFZShtAodC3YAvg&gclsrc=aw.ds

thebodydoestricks Tue 22-Apr-14 15:12:52

Hi op, I was you 24 years ago with a toddler and pregnant.

There comes a point where you have to decide who is in charge in your house. Is it your toddler or you?

Once you decide it's you then take control.

You have tried cc, that's great but 3 hours is nothing and starting it then giving up is just worse. It shows your child you don't mean business.

This is a project and you must treat it sensibly.

There is probably nothing wrong but it's fun to wake up and have mum dancing attendance.

Out him back to bed. Kids, night light and go.

Keep it up. Keep it up.

He will eventually mean you are strong, you mean business.

Think if it this way. Would you let him run in the road? No you keep him safe. He and you need sleep to be safe too unless you decide never to drive him/you in the car again!!

He's over 2 so not a baby. Be firm.

thebodydoestricks Tue 22-Apr-14 15:14:12

Typos*put him back to bed, kiss*

mathanxiety Tue 22-Apr-14 15:32:18

DD3 was never a sleeper, from day one.

I actually don't know what worked to make her decide to sleep through or self soothe, but she managed it somewhere between 2.5 and 3. Even now at almost 16, she doesn't always sleep too well, sleepwalks frequently, talks and mutters in her sleep, and has vivid dreams. She is otherwise a lovely girl.

I co-slept just to get some sleep with her until she was coming up to 2, when we moved her into her own bed. Although this allowed her to get up and walk to our room if she wanted, she mostly lay in bed screeching. She had terrific staying power, and could keep it up for hours. Firmness washed off her like water off a duck's back. She was totally impervious to everything. Daytime tantrums were the same. I used to carry her upstairs to another bedroom (not her own, as I didn't want her associating her room with punishment) and tell her to stay there until she was ready to behave herself. She often screamed for two hours. Once, she screamed herself to sleep over a snack she wanted but couldn't have because I didn't have any in the kitchen, and when she awoke 1.5 hours later and came downstairs she asked. 'Can I have it now?'

No amount of explaining would reassure her she could go back to sleep in the night, and no amount of reasoning worked during the day. The only thing that would get her back to sleep at night and let anyone get any rest was me climbing in beside her to sleep. Looking back, I think putting her bed or a divan in our room, or even putting a mattress on the floor might have been a better solution. ExH was very keen on not babying the DCs though..

jaysaway Tue 22-Apr-14 15:36:15

OH i meant to say at one point I was sleeping with dd1 in her bed she would just poke me in the eye at 3 am and say wake up mummy wake up hmm

thebodydoestricks Tue 22-Apr-14 16:21:50

Think co sleeping or cot isn't the main issue.

Just location really. It's the sleep you need.

ROARmeow Tue 22-Apr-14 19:11:41

my DC2 is like this. at 20 months we moved her into a bed which had no effect except now she walks into our room several times a night to say "hiya mummy".

don't beat yourself up about your parenting skills. isn't caused by anything you do or don't do; some kids just don't need much sleep.

my DC1 was always a great sleeper and napper. the antics of DC2 was a real poke in the eye for my pride.

AllBoxedUp Tue 22-Apr-14 19:19:15

If you can afford it I would recommend using a sleep consultant like Millpond. We used one with DS when he was a lot smaller and it really helped. How long have you tried each method for by the way? I think it can take at least 2 weeks with some - gradual retreat took us about 4 months!

maddening Tue 22-Apr-14 19:21:42

you could try the kissing game ? If your dc understands you if you ask ds to be quiet and try to go to sleep then it could be a good one.

basically you do all the bedtime routine then suggest the kissing game - if ds will try and go to sleep and be quiet you will come back in 1 minute to give him a kiss - then you leave but come back in less than a minute and give him a kiss and say if he is quiet etc etc you'll come back in a minute and give him a kiss - come back a minute later and give him a kiss and repeat but gradually increase the time.

it's like cc but without the crying and you assure each time that you will be back and he gets used to dropping off without you there.

Varfalli34 Wed 23-Apr-14 10:45:13

Had a hideous night last night. Four wake ups. Two of them weren't so bed, went straight back down after I came in for a quick cuddle. The thing that worries me about this though is that might it become a habit? I.e. just the two wake ups goes easily back to sleep etc, it's not too much of a bother for him (and not much for me at the moment) so might he just get into the habit of always doing this. Am feeling neurotic about the new baby coming and getting no sleep at all. I really don't think I can handle two extra wakings on top of the every few hours (if I'm lucky!) it will be with a newborn.

mathanxiety that sounds JUST like my DS! What happened in the end? Did it essentially pass and you got a good night's sleep? Please say yes!

