2 year old sleep issues

(3 Posts)
Elvander Mon 28-Nov-16 09:44:05

Dd is 2 and has always been a terrible sleeper. The nature of her sleep issues changes from time to time which makes it hard to identify the best course of action to deal with it. Things had been getting slightly better, but suddenly she has decided that she can't go to sleep unless someone (usually me) stays in the room with her. It can take up to an hour for her to fall asleep, and then she's usually up 3 or 4 times a night and again wants me there until she falls asleep. It takes maybe 10 minutes each time so not as bad as when she first goes to bed, but it still very disruptive to my own sleep.

DH works shifts so I'm often dealing with this on my own, and I also work 4 days a week so I never get a chance to rest. I'm absolutely exhausted and can feel myself slipping back towards a bad place (had PND). Is this likely to just be a phase that I need to ride out (somehow...)? I find it really hard to leave her to cry, but I'm wondering if I might need to consider this to get us back into a better sleeping situation? Any advice would be much appreciated - after 2 years of sleep deprivation I think I've lost the ability to think clearly and sensibly about this.

FATEdestiny Mon 28-Nov-16 11:19:54

You don't have to go the crying route to sort it. Although at aged 2 you could if it's your preference. Just make sure she had access to independant comfort (dummy, snuggle toy, blanket) at all times.

The other option would be gradual withdrawal.

I suspect that the reason it's taking an hour to go to sleep is trust. She needs to trust that you will stay until she is asleep and that you'll give her as much attentive compassion as she needs.

3 basic stages to gradual withdrawal:

Establishing trust
Don't try and seek out early. Stay until asleep. Be attentive. Give active reassurance and lots of care, eye contact, time and patience.

Reduce reliance on reassurance
Over time you work in reducing the amount of your attention she needs to go to sleep. Small changes don't gradually with the end-point aim being you just needing to stay nearbnearby until she is asleep. Trust you will stay until asleep is still needed.

Reduce reliance on your presence and replace with independant comfort
Now you start the process of tiny changes until you are further away from the bed. Then by the doorway. Then pop in and out.

Ensure she develops a bond to alternate comfort methods throughout this whole process. Be it a snuggle toy or ensuring she can always get her own dummy.

Elvander Mon 28-Nov-16 12:16:02

Thanks FATEdensity - I think I'll give the gradual retreat approach a go before I resort to leaving her to cry. Dd has a soft toy that she takes to bed - she's always been good at going to sleep at night since she discovered it (the fun always starts later in the night!) so the current situation has come as a bit of a surprise. I guess there are lots of developmental changes going on for her and I want her to feel comforted and supported, but oh my goodness it's soooo hard to cope without a decent sleep!

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