please help me get my nearly 2 year old to sleep :(

(18 Posts)
yougotafastcar Wed 02-Apr-14 08:53:47

basically DS will be 2 this month, and I could probably count on my fingers the amount of times he has slept through the night.

he's never been a great sleeper but was ok up will 4 months when he suddenly started waking up to 6 times a night. I put up with this til 6 months when I was so tired we started to co sleep. And we're still doing it now! He is too big and too much of a wriggler to share our bed now and he is being disturbed when dp gets up for work at 6.

He also now won't set let himself before bed, I have to sit with him holding his hand and that could take a hour sad

I'm so tired from all the broken sleep and am waking up with back ache from being in funny positions when he moves around in bed. I have tried controlled crying but he is so so stubborn and doesn't give in for hours, plus we have neighbours whose children are at school and the walls are quite thin so don't want to disturb them either.

I do want to try for another baby soon but can't bear the thought of being up with two children! so grateful for any help

yougotafastcar Wed 02-Apr-14 08:55:22

oh also, he is still in a cot as he hasn't learnt to climb out yet and as he moves so much and talks in his sleep I know he'd roll out of a proper bed or just get out!

unintentionalthreadkiller Wed 02-Apr-14 12:56:36

is the cot in your room or his own room? If I was you I would put him in his own room and start with some kind of gradual retreat - it will be horrendous for a few nights but I think you'll need to go through it to come out the other side if you know what I mean?

We went through a stage with DTs where we had to sit with them for hours while they went off and when they invariably woke in the night we took it in turns to sleep on the floor of their room and creep back out. Took a while but we got there in the end.

smee Wed 02-Apr-14 13:04:20

My DS was v.similar and I ended up in despair putting a camping mattress on the floor by his bed. Everybody told me I was mad, but it was the only thing that worked. I told him if he was good and lay still I'd stay, but if he messed around I'd go. I think it worked because he relaxed, so if he woke he went back to sleep quicker. That changed his sleep cycle as he started sleeping more soundly. It took a few months, but he woke less often progressively and after a while I was back in my own bed and getting a full night of sleep. I think mine was about 2.5 when I did it. Might be worth a try if you're desperate!

smee Wed 02-Apr-14 13:05:08

Have just spotted your DS isn't 2 yet so might be too young to negotiate with! Still think it's worth a go.. Good luck!

yougotafastcar Wed 02-Apr-14 13:29:13

thanks so muh for replying, I am desperate!
He is in his own room, he usually goes to sleep in his cot and when he wakes in the night I bring him in to our bed.

He is quite hard to negotiate with (can't wait til he's a bit older!) but am willing to try anything. was thinking of putting a comfortable chair that I could close my eyes in next to his cot and sit there but not holding his hand. then gradually moving it away when he learns to settle. similar to what you are suggesting?

just wish he wasn't so stubborn, I end up so tired and crying myself so I give in!

SizzlesSit Wed 02-Apr-14 13:39:30

DS is 2.6 and still not sleeping through but had greatly improved. He is very restless so we've put him in a normal single bed, up against a wall, headboard at both ends and a barrier. It means he can move a lot more without banging into bars and waking up.

I sit with him singing and MNing on my phone to get him to sleep. Sometimes he asks to hold my hand. I've tried gradual withdrawal but he just gets very distressed. He goes to sleep quickly if Im there and is sleeping better. We limit his nap to one hour 30 and have pushed it earlier.

I still get up once or twice a night but he falls asleep a lot quicker cos he knows ill sit with him until he goes to sleep (usually 2-5 mins)

Im not trying gradual withdrawal again yet cos DS2 is due in 5 weeks and I prefer these interruptions to hours if distressed crying!

Mummyto3tobe Wed 02-Apr-14 14:28:30

i totally know where you're coming from, my first didnt sleep through properly until he was 2 - his problem was waking up for his dummy.

there is no way around it bar being cruel to be kind. you need to stop bringing him into your bed straight away. as someone else said it is going to be pretty horrendous for probably the first few nights to a week but if you stick to it and dont give in at all then it will totally pay off and he will be much happier too once he is settled in his own bed and sleeping through the night.
Once you give in and bring him into your bed you will be going right back to square one so just be strong and assertive. it will probably mean him crying for hours for the first few nights after waking, just keep going in every few minutes to remind him you are there and that he should go back to sleep. the second night the time it takes to get him back off will probably half and then it will get less and less each night until he doesnt wake anymore.

It will be hard work but if you really want to fix it then this will definately work. Good luck!!

Lvmy2girls Wed 02-Apr-14 15:06:34

I agree with mummyto3obe he will cry and scream for first few nights but just stay strong it will be worth it.

I wouldn't worry about the neighbours to much its only a few nights plus if they have older kids they have been there and know what it's like .

The best way for my dd1 was the first 3 night bath,story in there own bed kisses and cuddles then tuck her in. If she got out I would just say come on bedtime now put her back.

If she got out after that I wouldn't say anything just kept putting her back after 3 days she was totally fine and know there's no fussing when it's bedtime she gets in bed her self .

