Getting a toddler in to bed and getting them to stay there(27 Posts)
My dd has just turned 3. She has a real issue at bedtime and it's driving me and dh crazy. He's had to walk away from her as his temper rises easily and she is pushing us to the limit.
She will happily get in to bed but when it comes to tucking her in and leaving the room she kicks her covers off instantly, cries, gets out of bed and screams "tuck me in" or she asks for her bedding to be tucked in constantly even though it already is.
We have no idea how to contain her. She stomps up and down and screams like we're attacking her and we've had complaints from the neighbours about the noise. She won't respond to reward charts, taking toys away from her results in more tantrumming, if we ignore she screams, cries and stomps even harder and after the complaints I darent let her do that. We are out of ideas and we have no idea how to stop this.
Has she always been like this or is it new? Have you asked (indaytime) why she does it?
You have my sympathies as ds turned from happily settling by himslef to stropping& shouting. It was horrible. And incredibly frustrating.
We went back to basics with his bedtime routine as we'd be become quite slapdash and I think he was over stimulated.
We have to stop with ds (3&a half) until he's asleep. We have a story then he has 20 minutes of us sitting next to him (stroking his head) until either the 20 minutes is up or he's asleep. Obviously he can't tell the time so we just remind him if he's faffing that he has 15 minutes left....10 minutes etc. But 99% of the time bedtime is done in 40 minutes (including story pyjamas etc)
We have a baby gate on the bedroom door so at least the stomping and screaming is contained. Mostly we have (for our 2 yr old), milk, teeth cleaning, back to bedroom and shut gate, 2 stories in a dim light, into bed. Mostly he stays there quietly and we leave. If he seems agitated we stay and stroke his back a little. Sometimes he gets back up, calls at the gate, or has a full on meltdown.
Fortunately we have sympathetic, or deaf, neighbours, so we just let the meltdown finish and usually ten minutes later we either calmly suggest he gets back into bed or he looks at us and demands bed.
Entire process usually takes 45 minutes on a bad day, 15-20 minutes on a good.
However, our dd went through a bad stage like this (aged around 3) and we realised she was overtired and overstimulated. We were starting the bed process at 7.30 (after a full day of nursery). We moved the start of bedtime back to 7pm on the dot, or as early as 6.45 if she seemed fractious. It massively improved.
Never found a solution other than baby gate and carry the exhausted toddler who fell asleep at the gate to bed later. Staying next to the bed in the dark until the toddler sleeps followed by Ninja style crawl out of the room on my belly worked, too. It is a phase, be strong .
I felt like taping them to the bed some nights
We had a baby gate at her door which caused the stomping and the neighbour compliant. It's so loud when she stomps it goes through the house and obviously into next door!
She's been like this for a good 6 months but it has steadily gotten worse. Hopefully it will just be a phase. We're starting to try for number 2 soon and I'm wondering if that's a crazy idea at the minute as we can't even sort out the one we've got!
Not an ideal solution but cuddling to sleep is what I've resorted to. It takes ages but I just can't stand the bedtime tantrums.
35 minutes I've been going back into her room now. She's shattered. I can't even get to shut her door before she's out of bed. I'm so at the end of my tether with her. I'm camt start things like cuddling to sleep that's such a step backwards for us.
Yes to not making it out of the room before ds is out of bed! It's so harsh.
Cuddling to sleep wasn't planned. Just a reaction to reaching the end of my tether too.
We're here now with DS1 who's 2.5. Has been particularly awful since DS2 arrived six weeks ago. He's loses it if we leave the room but actively fights sleep to get more time with us at night. We get pissed off and even more tired, he is so shattered he's lying down to sleep in the garden at nursery. Then he's more shattered at night, therefore more trouble to settle, etc etc. Feel so hopeless to make this better. :-(
This thread is making me feel a lot better, I felt very much like our daughter was the only terrible toddler.
She is almost 2 and used to be amazing, put to bed she said night night and got herself off to sleep. Now she won't let us leave the room we have to wait until she is asleep asleep and then she wakes in the night and demands to sleep with us. I really want to get back to putting her to bed and leaving the room and not fighting every single night for what feels like forever!
We had a phase around two like this. It took a mix of time, making the bedroom a'nice' place (bedtime stories in bed,toys, doll for him to read stories to after we leave) and a bit of basic discipline. No shouting, if you shout we take a book away (I guess for an older kid it would be a toy).
I've two so.i encourage playing together a lot but may be a favorite teddy would work instead. Look after, read to, cuddle baby doll for me please, type stuff.
OP, cuddling or reading or hand holding yo sleep doesn't have to be a backwards step.
