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Bedtime routine not working - need new ideas!

(16 Posts)
ODog Mon 30-Nov-15 19:55:20

My DS is almost 18mo and has always had trouble getting to sleep. Used to feed/Rock/feed to sleep until around 11/12mo when he stopped wanting that. Then we moved to a toddler bed and laid with him until he fell asleep.

This worked ok until just recently when it is taking 45mins + of thrashing about in the dark before he finally gives in and falls asleep. He is tired as when we make the mistake of putting him to bed before he is ready he just won't lay down and just wants to play.

In case it's relevant this is our current routine, which I am happy to change completely as it's clearly not working, times aren't rigid as it depends on how our day goes/how tired he is but this is a rough guide:

5pm - Dinner
5.30-6pm - TV/playing
6-6.30pm - bath
6.30pm - pjs on, story and song in bed, bottle of milk in bed with light off followed by thrashing about for ages before eventually passing out.

I know lots of people will advocate CIO and CC but this is not for us so I'm looking for gentle ways to help him fall asleep more quickly.

Sorry for long post but didn't want to drop feed. TIA.

dementedpixie Mon 30-Nov-15 21:26:42

He should really have milk before doing teeth rather than after. He seems to be in bed very early, are you sure he is tired enough for sleep? What naps does he have?

dementedpixie Mon 30-Nov-15 21:28:21

What does he do if you don't stay with him?

squidzin Mon 30-Nov-15 21:38:48

We do:

6pm dinner (wouldn't consider stimulating tv after this)
6:45ish bath
7pm - 7:30pm milk in big (mummy/daddy's) bed.

Baby will drift off by sort of rolling about on our big bed with me or dp there. Once he's asleep he is put into his own bed.

Yes we also make the mistake of not putting baby to bed awake too but you do what works best!

So my only suggestion is maybe do your tv before bath and de-stimulate gradually.

KatyN Mon 30-Nov-15 22:27:02

I would suggest there is not much wind down between telly/playing and bed.. Half an hour? We moved telly time for my son and it totally changed bedtime. He is now 4 but we do
Playing/telly to 5:30/6 ish
Dinner till 6:15ish
Bath till nearly 7
Then stories pjs bed and lights out by 7:30.
So slightly later than you but he needed quite a while between TV and bed.

As for thrashing about in bed, if he's crying that's one thing but if he's just wriggling around I might be tempted to leave him to settle himself? Sit outside his door with a book??

Of course as soon as you get it aorted a new stage will come!

ODog Tue 01-Dec-15 07:07:33

Thanks for the suggestions.

Like I say the timings are rough, often it is later, those timings happen to be last night. It makes no difference whether he is in bed for 6.30 or 8pm, it's like he needs to do 45mins of tossing and turning before he can sleep, like he can't switch off. If he's not tired then he won't even entertain getting into bed so I know if he's laying there and not trying to get out then he is tired. If we leave before he is fully asleep then he cries before the door is even shut, otherwise I think I'd leave him to it too.

We already moved TV before bath but I might try cutting it out before bed altogether. Other than that I'll just hope it's a phase I guess. It's not stressful, as there are no tears or objections, it's just a very boring 45mins.

BeenAndGone Tue 01-Dec-15 07:14:48

I would cut tv out too and then think about doing some gradual withdrawal, so your edging out the room bit by bit and he learns to fall asleep on his own.

We stopped being able to shut DS's door around this age as he likes it open. What are the naps like?

Scotinoz Tue 01-Dec-15 08:13:42

I have a 2 year old, but we've dinevtgevsame since she was about 1.
5.30 dinner
6.15/6.30 bath and faffing around
6.45/7.00 couple of books and into bed

She doesn't go straight to sleep, she chats to herself, wriggles etc.

If you don't want to let him cry, try telling him you're going to do a thing - loo, feed the dog, stir dinner, etc - and bob in and out every couple of minutes?

Scotinoz Tue 01-Dec-15 08:15:05

Oh, and shutting the door is a killer for us. It must be open...all hell breaks out if it's shut but totally fine if open

ODog Tue 01-Dec-15 10:09:23

Thanks ladies. Naps are fine but I get him to sleep in the sling first. I'm tempted to try to leave the door open but worried
about disturbing him with TV/general noise downstairs. His door is open once we go to bed and he doesn't try to come out if he wakes in the night so it might be ok.

laulea82 Tue 01-Dec-15 10:18:08

Our little girl is two and has a similar routine but goes down and we leave the room. Sometimes she asks for us / chats when we've gone. We talk to her over three baby monitor if she seems upset but that's not often. Sometimes she sings to herself until she goes to sleep or gets up walks round her room and then back to bed. Sometimes she whispers telling her teddies about her day. She's winding down by herself. Adults don't go straight to sleep in bed they wind down by reading etc. I would aim to get him winding down alone rather than to sleep. Maybe keep nipping in to let him know you're there if he's upset.

waterrat Tue 01-Dec-15 11:39:59

I think that is a normal way for a toddler or baby to get to sleep! I suggest you relax and let him have his thrash about. ..pop in and out until you feel more relaxed about it ...The worst is to pick them up. ..that just disrupts them settling

SweetAdeline Tue 01-Dec-15 11:48:28

Can you put a stairgate in the doorway and leave the door open?

We did gradual retreat with ds until he was happy to go to sleep by himself. By about two years old both of mine liked having teddies in their beds/cot with them too.

Headmelt Tue 01-Dec-15 11:54:21

We leave the door open with a dull light on in the hallway until asleep. I bought the night essence essential oil recently so going to try a few drops in an oil burner before bed in despiration this week.

ODog Tue 01-Dec-15 12:36:21

I think you are probably right water. Like most things I expect it's a phase that will pass and we will soon be on to the next one.

ODog Tue 01-Dec-15 20:29:34

So after sitting, rocking, shushing and patting for over 45mins today I couldn't take it anymore. I ended up giving DS a kiss, saying goodnight, love you, mummy's going now and just leaving. I could hear him moving about for a while but he didn't cry and eventually just fell asleep within 5 mins (on the floor as it happened but I don't really care as long as he is asleep!). I'm now starting to think that my presence is stopping him sleeping so will try leaving right away tomorrow. Thanks for all your input ladies.

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