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Do you stay with your toddler until they fall asleep?

(82 Posts)
Sprite21 Sat 26-Jan-13 20:20:44

DD is 16 months old. After her bedtime routine I put her down in her cot and she insists on me holding her hand until she falls asleep. I don't mind usually as I just read mumsnet posts on my phone. But sometimes it takes a while and DP gets frustrated because dinner is ready. He thinks maybe we should just leave her to cry because other babies seem to just go down.
I just wondered what other people do? Am looking teaching her that she needs me to fall asleep? She sleeps through most nights now so I can't complain there.

hazeyjane Thu 31-Jan-13 09:14:37

Our dcs have always settled to sleep with one of us there.

It isn't that they rule the household, it is just part of the bedtime routine, and we are all happy with the way it works.

I don't get the, not being possible with children close in age, or more than one dc, our dcs are 6, 5 and 2.7 and they all go to sleep, with one of us there. Including bath and story, bedtime takes about an hour, a little bit logen for ds (2.6), but he has sn, and has a different routine to the girls and takes a little longer to settle.

There was a time when the dds were about 2 and 1 and we had just moved house and they were very unsettled, and would take forever to go to sleep, with us there, and we tried different ways to get them to settle, but nothing seemed to work. I remember reading the No Cry Sleep Solution, and it made me feel much better about working out a solution that suited everyone, whether that is co sleeping or whatever works. We sat and rejigged the bedroom layout, worked out a new bedtime routine, started it much earlier in the evening, and accepted that they settled better with one of us there, and it has been fine ever since.

(Now if I could just get ds to wake up later than 4.30am life would be sweet!)

gourd Thu 31-Jan-13 09:04:56

No. We never did it. I read something that basically said do whatever works for you - BUT choose something that you would be prepared to have to do for a VERY LONG TIME. Therefore we decided to never do this in case we haev to do it for months and months or years. Instead we'd pop our heads round the door every so often and reassure her (less and less frequestly as she began to drift off) till she realised that just because she couldnt see us didn't mean we weren't tere and also that we were not going to play with her or get her out of bed as it was bedtime. This seemed to work for us. We've only had two-three nights at a time on about three accaisions in her liife after 6 weeks old, where she woudlnt settle straight away or woke in the night distressed. Mostly she's been going to bed at bedtime and staying there quite happily till morning. She does wake in the night sometimes - and we hear her growling (like a bear) and playing and laughing to herself in bed - she doesn't get out of bed in the niught though. Her room is dark and she doesnt have a night light or anything (doesnt seem to need one), which may be part of the reason that she stays in bed. She's nearly 2 and a half now. I think you just ahve to do soekthign that helps them seltte but which you feel you can sustain for a prolonged period should the need arise (hopefully it wont). We also felt that going into her room and messing about/talking to her too much etc woud actually wake her up and distract her from sleep, disturbing her further, and we felt the smallest intervention possible was better, so we did just the minimum that seemed to work and left it at that. At first we did to go into the room and go up to the cot but gradually we started just popping our head round the door and saying "Shh, time to sleep now" or something like that and this also worked -we realised this was better.

5madthings Thu 31-Jan-13 08:54:02

Some babies and toddlers need this extra reassurance and some dont.

Ds1 needed it.

Ds2 needed it.

Ds3 needed it.

Ds4 sucked his thumb and self soothed from an early age.

Dd is 25mths and varies some nights she needs me to stay with her, others not.

I dont see it as a hardship as they are only little once and they grow out if it.

My dp is regularly not here at bedtime as his shifts include nights, evenings and even.if he is on an am shift he often has to stay late. I evolved various techniques to.make it easier, i tended to.put older toddler down.first and keep.the baby with me in the evening, i would feed the baby whilst settling toddler if i.had to.or put a swing or wore a sling or for ds2 and ds3 i tandem.fed for a while so woukd lie in ds2's bed and feed both to sleep and then transfer ds3 to my.bed.

We have always co-slept and they have each gone happily into.their own.bed at 2-3yrs old. we have always still had a set bedtime routine and got them down by 7:30 -8pm etc so.had an evening once they were asleep. We eat dinner at 6pm.

Dp and i jusy never wanted to leave them to cry so didnt, we would stay or sit by the door or potter doing stuff or go in and oyf or i would feed or lay down etc it depended on the child and what their needs were.

At 13, 10, 8 and 4 the elder boys all sleep fine and are very independent etc. The elder three go to bed on their own yho ds3 will still have a story and ds4 will gave cuddles and story in.bed.

I dont think its pandering or letting them rule the household, some children need it, others dont and i would rather help mine learn to sleep gently without leaving them to cry etc.

gillian88 Thu 31-Jan-13 08:34:22

I stay with my 2.8 yr old until he falls asleep! Doesn't bother me, he's only young and it's not like he's still going to want me to do it when he is 16!! so I'm enjoying the closeness while I can, cos they grow up and become independent wayyyyy to quickly!!