Kids go up and down, they need different things at different times, even if you stay and help her drop off tonight or while she's in this phase it will come to an end and she's won't need it any more
My own solution is to just stay until mine is asleep. We had a nightmare trying to train my eldest to stay in bed and sleep when we left the room. The first night of doing a super nanny on him, between us my DH and i put him back to bed over 400 times. I am not joking (counting was the only way I could keep some focus and try to stay sane). Since then we've had two more and we've settled into either reading them to sleep or chatting for a few minutes and staying in the room while they go to sleep. It does mean a long bedtime routine but rarely any stress related to it other than desperate hunger when you can smell dinner downstairs waiting to be eaten!
I was relatively happy staying with him till he slept, but now he's fighting sleep it can be over an hour and he's not reliably down before 9. He's still getting up before 6 most days and so hugely overtired at nursery. But you can't force someone to sleep. What to do?!
For the last few days we've been pushing through till nighttime without a nap. He's overtired and grumpy from 3-4 pm but bedtimes are so lovely. Instead of Gearing up for the hardest part of the day it's relaxed, just one or two stories and some milk. Then cuddles and boom he's asleep. Bliss!!!
I really, really miss nap time though
because I'd go to bed too
My DS skips naps at the weekend and goes down much more easily. As you say, it's a nice end to the day. But he still naps at nursery abd seems shattered if we try to shorten /limit that. And then bedtime is too late and a battle.
It's taking an hour for her to reliably stay in bed and she gets up at least once more like twice a night and she's up for the day before half 6. The other night she was awake from half 1 to nearly 5am. Almost broke me and dh.
It's nice to see we're not alone in our non settling toddler but for everyone who's struggling as well!
We have now been up an hour trying to get her back to bed. Nothing is working. We are at the end of our tether.
Oh dear, whizzpopper, loads of sympathy. I really feel for you. Hope you got back to sleep for a wee while at least!
I also cuddle to sleep for this very reason. It works. Clearly he needs the additional comfort right now. Agree with whoever says that this doesn't have has to be a backwards step. These are such little children and sometimes I think we have such high expectations of them!
I would argue anything that gets a toddler to sleep is a step forwards rather than backwards. It means a much better next day with happy and well rested toddlers (and parents) and likely an easier bedtime as well. No fun or learning happens if everybody is cranky and tired and next day's bedtime will be even worse. At 4am they can come into my bed, sleep in the bathtub or sit upside down for a bit of peace, I wouldn't worry about how or where they settle at that time.
Is it separation anxiety. If your approach isn't working can you try something new? She sounds like she needs her parents to settle and I would try giving her a cuddle instead. We've just gone through the same with my 1 year old but we are back to good nights again. We just went with what she needed.
It's reassuring to know others have this toddler issue. Everyone I speak to seems that to have dream sleepers. Mornings are getting earlier now and it doesn't make any difference whether he went to bed at 7 or 9.30!!! I'm falling asleep cuddling him before he 's gone down
We took a slightly different approach with ds1; bedtime routine started at 6, so we had a good king calm run up to me leaving him in his room alone at 7pm. Bath, teeth, pyjamas, story in bed, and then I'd leave him in bed with his bedside light on, some quiet music and a toy. The deal was he could play and 'read' and I would come up every 5mins to see him and give him a kiss....as long as he was quiet and calm. We also had a stair hate on the door to prevent escapee-ism. He was often still awake until 8pm - but at least it was on our terms, and I knew what to expect. Over time I was able to drop the 5min returns and now at 5 he goes to bed with us and then entertains himself until he goes to sleep - still now sometimes 8pm.
I think he just isn't ready to sleep at 7pm and needs some downtime to ease himself into sleep. I however have a big mental 'STOP' at 7, and find it very hard to cope if I'm still face to face parenting after 7pm. I need my own space after that.
Now we have DS2 it's much the same. He's now 2.7ish and does the same, playing until he goes to sleep anywhere up to 8pm. The problem we have now is that they share a room (small house) but if they're both awake together all hell breaks loose. So ds1 sleeps in our room until ds2 has finally gone to sleep and the we transfer him
In principle id say that 8pm is too late for a young child like that to go to sleep. Particularly given that my two wake at around 630 regardless. But given we haven't ever been able to 'force' them to sleep, and that for my own sanity I need them in bed at about 7, our approach has worked for us. It also makes me wonder about their own natural sleep patterns, and helping them to respond to those calmly, rather than having a nightly battle that stresses everyone out.
Hope you find your own way soon. I know very well what an exhausting nightmare it can be. Even without the stroppy neighbors...
Sorry for the typos. Night feeding dc3.
I mean that now ds1 is 5 yo he goes to bed well.
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