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how to handle crying before bed/early morning from 2 year old

(4 Posts)

DS is 2.3 and has been sleeping in his own room for about 6 weeks. Before we moved him we had got to the point we could say goodnight and he'd fall asleep with no problem. he always seems to do a poo somewhere between 5.30 & 6.30am but has always been happy to go back in his cot and chat or sing to himself or read or play until his gro-clock changed to yellow at 7. suddenly now for around 2 weeks he has been getting really tearful and wailing after we leave at night and after we've changed his nappy and put him back to bed in the morning.

i think he probably just realises life goes on when he is not there and he wants to be involved but the reason we put him in his own room was because 1) he seemed ready for it and very happy and 2) he was waking DD (6.5m) up early every day either just chatting or screaming.

I do appreciate that separation anxiety peaks at different ages, fears increase with imagination and having a new sibling sometimes means a regression as it is such a huge change..but I'm always concerned with how behaviour/reaction effects the future (rod for back/habit) and I also don't want to reinforce early waking by responding too much to it or 'give in' to delay tactics when he's actually tired. Trouble is he's often grumpy and whingy/clumsy during the day and I'm not sure if it's tiredness from early waking or just terrible twos (from an extremely high needs toddler)

So at the moment I'm going in a couple of times to reassure and give cuddles but insist he goes to sleep alone (as he has managed this for at least 4 months previous) and stays in bed until we get up with him at 7. But my fear is that if he keeps getting upset we will start having problems during the night as well..something we've been lucky enough to escape so far because he's always been Hell with sleep during the day instead

He naps at 1 for 1-2 hours and goes to bed at 7.30 (clearly tired before this but cannot practically put him into bed any earlier than 7.15) - he used to fall asleep after some chatting and singing to himself in 10 minutes..it is now closer to 30 with a lot of crying/reassurance/"come on it is time to sleep now I'll be down the hall". He is up consistantly between 6 & 6.30 - hard to tell if he's well rested because he's always whingy and screamy when something doesn't go right..obviously, he's 2

I would like to try black out blinds as well as curtains just in case it's the light waking him up, although before the clocks went back he was waking early when it was dark so perhaps he has just had enough sleep. If we didn't have DD I would probably let him get up earlier but he whinges and nags for us to get up and inevitably wakes her by screaming, that's the main reason I wanted him in his own room. I'm not bothered if he's awake early, I just want him to go back to playing quietly until we get up with him so he doesn't wake the whole neighbourhood household up with his screaming and obviously I want him to feel secure and happy in his own bed - he was, I can't work out what's changed.

we did have a small fire about 2 weeks ago where we rushed out and had to wait in the street while the firemen made things safe..I can't work out if the change happened after this or shortly before but he was pretty shaken up and we have explained things and discussed it a few times just in case.

I just want my little boy to be happy without making us tired and grumpy, these early mornings are killing me and if I go to bed much earlier I won't get any time with DH and I already feel like our relationship has taken a back seat lately. if anyone has any pearls of wisdom of how to handle it without being too strict or too soft I'd greatly appreciate it

LittleMissLucy Sun 05-May-13 01:06:50

My suggestions are
1. If he doesn't have a designated bed toy / transitional object like a teddy or something, make sure he has one with him to cuddle and suggest he cuddles it as he goes to sleep. We had to say stuff like "oh look Teddy is feeling really tired I think he needs a cuddle from you to get to sleep..."
2. Cut down or out the day time nap if possible.
3. Consider letting him get into bed with you in the morning for a cuddle / final hour. This was what we were driven to in a desperate tired state. It stopped when our DCs were more interested in going "downstairs".

Thank you for the suggestions but I'm not sure any will work :-(

1) yes he has a designated bed toy which he always cuddles at nap and bedtime (and about another 5 he likes to have in the cot as well) - I have tried this but he just says he doesn't want to go back to sleep. I'm not bothered if he does or not to be honest, it's just the screaming that's bothering me.
2) What would be the reason for cutting the nap short/out? so he's tired enough to sleep longer at night? His behaviour becomes intolerable (whinging, crying over everything, falling over and into things, getting increasingly manic and uncontrollable) the longer he's awake so I won't be cutting it out for some time I hope..on the days he wakes after 40 mins or so he's obviously knackered and incredibly grumpy and tempramental for the rest of the day so I'm reluctant to cut it short either.
3) We've tried that too but we co-sleep with DD and she sleeps much later given the chance, he wakes her up and that stresses me out because she needs a nap earlier and the whole day is thrown out

I'm sorry I sound so negative but I feel like we've tried everything (I suppose we could experiment with a much later or earlier bedtime though) thanks so much for taking the time to reply though :-)

CreatureRetorts Sun 05-May-13 09:33:35

Stop worrying about rods and backs etc. He needs you a bit more so give him a bit more of you.

Get blackout blinds!! We've doubled ours up.

Also why can you put him to bed earlier?

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