Over the last month, my 3 year old DD has been getting worse and worse at going to bed and settling.
Our current circumstances dictate that we all share a bedroom, and there is not sufficient room for her to have a bed. She's not cramped in the cot, and the room is neither too light, dark, hot or cold.
Routine (such as it is), is: protein-rich tea, bit of play time, change into nightwear, story & cuddle, warm milk, teeth cleaned, toilet and off to bed. We keep lights low from story time onwards, tv off, no music.
She's been dry through the night for around 5 months. No incidents during day time.
Every night it seems to get worse. We lay on the bed for 5 minutes, and have a little chat and a cuddle. She then goes into the cot (at her request). That's when the trouble starts. We then have endless requests for holding hands, cuddles, wanting a drink, wanting some lip salve/cream on a hurt toe/finger (or anything else that she thinks of)....
We used to be able to give her a kiss and a cuddle, sit with her for 5 minutes, put the nightlight on (on a timer for 10 mins), and go out of the room.
The past week it's taken two hours to get her to settle.
I've tried threats, bribes, cuddles, talking, not talking... going out and coming back. Going out and staying out. When I do the latter she ends up screaming until near hysterical/making herself sick.
I'm really running out of patience and stamina. I don't want to be shouty and cross but it's really wearing me down. I've had an extremely stressful two years with bereavements and difficult family circumstances. I have done my utmost to make sure we have quality time. I'm in the final year of a Masters degree, and stress is starting to tell.
If I could buy a chloroform pillow, I would.
Please give me your failsafe solutions. I know that in reality 'this too shall pass' but it's not passing soon enough. DH and I have precious little time together as it is, and currently we are spending all evening alternating attendance on DD.
Sorry, not meaning to drip-feed. Meant to say that she is also waking around 5am, wailing, asking to have hand held, or a cuddle. I usually get up and do the latter, but try not to prolong it. We tend to put the nightlight back on at this stage, and make lots of shushing noises.
I have had the same with DS. He is now just 4 but is quite emotionally up and down so maybe about as emotionally stable as an average 3 year old! I hold his hand until he gets to sleep. I tell him that I'm doing it to help him get to sleep. If he starts trying to chat or get more attention from me I just whisper that I can't talk and I am only holding his hand to help him get to sleep so if he keeps chatting to me I will have to go. If he continues to make lots of noise I do get up and half-go out - cue screaming - so I say that if he stops screaming and is quiet I will sit back down and hold his hand. I have been doing this for about four months after "trying everything". He is a lot calmer and if I pop out to check on his little sister he's OK and will accept that I am coming back so he may as well stay quiet (though this is only after months of familiarity with the hand-holding). If he seems particularly wound up I just have to try and let him jiggle and fret about without getting wound up myself. The calmer I can keep myself, the quicker he seems to get to sleep. Any other requests (other than one trip to toilet) - "no, it's time to sleep now - I will hold your hand to help you if you like" (said calmly!). We quite often go away somewhere where he has to go on the top bunkbed and there he is just left to shout and be annoying and keep his sister awake - with me popping in and out telling him to be quiet - then it takes about an hour (instead of about ten minutes) for them both to go to sleep! I feel your pain. If he wakes up in the night I check his nappy and maybe a little hand hold/head stroke if he really seems to need it. He used to come into our bed in the night all the time but I banned this on his fourth birthday and (to my amazement) he just accepted it. Whilst he was 3 his bedtime gradually moved a bit later - to 8pm - we found that worked better for us all as a family and meant he was guaranteed to be tired when we put him to bed. Good luck!
We've found a bit of improvement over the last few days. I've got a small table lamp on throughout the night (means I don't sleep well), and have been doing the 'calm' approach to settling.
Bedtime has now been revised to 8pm. Last night and the night before she was asleep by 8.15.
At the moment, we're still being woken at least once in the night but it's not for such a long period.
I suspect emotional development is a bit of a thing here - she is quite ahead on a number of things, but this week she seems to have been taking great delight in babbling nonsense and playing a lot with her food (pretending to be a 'tiny baby') and constantly asking us where we're going (even if we leave the room for 1 minute).