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Toddler bedtime - lights off, nightlight, toys in cot or not....what do you do?

(8 Posts)
BotBotticelli Mon 24-Mar-14 15:54:33

Since moving in to his own room, DS has had the same bedtime routine: 2 stories sitting on my lap in the chair, a cuddle, a drink, and then down into bed. Zipped into sleeping bag, a kiss goodnight, all lights off, door shut, I head into the kitchen and pour a glass of wine grin

From about 5mo he has always self settled quite happily: babbling or sometimes grizzling for 5 mins or so before going to sleep. never crying in distress.

Now at 15mo he has started resisting it, grabbing at my hand, crying, doesn't want me to leave the room etc. I guess this is just a phase of separation anxiety, but I am wondering whether it's partly cos I am being a bit of a meanie and turning all the lights out and leaving him in the pitch dark?? he doesn't have any toys in his cot either. He does have his numnums (dummy!) clipped onto his sleeping bag and this is his only comfort object (never shown any interest in teddies or blankies etc - have offered them and been ignored in favour of fire engines and diggers!).

Is it time to introduce a nightlight? Or some toys in the cot?? TBH i have always resisted this idea (he never even had a cot mobile as a tiny baby!) cos he is a very hyper, full-on, 'spirited' little boy who barely naps during the day and never has ANY down time. he wont even watch telly. he just runs around all day. And previously the only way to get him to sleep was to put him into complete darkness....!

Wondering what other people do with their toddlers?? I can only imagine that if I start introducing toys and a light he will just rawl around in his cot for hours refusing to go to sleep??

mumofboyo Mon 24-Mar-14 17:05:19

Dd is 18 months old and still sleeps in her cot with her comforters - no other toys. Same as you, she goes to bed, quick kiss and lights out. At the moment she goes straight to sleep most of the time.

Ds has been in his toddler bed since about 8 months - we needed the cot - and, although he has toys in his room that he can easily reach and play with, has no tots on his bed. He also has the same routine: quick kiss, lights out and straight to sleep.

I might be wrong but I don't think they're afraid of the dark until around 2-3; I think that's a learned fear so personally I wouldn't introduce a night light just yet. And as for toys: I wouldn't encourage them to play at bed time because bed time is sleep time.

Your ds is probably going through a phase of separation anxiety** and his confidence will come from you so, what I'd do is give extra cuddles and reassurance! promising to return for another kiss after a set length of time (perhaps a few mins to start with) before leaving the room.

**I'm no expert so feel free to ignore me!

LittleBearPad Mon 24-Mar-14 17:18:26

Dd has a heap of smaller cuddly toys and a nightlight. She's always had the nightlight and the cuddly toys seem to have just grown - most get ignored except one. It just seems to have worked out this way. I wish we were on two stories though. At least four seems par for the course at the moment.

teacher123 Mon 24-Mar-14 17:33:22

DS (nearly two) goes into a completely darkened room and has a few cuddly toys in his cot, I don't think he cuddles them but he plays with them in the mornings, he'll sleep without them, and at grandma's he has different ones with no fuss. He has a couple of stories on our bed after his bath with some cuddles then in bed, lights out. He can take a while to settle off, and bar illness/teeth tends to sleep pretty well.

AntoinetteCosway Mon 24-Mar-14 17:39:42

DD (2.5) has had the same ever since she went into her own room a couple of years ago-totally dark, muslin, dummy and favourite cuddly toy.

BotBotticelli Mon 24-Mar-14 20:30:21

Thanks guys....hmmm I might stick with the lights off, no toys option then!

Maybe he just needs some more cuddles to see him through this phase.

Perhaps taking longer to go to sleep is just a developmental thing that happens at this age??

MiaowTheCat Tue 25-Mar-14 10:20:38

DD1 (and DD2 now is starting with this - albeit still in a cot) has had a couple of board books, replaced later with proper books on a shelf next to her bed for ages, and she's got a little hook on torch monkey that she can press to turn the light on and off if she wants to (mainly so she can look at books in bed - it's got an auto-off thing after a couple of minutes). Sometimes it takes her a while to drift off to sleep but she'll generally sit and look at books to unwind for a while as she does it.

ThePippy Tue 25-Mar-14 11:54:19

My DS self settled fantastically from very young. At around 16-18 months (can't remember exact timing) he suddenly started getting very very upset when we left the room. I had to do gradual withdrawal, eventually standing in the doorway, then outside the door, then staying upstairs but pottering around. After about 2-3 weeks he went back to letting us just kiss goodnight and leave the room/close the door. Nothing had changed in his routine or day so I can only think it was a bout of separation anxiety. At that age I think it's just about giving comfort until they don't need it anymore. Good luck xx

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