So it took 2 hours to pat my toddler to sleep last night

(55 Posts)
ElleDubloo Mon 28-Nov-16 10:27:48

This is a "what would you do?" scenario.

Let me preface by saying, 2 year old DD has never had great sleep. When she was a baby we tried sleep training (gently and inconsistently) but when things got difficult she always breastfed to sleep in our bed. After the age of 1, she started sleeping horizontally and kicked DH throughout the night until he had neck problems, so we started putting her to sleep in our bed but then moving her across to the cot when she fell asleep. She continued to wake 1-2 times per night, when either the nanny would get up and pat her back to sleep in her cot, or me/DH would bring her into our bed (we both work long hours so there's only a certain amount of night-time crying we can tolerate).

Since she turned 2 several weeks ago, we've been putting her to sleep in her own cot. Routine thus:
- Shower/bath.
- Nappy and pyjamas.
- Milk.
- Cuddles and book.
- Brush teeth.
- More cuddles and book.
- When DD agrees, DD goes into cot.
- Patting and singing for 30-60-120 mins until DD falls asleep.

She doesn't cry during this routine, it's all very peaceful, but we are NOT ALLOWED TO LEAVE THE ROOM at any point or all hell breaks loose.

Last night I patted her for 1.5 hours before I got fed up and left. She had a melt-down. DH then went in and patted her for another half hour before she fell asleep.

I hear rumours of children who fall asleep in 20 mins after a cuddle and a story. I'd be happy for her to do this. How do I make her do this please.

Mummamayhem Mon 28-Nov-16 10:41:20

At 2yo I would have thought that patting and singing could be quite distracting and keep little one awake? If it's taking that long to fall asleep maybe she's not tired? Napping too long or too late in the day? Patting for an hour would hurt my arm. Personally I'd put her in a single bed so you can lie next to her or sit next to bed in pitch black and silence and say mummy will stay with you until you fall asleep.

WheresTheEvidence Mon 28-Nov-16 10:46:33

Why's the nanny doing it?

It's a control thing - my last charge was like this [for her parents] would sleep fine for me but for mum/dad she would stay awake in the middle of the night for 2/3 hours;and I believe it was a control thing or that she knew they would leave if she fell asleep so would stay awake. Also the mere being with her was too much stimulation for her to go back to sleep.

I often found with her younger sibling that trying to cuddle him to sleep in the middle of the night was ineffectual as he just preferred to be left to go to sleep and me rocking him was not helping him.

WheresTheEvidence Mon 28-Nov-16 10:53:13

The bedtime routine shouldn't take more than 30 minutes
Your routine
- Shower/bath.
- Nappy and pyjamas.
- Milk.
- Cuddles and book.
- Brush teeth.
- More cuddles and book.
- When DD agrees, DD goes into cot.
- Patting and singing for 30-60-120 mins until DD falls asleep.

My routine is
- bath/shower and brush teeth
- pjs
- cuddles and books [no more than 2 - usually 1]
- put into bed [when I say not when a child allows me to]
- stoke face, kiss, and leave

"we are NOT ALLOWED TO LEAVE THE ROOM at any point or all hell breaks loose" Who is the adult in this situation? You say you work long hours do you think this could be an issue here? My charge doesn't see mum/dad all day - often leaving before she gets up and then coming home before bedtime. I find the nights the parents want her to have an early night/rush her to bed that she acts up as she misses them and wants time with them, but days that they can give her some proper time that bedtime isn't such a battle.

JeanGenie23 Mon 28-Nov-16 10:53:36

My DD was like this from 15-18months, I had no patience to sit in her room (often lie in her cot with her) so I cracked and one day I just put her in and left. After 2-3nights of shouting for 1hr she suddenly stopped and now at 22months she doesn't make a sound, I put her in, give her a kiss and leave.
That won't work for everyone, but it did for us.
It's definitely about control, she is pushing and pushing and seeing what she can get away with. Sleep isn't an option, it's compulsory so take the game element out of it for her.
Could you try sitting the opposite side of the room, back to her and absolutely no communication? Gradually backing you way out of the room? And once you are out don't return!

RedCrab Mon 28-Nov-16 11:56:05

Similar to previous posters - my 22 month old 22 was very controlling about sleep. I'm 22 weeks with DC3 and although DD would go to sleep within ten minutes, it wasn't tenable for me to stay with her once the baby arrives because my DH works evenings. I needed an efficient solo bedtime for three DC.