Good luck and stay strong it's all worth it smile

yougotafastcar Wed 02-Apr-14 17:06:20

so you wouldn't all hate me if I was your neighbour?! I will apologise if I see them if the screaming is awful.
The annoying part is that he goes to sleep perfectly for my mum!

thanks for all your advice, looks like I'm just gonna have to suck it up and get on with it! I know it'll be worth it in the end, and benefit us both.

out of interest, how long do your dc of a similar age nap for?

PansOnFire Wed 02-Apr-14 20:20:14

Agree with the others, it will pay off in the end but will be difficult to do. Maybe you could speak to your neighbour if, after 2 nights, the noise is bad? Don't bring it up straight away though as it might be initiating a problem that will just go away, hopefully they will understand. Perhaps wait until the schools break up, that way lost sleep isn't such a problem.

Lvmy2girls Thu 03-Apr-14 03:19:38

My dd1 is 22 months and has Round a hour nap in the after noon if it goes for over a hour an half I tend to wake her..

smee Thu 03-Apr-14 09:27:00

yougota, only you can know if your neighbours will hate you. grin If you go for it, could you maybe drop a note through their door in advance? I'd bet they'll be sympathetic - if they're parents especially.

Having said that I think it's worth saying this in case it might help, but for some kids what the others are suggesting just isn't right. The key is obviously to try and change their sleep pattern, but letting them scream and be stressed can just make things a whole lot worse. You know your son best, so what do you think.

Just on your question re: the chair, yes we did that too for a while, but you can't really sleep in a chair so that's why I went for the bed on the floor. Other radical thought, but if you think he'd like a 'big-boy bed' use that as bargaining. So either say, well if you stay quiet and are good you're showing me you're ready, or go the whole hog and get him the bed, get rid of the cot, put a bed on the floor for you, but do as I suggested above so refuse to stay unless he's quiet, lying down, etc. Sounds mad, but it might just work..!

Other thing we did was to use audio books as a bribe. Have you tried that? So if he's good and quiet he gets an audio book, if not you he doesn't. He might not be big enough for that, but it's a good one to move onto.

Really hope something works soon. I will never forget how exhausting it all was.

ResponsibleAdult Thu 03-Apr-14 09:39:51

We had this, we went through a phase where DD wouldn't settle she was about 2 and a bit, say 26mths. Our previous routine of bath, bed, story, kiss, walk out of the room failed to work.

Coming into our bed would never work, husband has long hours and late shifts sometimes. I resorted to lying down on the floor and holding her hand until she or more likely I nodded off. When she finally nodded off or I woke up stiff as a board and cold I could walk out of the room. It took nearly 8 weeks, and it was hard work.

Some years later I heard a radio programme which stated that around the 2yr stage a babies brain chemistry changes, ie there are physical changes that change their sleep patterns, some adapt easily, others don't. Programme also said it is a phase, and it will pass. Don't worry, you will get through it, but remain consistent, and the promise of big boy bed could work as a bargaining tool. HTH

yougotafastcar Thu 03-Apr-14 10:59:31

had a really long post written and it went missing angry

sorry can't remember who said what and I'm on my phone.

holding hands is what we are doing now, but just seems to be getting worse. He won't let dp put him to bed if he knows I am in the house. If I'm out and not around for bed time, he's fine. (until he wakes up at silly o'clock)

audio books aare a really good idea, hadn't thought of that. I have been leaving if he won't lay quietly but he can lay quietly for a good hour! audio books might give him something to focus on. If he doesn't lay quietly I'll switch it off until he does. dream lite pet pillows have also been recommended, not sure how great they are.

not sure he would quite understand how a big bed is a big deal yet, so may save that for when I've only had a hours sleep! grin

think I will put all this in to place at the weekend, the dp can give me a lay in! neighbours kids break up tomorrow so won't be disturbing any school days. They have 3 kids, roughly 5, 6 and 6 months. We sometimes hear the baby crying in the evening but only barely and never wakes us so I'm hoping they won't hear enough to be woken! I won't say anything yet but if it is awful I will send a note/my apologies when I see them.

off to buy some audio books.... smile

Lvmy2girls Thu 03-Apr-14 13:18:42

Good luck stick to it you will be sleeping in no time smile

yougotafastcar Sun 06-Apr-14 10:16:20

just a quick update after our first night, I sat by the cot at bedtime and didn't hold hands, he asked a few times but I just said shh. He stayed quietly laying down but took ages to fall asleep!
He woke at about 4:20 am I went in and he said "out bed" so I said no stay here and mummy will hold your hand. He screamed twice but no tears and took 10 mins for him to be asleep! He woke up 7am. I am over the moon! although it was probably a fluke but we shall see tonight. Thanks for all your advice & encouragement thanks

ResponsibleAdult Mon 07-Apr-14 08:45:46

Well done, stay consistent. He will have good nights, then regress for a few, then get back on track. All completely normal.

The brain chemistry thing I heard about gives them vivid dreams, and that is why they are unsettled. It is a phase. Stick with it, it will pay off.

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