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3.5yo DD won't go to sleep alone at bedtime, wakes multiple times in the night - HELP, really can't cope!!

(5 Posts)
perrinelli Fri 26-Aug-11 08:40:30

Sorry to sound overdramatic but actually feel at the end of my tether.

DD1 is 3.5yo and was great at going to bed and sleeping through as a baby and toddler then it seemed to all go wrong when she went in her own bed and just got generally more tricky.

She sleeps in a double bed because she sort of commandeered the spare room and for a while seemed to sleep much better there so now it's properly her room. Probably the root of the problem as with the double bed it was all too easy to get in the habit of lying down next to her.

She will now not calm down and go to sleep unless one of us is there until she is fast asleep. Trying to leave while she is sleepy but still awake results in her getting up, getting all worked up again then being unable to calm down. She gets very hyper at bedtime so we start the bedtime routine in good time with a bath, I make sure she stays calm, concentrates on the (3!) stories etc. Doing that and staying with her til she sleeps is the fastest way to get her off but it still takes some time and on a good night she isn't asleep until 2030.

Although this is pretty draining as she won't lie quietly voluntarily even if we are there but needs lots of ultimatums like 'if you don't stop talking and close your eyes I'm going downstairs..' I could sort of cope with it, but then of course when she comes into a light sleep in the night she wonders where we have gone and calls out. Again if we go in, she doesn't just need reassurance and quick back to sleep, its a case of lying down again, 'helping' her to calm down, having to be v firm etc. Then it can happen another 2-3 x so sometimes one of us just ends up sleeping there which is crap.

One of the main reasons this is pushing me to breaking point now, apart from feeling this is our fault and a complete failure as a mother, is that there is also DD2 who is 8 weeks old. Thankfully pretty good at night currently but obviously with a little one you could do without being up for a couple of hours with a 3 year old. Evenings are also really hard as the baby hasn't quite got the hang of going to bed and has very unsettled evenings so really until DH comes home I'm pretty stuck as I can't deal with both girls at once very easily.

Last night was absolutely hideous. DD1 didn't get off to sleep until 2115 and the baby DD2 was grizzly all evening and didn't finally go into a deep sleep until 2230. I had started the baby's bedtime routine at 1715 so that was a pretty long stretch of hideousness. In the night DD1 woke and I went into her but she didn't settle down to get to sleep again and was whining and I totally lost my temper (which obviously just made her cry more). In the end DH went into her but she took ages to calm down.

Can anyone help me with this? I just don't know what to do. How do I teach her to relax and get to sleep alone? If I try a tough supernanny type approach, she will react very badly at least at first. Can I handle seeing it through with the baby around and the fact she'll be really tired in the day as she won't probably get to sleep til really late? Also she's about to change nurseries and start at the school nursery so isn't it mean to enforce something like this when there is a big change coming up she might be anxious about?

Arrghhh! Sorry for the long post, any support very gratefully received.

iskra Fri 26-Aug-11 09:09:04

DD has done this occasionally. What works with her is the tough approach, coming back every 2 minutes etc. Not sure about a more gentle approach. There is the No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers which might have some ideas.

Sounds like you need to intervene frankly, even with nursery coming up. Hope someone comes along with some ideas!

perrinelli Fri 26-Aug-11 12:45:29

Thankyou for responding. Maybe I do just need to commit to the tough approach.

I wondered about introducing a story CD at bedtime to help her lie still relax and drop off but wonder if it could be a bad idea and just exchanging one sleep association for another. Anyone got experience of using CDs?

perrinelli Fri 26-Aug-11 22:04:55

Can anyone offer any further help or advice?

kendalmintcake Fri 26-Aug-11 22:32:54

Hi, can you get her a child's bed, new start for her and it means you can't sleep with her -and she knows you can't!
(Don't sleep on the floor though)

I know my son needed me lots at night and I had to sit and hold his hand whilst he fell asleep (and when he woke in the night)

it took 4 weeks but now I read him his stories, give him a kiss and leave... and he falls asleep himself (amazing!)

I did it by sitting with him, and slowly stopping the hand holding, then when he was calm saying I was going to make a cup of tea and popping out... but coming back if he cried. and slowly he got use to it and now is where he is 4 weeks later.

good luck, I know how bad a lack of sleep is and how frustrating it is.

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