Anyway so I did what Jean did. Into bed, story, cuddle, kiss, night night and left. First night it took about an hour of her screaming and me returning her to bed. Was particularly bad because she shares a room with 4 year old DS. I was basically petrified of trying it because I thought it would be awful DD is VERY strong willed and possessive of me. And ten minutes to get her to sleep didn't seem like it should be messed with. But it only took one night. I was completely and utterly astonished. I never in a million years thought she'd give in so easily. That was three weeks ago - occasionally she yells for me a bit before she goes to sleep but I just quickly nip in, give a reassuring kiss and say night night, and leave ASAP.

RedCrab Mon 28-Nov-16 11:59:49

Posted too soon. At two, she is old enough to have it explained to her in the daytime what's gojng to happen. Mummy's just downstairs, it's sleep time now. It will take some persistence but just keep returning her to bed and keep interaction minimal.

ElleDubloo Mon 28-Nov-16 12:09:22

Mummamayhem
At 2yo I would have thought that patting and singing could be quite distracting and keep little one awake? If it's taking that long to fall asleep maybe she's not tired? - I guess so... This is all occurring 8:30-10:30 pm so I'm sure she's tired, but it's possible that she's trying hard to stay awake to keep me in the room. Maybe we'll cut her afternoon nap shorter.

Patting for an hour would hurt my arm - Yes it does hurt sad It hurts both my patience and my arm sad

WheresTheEvidence
Why's the nanny doing it? - Why shouldn't she? How is this relevant?

It's a control thing - This is interesting. I've never thought of it as a control thing, but I guess she is old enough to start manipulating us.

I find the nights the parents want her to have an early night/rush her to bed that she acts up as she misses them and wants time with them, but days that they can give her some proper time that bedtime isn't such a battle. - This is very sad and probably very true sad Nothing we can do about it though, at least for now.

JeanGenie23
My DD was like this from 15-18months, I had no patience to sit in her room (often lie in her cot with her) so I cracked and one day I just put her in and left. After 2-3nights of shouting for 1hr she suddenly stopped and now at 22months she doesn't make a sound, I put her in, give her a kiss and leave. - Thanks, I'm going to try this. Sounds like in the long run it gives her better sleep and a healthier routine.

Thanks everyone who's contributed so far. More advice would be most welcome!

ElleDubloo Mon 28-Nov-16 12:14:40

RedCrab - We cross-posted. Your bedtime routine sounds amazing! And even though the first night was awful, it's incredible how quickly she got used to it. I'm going to try this tonight. Need to get DH and nanny on board too. My DD is very strong-willed too, very stubborn. Last time we let her cry it out at night, she cried herself hoarse for 2 hours and had a blotchy face the next day and we felt so sorry for her we never tried it again. (She also cried SOLIDLY at nursery for TWO MONTHS after starting.) But I guess the key is persistence. If we can end up with a bedtime routine like yours in the long run it'll be so worth it.

Artandco Mon 28-Nov-16 12:17:49

I would ditch the cot.

Just get a single mattress on floor in her room, add safely gate to door if needed. Take most toys etc out room or high up but leave a few quiet ones like teddies and some books in her room. Just take to bed, lie next to her for two stories. Kiss and leave. She can sleep or get up and play or look at books but stays in room and goes to bed herself when tired. She either falls asleep in floor or back in her bed. so she might not be straight asleep, but your not patting her to sleep for hours and she's happy and will sleep when ready. Gradually encourage her to stay in bed and try and sleep first

HeyRoly Mon 28-Nov-16 12:21:17

There's a reason why it's taking her so long to fall asleep.

My DD at that age would routinely not go to sleep until 9-10pm. It was a killer. But I did used to let her nap too long and too late (because I was desperate for the break and the silence blush). When she dropped her nap she started going to bed at a reasonable hour and it changed our lives.

So I would look at her nap habits. Also agree that the patting and singing is probably preventing her from falling asleep.

WheresTheEvidence Mon 28-Nov-16 12:26:30

"She continued to wake 1-2 times per night, when either the nanny would get up and pat her back to sleep in her cot"

Unless you're paying your nanny 24hours a day then she shouldn't be getting up in the night to settle your child OR do you mean when your nanny has proxy/parented?

ByeByeLilSebastian Mon 28-Nov-16 12:28:18

Well you've made a ginormous rod for your own back but I'm guessing you know that now!
I would stop letting her control bed time and start being the one in charge. You can still be gentle and loving but have a firm routine in place.

It's going to be really hard to start with though and will take a lot of patience. Worth it though for her to have a good relationship with sleep and to save your poor arm!

WheresTheEvidence Mon 28-Nov-16 12:28:43

What naps does she have?

ElleDubloo Mon 28-Nov-16 12:30:46

Artandco
I would ditch the cot - Hmm, I was wondering about when I should do this. To clarify, she has a cot bed, with the sides up. Is 2 too early to take the sides down?