Lostonthemoors Thu 31-Jan-13 08:22:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

abbyfromoz Wed 30-Jan-13 23:18:47

Nope. DD is 21 months now and we used to rock her to sleep or pat her on the back but decided to stop that quite early on so it wouldn't become a habit. She has a 'nigh nigh' (pacifier) and her 'gogo' (a comforter) and a bottle. It works well but i have no idea what we will do when we stop that routine!! :-(

AngelDog Wed 30-Jan-13 19:36:04

noble, I agree - I remember friends parading DS round on their shoulder and saying, "When I do this, they always fall asleep." I was shock confused as DS had never, ever, ever just nodded off like that (or by any other means either).

It was a full time job getting him to sleep at all for the first 4 months, let alone trying to (a) put him down and (b) get him to go to sleep without being violently jiggled / bounced in the sling.

Although I do sit with him at bedtime, he's asleep in 5-10 mins so I don't mind.

noblegiraffe Wed 30-Jan-13 18:04:51

I reckon you didn't let your baby self settle, you had a baby who self-settled.

I remember looking around at my post-natal group as babies nodded off in their mothers' arms. I had no idea it was even possible as my baby only got angrier and angrier the more tired he got and he had to be forced to sleep via violent rocking. Absolutely no sodding chance of self settling, and it was a good few weeks of misery before I realised that some tired babies will not simply just fall asleep.

Ragwort Wed 30-Jan-13 17:52:59

I never did either, I let my DS self-settle from the day we got home from hospital blush - clearly I wasn't a Mumsnetter then as it never occured to me to sit with him whilst he went to sleep grin - perhaps I was just very, very lucky - he's always been a great sleeper smile.

I think it would be quite hard to now give up sitting with your child as they have clearly got used to it.

CointreauVersial Wed 30-Jan-13 17:48:52


Before I had children I observed my SIL spending two hours of every evening settling her DS and I vowed I wouldn't allow that habit to develop if I could possibly help it.

So all three of my DCs have self-settled since they were a few weeks old, and I have never had to stay with them, with the exception of illness, or when DS had a spate of night terrors.

It may work for some of you, but not for me. See also co-sleeping.wink

duchesse Tue 29-Jan-13 21:57:27

Depends on the child. I've had four (toddlers) and they've all been vastly different, ranging from definitely needing to be held (DS) to actually needing to be put down (DD1) to go sleep. DD3 (now 3 yo) can be left in her bed awake and she will go to sleep in a few minutes. DS would have screamed for 3 hours if we'd left him alone in his room we tried it for a few weeks, poor child. They always always had stories at bedtime though.

I think you have to do whatever works for your child.

lizandlulu Tue 29-Jan-13 21:42:38

Yes ith dd1. She used to have to hold my arm till she fell asleep, she has a cabin bed so I used to stand there for upto an hour. I didn't mind too much until dd2 came along. With very little help from dH, I found it impossible to be in two places at the same time, so things had to come to a head. She was 6 when I finally had to stop it, but I think she was old enough to understand I physically couldn't stand there for that time.
I wish I had sorted it sooner

1500mmania Tue 29-Jan-13 21:33:01

No it would drive me crazy! BF DS before bed put him in cot and then he would go to sleep. at 6 months he had a few nights of being unsettled, left him to cry and it was sorted in 3 nights. Now stopped BF and so it is milk in cup, 3 books then in the cot & leave the room. never any crying. I'm happy, DS is happy - no qualms that we did the right thing teaching him to self settle.

Maybe it's not for everyone but I hate all the comments putting down sleep training methods. Different parents do different things and teaching baby to self settle is not bad thing to do

sweetaddict Tue 29-Jan-13 21:03:27

That's what I would have said three weeks ago, yet now I find I will do anything that gets her to sleep so I can have some semblance of an evening. And yes we do bath, story, bed, same time etc etc...

SweetPea99 Tue 29-Jan-13 19:32:11

Going to sleep is a skill that needs to be taught to children, so you can choose to do it however you want. As someone else said, you teach them to self-settle for their lunch time nap, and then it becomes easier at night. In fact, my DS2 (16 months) goes to bedmore easily in the evening because he has an established routine - bath, milk, story, toy with lights and music. Is staying with them in their room for an hour every night teaching them to settle themselves? I'm not sure... Of course, if you don't mind, then it doesn't matter - until number 2 or 3 comes along, or until your partner isn't there to help at bedtime ( I have always done bedtime alone, so had to get the children to settle themselves, or I would have gone mad!).

