really struggling with toddler

(8 Posts)
Babytalkobsession Sun 06-Mar-16 19:52:48

Particularly at bedtimes. He's so strong willed about everything at the moment. Always has been in many ways (non sleeping baby). We recently did a 9 hour journey & he slept for a total of 40 mins!!! He just seems to have this determined streak to fight bedtime / sleep.

For a good while we had cracked a decent routine. Snack/supper, bath, milk & night garden, books, cuddle and cot. Self settled then slept through. Perfect.

But lately (I'd say 2 months - he's 2 years 4 months) he's been a nightmare. Bath ok, but hysterical about nappy on, pjs on etc. Wants a story but then throws the book across the room. Then hysterical because no more book. Multiple getting out of bed. Screaming / shouting / scratching / arching / kicking out. It's proper tantrum mode.

The worst bit is refusing to give in to a cuddle. I would literally rock him to sleep if it would help calm him. I just want him to have a nice calm bedtime. It ruins every day and leaves me struggling to control my temper. I often end up shouting 'fine have it your way' and leaving him sobbing / crying. This isn't what I want at all.

I'm reading Toddler calm but don't seem to have got to any practical advise yet, but it is useful to help understand behaviour. I don't want him stressed. I want a cuddly dozy bedtime routine.

He's asleep now after an hour but ended in misery again. DH managed to calm him eventually. I couldn't do it

any advice? Feel like a crap parent again and guilty that I can't seem to keep my control (tired & pregnant but no excuse)

Please help.

WhatwouldRuthdo Sun 06-Mar-16 19:59:18

I'm definitely no expert but I do have a DS of the same age, who has been a terrible sleeper in the past (and no doubt will be again at some point!). He will tantrum at bedtime when he's overtired. Could a slightly earlier bedtime help him? Does he nap during the day?

LetsSplashMummy Sun 06-Mar-16 20:05:00

I have had two good sleepers except at this age when they were starting to give up their nap. Either they had it and were too awake at bedtime, or didn't and were overtired. We gradually shortened the nap or alternated days and it helped a bit. The phase only lasted 3-4 weeks and they settled back down once the nap was properly gone.

Is he still napping? I think I would fiddle about with the nap first to try and avoid the situation. Once you are in it, I would prefer to take him out the cot and be completely boring and not attention giving (mummy is tidying up, just wait....) and then try bed again 10 minutes later.

Babytalkobsession Sun 06-Mar-16 23:24:31

Thanks for your replies. He does nap occasionally. He's at nursery 4 days a week and often has an hour. On our days off he tends not to, even if there's a long car journey involved!

Today for example, he was completely overtired from being awake between 1am-4am. I deliberately timed the day so we had a busy activity this morning, and then a longer drive this afternoon. He slept only 30 mins in car despite being shattered...same with the long drive I mentioned in my op.

On the whole it's so much effort to get him to nap it's prob best to just try to keep him going, and then work towards an earlier bedtime.

What time do you aim for for asleep by? When it's good he tends to sleep 7:30 - 7:30 which is perfect!

Thanks again.

WhatwouldRuthdo Mon 07-Mar-16 07:00:32

You must be very tired too. I aim for asleep by 7.30 but that's with 1-1.5 hours nap. He's then up at 6.30am, though I think awake a bit time before that (thank you groclock!). I think once the nap goes I'll be aiming for sleep a good bit earlier. Could you trial running the bedtime routine an hour earlier and see if it makes any difference?

I hope you get it sorted soon. Stroppy tired toddlers area force to be reckoned with!

BotBotticelli Mon 07-Mar-16 14:06:07

I would bath him at 6pm or maybe even 5.45!! Basically straight after dinner.

Aim to be getting him into bed at 6.30pm.

If he is not napping much he is probably massively exhausted. Not much you can do to make him nap if he won't - just bring bedtime forward instead.

Fugghetaboutit Mon 07-Mar-16 14:12:13

He might have his molars coming through which makes them ratty.

Ds was a shit sleeper at that age, he's now 3 and sleeps v well but he used to wake at 4.30 some mornings..

candykane25 Mon 07-Mar-16 14:23:14

DD is 2.7.

She goes through phases of sleeping well for ages then a period where she doesn't.

What helps in our house is to not fight the battle but go with it.
So no nappy and Pjs, fine. Put a blanket/pad down in case of accidents.
Acknowledging how my DD feels. I let her get it out of her system.
If she wants to cry, I cry with her. Bonkers but it works.
Choices. So rather than book or no book, DD chooses 3 from a pile.
If she doesn't want physical contact I stay very quiet and still until she comes to me.
Yawn a lot. It's infectious.
Lullaby CD? DD loves her music.
We also do a circles massage on her back, literally just gently doing little anti-clockwise circles slowly and calmly on her back when she's settled.
I know others swear by the rabbit who wanted to sleep book which is hypnotic but my DD isn't that bothered by it. Made me sleepy though!

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