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20 month old problems at bedtime suddenly

(11 Posts)
foxessocks Thu 29-Oct-15 21:40:37

I posted about this in chat yesterday but thought I'd start a proper thread in the right place and try and get some more advice or anyone also had this. My 20 month old has always been quite a good sleeper really, from a year she consistently slept through the night, goes to bed at 7pm without any fuss and sleeps until 8am ish. She still has a nap at around lunchtime each day for maybe 1 hour sometimes a bit more sometimes a bit less.

Anyway, last few weeks she woke up in the night around 2 or 3 am a few times. I didn't think much of it and just cuddled her, read one story to calm her down and she went back to bed no problem. I thought it might be nightmares or something. This week though she hasn't been waking in the night but has been really upset just after being put to bed. She goes to bed with the usual routine no problem but then about 10 mins later she starts to cry and cry. I don't know what's causing it. When we go in she is just really cross, she just keeps saying "downstairs please please". Anyway, we don't being her downstairs but we do try and calm her with the bedtime routine again so one more story, teeth again, drink and kisses and bed. Sometimes this works but last night she did this 4 times!

Sorry this is so long but I feel like I'm totally getting this all wrong! Me and dh are not getting any evening really and just feeling tired and stressed by all the crying and shouting. Just want her to go to bed happy like!

WhetherOrNot Fri 30-Oct-15 12:19:53

Giving her stories, drinks, etc. is WHY she did it four times! You are giving her attention. Soon she will have you upstairs for hours doing it!

Just tell her it is bedtime and give her a kiss, and leave (even if you sit outside the door).

PiccalilliSandwiches Fri 30-Oct-15 15:33:46

It's a time of change, OP. Just when you think you have this sleeping thing sorted, they grind you down again! Consider that imaginations are becoming more active and she may be afraid. DS and DD certainly developed a fear of the dark at that age. Some sort of light projector may help, the. I'd go with gradual retreat but there are other methods you may be comfortable with. If this is the first time you've had to consider any form of sleep training you've been very lucky!

I do agree with pp though, it's essential to have a strict bedtime routine, ensure they've had a drink, and once in bed, they don't come out. "Night, night, time for sleep" on repeat a few times and then ignore or just sit and hold her hand.

I did rapid return with DS which involved a lot of screaming and I still regret it (I don't disapprove, just know it was wrong for him). I just sit with DD and give her a cuddle and she goes off in a matter of minutes. Works for us.

Consistency is key, whatever you choose.

Iguessyourestuckwithme Fri 30-Oct-15 15:36:24

"Giving her stories, drinks, etc. is WHY she did it four times! You are giving her attention. Soon she will have you upstairs for hours doing it!

Just tell her it is bedtime and give her a kiss, and leave (even if you sit outside the door)."


FurryGiraffe Fri 30-Oct-15 16:03:51

I could have written this at 20 months (in fact I think I did). In DS's case I'm positive he simply doesn't like being alone (he's absolutely fine in pitch dark if I'm with him)- he's now 2.5 and still doesn't like being left to sleep. We've found that leaving the door open and landing light on help.

I think you need to be understanding of the fact that she may be genuinely apprehensive, but consistent in how you deal with it, which means that making a fuss doesn't result in extra stories etc. Gradual retreat worked for us then it was thrown out by holiday/teething/cold and four months on sleep is still a disaster

foxessocks Fri 30-Oct-15 22:58:54

Thanks all. I know that stories and drinks is a bad thing to do but all the things people suggest like lying down with them or quick kiss, quick cuddle, just don't seem to work...She just cries and cries and refuses to be comforted. I guess we'll have to just let her cry and keep returning but refuse anymore stories.

She went to bed fine at 7 tonight but has just woken up. I am at my parents so wanted minimal fuss so read her one story and she went back to bed without a fuss but don't know if that will last.

I will start the being firm thing tomorrow night when I have the support of my dh!

Should I just go cold turkey on the stories and everything?! I'm going to feel so mean sad

PiccalilliSandwiches Sat 31-Oct-15 03:27:54

Yes cold turkey. She will cry, of course. She expects a story and attention, won't understand why she can't have one when she has in the past. Just keep going with "night night time for sleep", if her language is good you can explain at bedtime that nighttime is for sleeping, no stories til morning.

It'll take a few nights of tears IME, but if you're with her, your not abandoning her and her tears are simply an expression of frustration. Easy to say I know. Good luck op.

foxessocks Sat 31-Oct-15 09:11:38

Thanks. I feel so silly for getting this into this situation because I KNOW you don't give attention when they wake up! When we were stopping breastfeeding at night when she was 1 we were careful to just go in and cuddle her when she woke but never any milk or playing or anything. It was just because the first time she woke up i thought it was just a one off and she was so upset I read her a few books and now...well you see what I mean!!

Anyway, we're going to be tough tonight. I'll go in and cuddle her but that's it. Argh fingers crossed.

PiccalilliSandwiches Sun 01-Nov-15 13:00:09

How did it go last night fox?

foxessocks Sun 01-Nov-15 20:26:23

Last night was fine but that was partly due to the fact we went out to a party with dd so she went to bed much later and was do tired she didn't make a fuss at all or wake up later!!

Tonight we put her to bed at 7 and no sound so far...She had a little whinge before bed because she wanted one more story but I held firm at 2 stories then teeth then bed and she was fine in the end.

We'll see. ..fingers crossed!! I have told dh that under no circumstances do we give in tonight if she wakes

FartemisOwl Sun 01-Nov-15 20:30:44

It's just a phase, don't worry. They all go through them and see what they can get away with, just stick to your routine and it'll all settle down again in no time.

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