LilyAmaryllis Mon 28-Jan-13 22:38:36

We were wimps and stayed with our DCs while they fell asleep. It did drive me mad though. We got round the dinner thing by eating earlier, with the children. Then took turns so while it annoyed me one night at least you'd know you had the evening off the next night!...

Youngest is 4 and now we leave him to go to sleep. 4! all those wasted years!

BUT also I would not have enjoyed hearing lots of screaming and crying.

silver28 Mon 28-Jan-13 22:34:21

I used to sit with DS, sometimes for up to an hour. One night when he was 2.5 I decided to try leaving him. He did cry while i sat on the landing and went back every few mins cos he got out of bed a few times. But after 15 mins he fell asleep, so it hadn't been too bad. The next night I was prepared for the tears to start but be just said 'night night mummy' and snuggled down to sleep. He's 4.9 now and has been brilliant at going to bed just about every night since then (lucky though, I know, but it can work like that).

Zappo Mon 28-Jan-13 22:29:53

"Can I ask people how you sit with a child if you have another to put to bed afterwards? What if they take ages, does the older just wait? "

Am lucky in that DH is normally around to help me at bedtime and although I do both bedtimes at the moment (as both ask for meat bedtime), he can entertain the younger while I put the eldest to bed first. Eldest is usually the more tired of the two as just started school.

I dislike doing bedtime on my own as DD2 (2) will jump around and run up and down when I'm trying to have some quiet time/ read with DD1.

Frequently our story is disrupted so I read as quickly as I can and then switch off the light and say "I will just get DD2 to sleep and check on you afterwards. I wonder who will fall asleep first." I then take DD" off to bed.

DD1 is ok with this as shortly after DD2 was born I stopped waiting with DD1 until she was asleep (she was always resisting sleep to stop me leaving). Once I started telling her to try to go to sleep and that I would check on her in 5 minutes she started to relax (as she knew I would come back) and would be asleep in a few minutes.

MooMooSkit Mon 28-Jan-13 22:29:48

No I never and don't stay with him. He has a little whine for about 5 mins then drops off anyway. If i've ever tried to stay with him till he falls asleep if he has been upset he just gets hyper that i'm in there and starts wanting to play and sing songs with me.

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 28-Jan-13 22:25:28

No, but my DC were good at self settling and so didn't cry or need us to stay. Once in beds they would come downstairs but we solved that by sitting outside their rooms with wine and the computer until they learned we would be there until they went to sleep i.e. would put them back in bed as fast as they got out. Now DC aged 3 and 7 go to bed and play/sing themselves to sleep

ceeveebee Mon 28-Jan-13 22:20:30

My Dsis used to sit with DC1 and BIL with DC2. Total madness

I suspect in most cases, once DC2 comes along then DC1 has to learn to fall asleep alone. But maybe I'm wrong

rrreow Mon 28-Jan-13 22:17:59

We started off like that (around 12m - before that we co-slept and he'd go down when we went to bed) and gradually stopped doing it. Thing is, staying with him started taking longer and longer because he was too stimulated by us being there, so at a certain point we started withdrawing more. Leaving the room and coming back etc if he cried. It was over the course of about 2 months I think to get it completely reliable where we could just do bedtime routine and then leave the room (apart from when poorly).

Since yesterday we have moved DS into his own room though, so to help him transition we're staying with him until he's asleep (currently sitting down just inside the door, tomorrow will probably sit outside the door).

sweetaddict Mon 28-Jan-13 21:50:05

Can I ask people how you sit with a child if you have another to put to bed afterwards? What if they take ages, does the older just wait?

explosioninatoyshop Mon 28-Jan-13 11:58:08

We did until DS was 13 months, it often took him 30 - 40 mins to go off, and he'd wake up several times in the night. Then I went back to work and I wanted a bit more of an evening with DH, and wanted DS to sleep better at night. We did gradual withdrawal - shortened settling down routine, then started leaving the room before he was asleep and only very brief visits if he woke up in the night. Once I got to the leaving the room stage he did cry in protest for about 20 mins the first night and 15 mins the second night, then got over it and has been fine since. He now settles himself down fine and sleeps through (mostly!), it's so much better for us all. I think what's most important is to figure out what works for your family, and do it! Don't worry about what other people do - that way madness lies grin

NeverStops Mon 28-Jan-13 09:49:14

I have an 18 month old DS and after his bath at 7.15pm has his milk and a story and then goes straight into his cot and after kisses and a tucking in rhyme we leave the room. we started this at 8 months old and he was reluctant at first, crying for attention and head banging, but after a week of doing the same routine he soon realised it wasn't going to get him the attention. Now 10 months on if he isn't tired when it is bedtime he plays with his cuddly toy until he goes to sleep... sometimes it 5 minutes sometimes it can be an hour, but he doesn't kick up a fuss and isn't stressed about bedtime.

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