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2 year old won't settle to sleep anymore - help!

(7 Posts)
DoctorRobert Mon 22-Jul-13 22:39:21

Sorry in advance, this has turned out to be long.

DD is 2.4 and has become difficult at bedtime over the past couple of weeks. We put it down to the heat initially, but I'm worried now that we won't get back to where we were once the weather cools, as have formed new habits.

I BF her up until her 2nd birthday and would give her a feed before bed, which either sent her to sleep or relaxed her right down. When I stopped I thought we might have trouble at bedtime but to my delight, she was brilliant and would lie straight down, and that was it until morning - I don't know how long it took her to actually fall asleep but it was without any fuss whatsoever.

This happily went on for 3.5 months until a couple of weeks ago. She now will not lie down - she stands up and screams. The only way I can get her to fall asleep is to sit down by her cot, telling her over and over to lie down. It generally takes about half an hour. Over the past few nights, she has started asking that I stroke her hand as well.

How can I get her to go back to self-settling? I've never done CC / CIO & although in principle I think she is old enough now to leave to cry for a short while, there's no point as she just stands and screams making herself hysterical (have tried this once or twice for a few minutes.)

Is there a gentler way? Ideally I want to sort this out over the next 8 weeks - DH and I are going away for a week and she will be staying with my parents - & I would hate for them to have to sit with her for hours stroking her hand, it doesn't seem fair on them!

DoctorRobert Mon 22-Jul-13 22:41:59

Oh and forgot to mention - she doesn't nap at all in the day anymore, hasn't done since she was 18mo. So she's certainly tired by bedtime (or should be, having been up for 12ish hours!)

DoctorRobert Tue 23-Jul-13 21:02:53

Bump, any advice for me?

JacqueslePeacock Tue 23-Jul-13 22:22:07

Oh God, we've had the exact same problem with 22mo DS for the last fortnight, except that I'm still BFing. I'd love to know if there's a solution.

awwwwmannnn Wed 24-Jul-13 13:32:10

i've been having the exact same problem with DD who's 2.6 - over the last few months she's been a nightmare to settle down, and its been getting a bit worse now with the nice and everything confused

we have had a bit of a turn around in the last week or so, in that we changed our bedtime routine just a bit - her story time used to be downstairs before bath, now we have bath, into bed, me/DH laying in bed with her reading her story and then we say "night night" to the book and go to sleep - more often than not she's asleep within 5-10 minutes...yayyy!!

we still have to lay with her for her to go to sleep but tbh if it helps her fall asleep a happy contented lil girlie then i'm all for it.

i to have tried CIO to a certain degree, but just didnt have the stomach to handle it and when she got so distressed she made herself i thought enough was enough - at least this way she goes to sleep easy and happy and it takes half hour - hour of my evening and i get the rest of the evening, to clean up/do food/washing/ironing/--having a glass of wine and chilling the fudge out-- wink


capecath Wed 24-Jul-13 15:34:21

I think they do go through stages... Well that is our experience with DS1 who has been a great sleeper since CC at 10 months! He is 2.11 now and settles really easily around 7pm. We did go through a stage of not wanting to go to sleep, but stopping daytime nap sorted that... obviously not causing your problem though. I'd also recommend trying bedtime story in bed and lying down with her. Perhaps sing a song or say a prayer so that this becomes routine. Then say good night and leave. Repeat going in and insist that she lies down, say good night, etc. Just don't give in to any other requests for chat or play, other than lying down, say good night.
Hopefully routine and consistency will pay off and phase will pass!!

Lighttaperstandback Wed 24-Jul-13 22:42:55

We had the same thing at around 2ish...went from happily self-settling to screaming blue murder when we left the room. CC would have made it worse and actually caused him to vomit in his bed when we tried it.

Try gradual withdrawal. The first night, I would sit next to DS's bed until he was asleep. Next night, a bit nearer the door, next night, nearer still, until I would just be outside the door for a couple of mins. Eventually I was out of the door and gone right away. We now have to leave the door ajar with a light on outside until he's out, but generally bedtime is back to a quick kiss after his story, and night-night. It took about 2 or 3 weeks I think, with the odd regression. You have to be fairly firm about the fact you are there and they are safe (so don't let them crank up the attachment to hand stroking - add a little more distance every evening whilst reassuring them you are still there), but I think it's just a developmental phase where they get a bit more afraid of the dark etc. It will pass.

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