Thanks so much for all the support everyone. I think I really need to figure out what is waking him up at night. Going to try getting him into a bed then to rapid return tip dedicatedly for as long as it takes, maybe do a rota with DH so I don't fall asleep at work too often?

maddening Wed 23-Apr-14 18:30:57

are you in the room when he falls asleep when you first put him to sleep?

Varfalli34 Wed 23-Apr-14 19:02:31

No, tell quick story in dark but he is still awake when I leave and says night mummy.

DuckandCat Wed 23-Apr-14 19:10:29

Another one who thinks leaving a small baby, with no understanding, to cry themselves to sleep is far crueller.

I think a toddler is more aware and it gets to a point where bedtime is bedtime and you just have to leave them to it!

Varfalli34 Wed 23-Apr-14 19:35:23

BREAKING NEWS: DS has just mentioned a monster in his room and told me (in his very limited way) that its an owl in a tree. I do remember hearing an owl from his room in the night so maybe that is it and he is scared? You are all on edge of your seat about this I'm sure.

What to do though? Could get my white noise machine back out to try and drown the sound.

Am quite surprised about it. We actually went to an owlery over the weekend and it hasn't seemed to have had an effect either negative or positive. He is never expressed a fear of owls before and seemed to really enjoy seeing them all when we went. Also I absolutely love owls and often talk about them when we discuss favourite animals.

BertieBotts Wed 23-Apr-14 21:06:19

Maybe he's worried that the owl will come in? Maybe just make sure his window is closed and show him the tree outside and say that's the owl's house, but owls don't come into people's houses. You could make it a bit silly saying they wouldn't be able to turn on the television, or sit on a chair, or turn the taps to get a drink of water. You could think of all the things that owls can't do in people's houses and then hopefully when he thinks about the owl he'll remember the funny conversation about the owl trying to use the tap but slipping off and splashing water everywhere or making mummy/daddy cross by leaving feathers all over the floor to be hoovered up, or trying to snuggle up in bed but his wings getting in the way.

Tell him that when the owl is saying "Whoo whoo" it's just saying hello, because owls can't talk like people can and they have their own language.

mathanxiety Wed 23-Apr-14 22:29:36

It could be that he heard that they fly at night? You never know what little details small children hear and remember and you can't predict what they will make of the information they glean from a trip.

Would it help to tell him more about owls and present them as families (mummy, daddy, and baby)? Sometimes presenting scary entities as families makes them more domestic, familiar and approachable. You could tell him that they are birds who build nests in trees just like other birds, that they lay eggs and have baby owls (what are baby owls called anyway?), that they find food for their baby and feed him in the nest, that the baby owl will one day (night?) teeter to the edge of the nest and jump out and hopefully fly, just as he also learns to do all sorts of big boy things.

DD3 has an early summer birthday, and I think her learning to sleep through the night between 2.5 and 3 coincided with the autumn equinox and the arrival of darker and earlier winter nights. Maybe blackout blinds/curtains might help your DS? By the same token, she loved a night light. I got one that glowed green because that was her favourite colour. Her bedroom window was at the side of the house, but lights from cars could illuminate the room, or flash across the walls or her closed eyes when they went past on the road outside, and I think the heavy curtains and night light kept the light steady and predictable in her room.

When DD3 was about 4 I started playing classical music CDs at night and this seemed to help her relax enough to drift off. She liked all sorts of pieces, from Arvo Part to Beethoven to Chopin, and on and on.. She still does - the Bach cello suites are her current favourites. I stuck to classical because DD3 was always very sensitive to sound (she would wake at the drop of a pin when napping as a baby), and muzak and lights and smells in supermarkets used to set her screaming. She also hated going in the car unless I had classical music playing. (DD4 liked Lenny Kravitz, by contrast). I thought classical music offered more soothing choices, longer pieces that she could concentrate on, sometimes a beginning, middle and end to a piece, so to speak, and repeated motifs -- so maybe a better intellectual experience than nursery rhymes set to music for instance, or even Baby Einstein toddler music selections. This isn't music snobbery here -- I listen to anything except C&W and especially Irish C&W -- but a practical choice, and I figured if she had any sort of an ear for music, classical music would enhance it.

DD3 also had a lot of allergies, it turned out. She developed hay fever quite young, and has food allergies - dairy being the most likely to cause problems. I also found she is allergic to aspirin and has problems with latex, and there are food allergies and sensitivities that are related to latex allergy that I avoided too, for her -- avocado, kiwi, banana, apples, carrots, celery, potato and tomato. She was always a terribly picky eater so many of these weren't an issue, but she complained about bananas making her mouth very itchy, and pizza gave her hives on her chin and neck. Daily Clarityn almost year round sorted out the hay fever to a great extent but she went on to develop mild asthma nevertheless.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now