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Bedtime and nap time a nightmare - 2 1/2 yo toddler

(11 Posts)
Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 05-Mar-14 22:34:11

Hi, we have a toddler DD and just lately, both bedtime and nap time are a nightmare. Once in bed, she will sleep through the night or for a good 1 1/2 - 2 hours in the afternoon, but actually getting her to stay in bed in the first place is horrendous.

We feel like we have tried everything - nice chats, explaining that she needs sleep to have energy to play, rewards, eg a new book at the weekend if she goes to bed properly etc. She has been in a bed since she was 21 months as she worked out how to climb out of her cot and can open her bedroom door, so save holding it shut, we can't actually confine her to her room if that makes sense (and wouldn't want to 'lock' her in anyway).

We have a bedtime routine of bath, PJs, teeth, story etc and this hasn't changed. It's just so totally frustrating when we end the day with everyone fraught and annoyed at her (and us) running up and downstairs for an hour. Similarly, afternoon nap slipping later and later means by the time she does wake, it's almost dinner time and time for going to the park or wherever isn't there. I absolutely struggle with this myself too as I feel that we're stuck in the house from lunchtime.

Any tips or advice? If she doesn't have an afternoon nap, she's grouchy and cranky by evening, really tearful and so on, so I don't think she's ready to drop this sleep yet. She goes to nursery 9-12 most mornings and is tired on the walk home.

TIA

JuniperTisane Wed 05-Mar-14 22:39:37

This is a crappy period when they want more sleep in the day than they really need. I would drastically shorten the nap to no longer than an hour and no later than about 4 hours before bedtime. Thats how we got bedtime back on track here.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 05-Mar-14 22:50:17

Thanks Juniper. I can try shortening the nap as I have wondered at times if she still really needs it - a shorter one might be a good step on the way to phasing them out completely. That way she'll probably be tired enough to stay in bed in the evening, but how do I get her to stay in bed to nap? This afternoon I tried between 13:45 and 15:00 and then gave up (I have a baby as well and he was screaming by this point). She's asleep now, which will totally mess up bedtime (not in the UK, so now 5:45pm). I know I should wake her but I'm at the end of my tether and just want 5 mins of peace...

gracegrape Wed 05-Mar-14 22:53:57

I would say she's probably ready to give up her nap. My DD dropped her afternoon nap at just turned two and this was followed by a good few weeks of me trying to persuade her to keep it up (so I could have a lie down while pregnant!). She refused to stay in her bed. It might be best to try dropping the nap, or not having it every day, and making bedtime a bit earlier.

ShoeWhore Wed 05-Mar-14 22:59:00

Can she climb out of a travel cot? Mesh sides are usually much harder to climb up. That would be one option. (You could maybe offer her the bed but say if she gets up she has one more chance to stay in the bed otherwise it's the travel cot)

Or you could put a stair gate over the bedroom door.

Or you could brazen it out and drop the nap.

JuniperTisane Wed 05-Mar-14 23:00:28

Once ds1 moved to a bed at 2.4 he never once napped there. Flat refusal. I got round it by drving lots,he would always crash early afternoon in the car. There were many manic no-sleep days at first though. After a while we got him to doze on the sofa while ds2 slept and he naturally got to the point hes at now age 3.6 which is where he naps there twice a week after nursery for half an hour while a dvd is on otherwise he go3a through til bedtime fine.

I miss my quiet time though.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 05-Mar-14 23:05:52

Travel cot - I don't know? I could try? I think she'd find a way over a stair gate - she's like Houdini! She will def sleep in the car but then I can't get anything done... Thanks for all the ideas. Think I'll try a shorter nap from tomorrow.

Theyaremysunshine Wed 05-Mar-14 23:07:28

When DS went through this phase we would use a trip in the car to encourage an early nap. We'd drive somewhere after lunch for an afternoon out, then wake him when we got there. Would she sleep in a double buggy after pick up from nursery if you went for a good walk? We found 30 mins sleep was enough to tide him through.

For the night time, unless she's frightened when she's coming down, I'd put a stair gate across her door. She'll still be able to shout for you and won't be "locked in" but won't be able to come out. When she shouts, either leave her, or do rapid return with no talking. Sleep fairies leave present under pillow if she goes to sleep nicely (chocolate coins great for this).

Also, my DS feels much more secure in bed when the duvet is tucked in tightly. We put it horizontally so it tucks in well. Means it doesn't reach the end of the bed but he's only little.

LadyMetroland Wed 05-Mar-14 23:09:18

I'd drop the nap and bring bedtime forward. Give her quiet time with books or dvd after lunch. On days where she's really pooped take her out in the car or pushchair for a 15min power nap. Put stairgate over her doorway and after warning her, close it and don't go back in. She'll soon get it.

Theyaremysunshine Wed 05-Mar-14 23:09:57

Or sometimes I'd just stick him in the car till asleep and then transfer to the sofa when home, which lets you get a few things done.

Tbh I'd drive and accept that nap time when you could get things done is sadly a thing of the past. I miss nap time too.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 05-Mar-14 23:18:14

Thanks again. In some ways, it would actually be easier if she didn't have nap time as lots of afternoon activities seem to be from 3:30pm, which we invariably miss due to nap. Am going to try the one hour approach first and then go for no nap if this doesn't work.

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