Just get a single mattress on floor in her room, add safely gate to door if needed. Take most toys etc out room or high up but leave a few quiet ones like teddies and some books in her room. Just take to bed, lie next to her for two stories. Kiss and leave. She can sleep or get up and play or look at books but stays in room and goes to bed herself when tired. She either falls asleep in floor or back in her bed. so she might not be straight asleep, but your not patting her to sleep for hours and she's happy and will sleep when ready. Gradually encourage her to stay in bed and try and sleep first
Add message | Report | Message poster HeyRoly Mon 28-Nov-16 12:21:17
There's a reason why it's taking her so long to fall asleep.

My DD at that age would routinely not go to sleep until 9-10pm. It was a killer. But I did used to let her nap too long and too late (because I was desperate for the break and the silence blush). When she dropped her nap she started going to bed at a reasonable hour and it changed our lives.

So I would look at her nap habits. Also agree that the patting and singing is probably preventing her from falling asleep.
Add message | Report | Message poster WheresTheEvidence Mon 28-Nov-16 12:26:30
"She continued to wake 1-2 times per night, when either the nanny would get up and pat her back to sleep in her cot"

Unless you're paying your nanny 24hours a day then she shouldn't be getting up in the night to settle your child OR do you mean when your nanny has proxy/parented?

ElleDubloo Mon 28-Nov-16 12:30:46

Artandco
I would ditch the cot - Hmm, I was wondering about when I should do this. To clarify, she has a cot bed, with the sides up. Is 2 too early to take the sides down?

Just get a single mattress on floor in her room, add safely gate to door if needed. Take most toys etc out room or high up but leave a few quiet ones like teddies and some books in her room. Just take to bed, lie next to her for two stories. Kiss and leave. She can sleep or get up and play or look at books but stays in room and goes to bed herself when tired. She either falls asleep in floor or back in her bed. so she might not be straight asleep, but your not patting her to sleep for hours and she's happy and will sleep when ready. Gradually encourage her to stay in bed and try and sleep first
Add message | Report | Message poster HeyRoly Mon 28-Nov-16 12:21:17
There's a reason why it's taking her so long to fall asleep.

My DD at that age would routinely not go to sleep until 9-10pm. It was a killer. But I did used to let her nap too long and too late (because I was desperate for the break and the silence blush). When she dropped her nap she started going to bed at a reasonable hour and it changed our lives.

So I would look at her nap habits. Also agree that the patting and singing is probably preventing her from falling asleep.
Add message | Report | Message poster WheresTheEvidence Mon 28-Nov-16 12:26:30
"She continued to wake 1-2 times per night, when either the nanny would get up and pat her back to sleep in her cot"

Unless you're paying your nanny 24hours a day then she shouldn't be getting up in the night to settle your child OR do you mean when your nanny has proxy/parented?

ElleDubloo Mon 28-Nov-16 12:30:47

Artandco
I would ditch the cot - Hmm, I was wondering about when I should do this. To clarify, she has a cot bed, with the sides up. Is 2 too early to take the sides down?

Just get a single mattress on floor in her room, add safely gate to door if needed. Take most toys etc out room or high up but leave a few quiet ones like teddies and some books in her room. Just take to bed, lie next to her for two stories. Kiss and leave. She can sleep or get up and play or look at books but stays in room and goes to bed herself when tired. She either falls asleep in floor or back in her bed. so she might not be straight asleep, but your not patting her to sleep for hours and she's happy and will sleep when ready. Gradually encourage her to stay in bed and try and sleep first
Add message | Report | Message poster HeyRoly Mon 28-Nov-16 12:21:17
There's a reason why it's taking her so long to fall asleep.

My DD at that age would routinely not go to sleep until 9-10pm. It was a killer. But I did used to let her nap too long and too late (because I was desperate for the break and the silence blush). When she dropped her nap she started going to bed at a reasonable hour and it changed our lives.

So I would look at her nap habits. Also agree that the patting and singing is probably preventing her from falling asleep.
Add message | Report | Message poster WheresTheEvidence Mon 28-Nov-16 12:26:30
"She continued to wake 1-2 times per night, when either the nanny would get up and pat her back to sleep in her cot"

Unless you're paying your nanny 24hours a day then she shouldn't be getting up in the night to settle your child OR do you mean when your nanny has proxy/parented?

ElleDubloo Mon 28-Nov-16 12:30:48

Artandco
I would ditch the cot - Hmm, I was wondering about when I should do this. To clarify, she has a cot bed, with the sides up. Is 2 too early to take the sides down?

HeyRoly Mon 28-Nov-16 12:21:17
There's a reason why it's taking her so long to fall asleep.

My DD at that age would routinely not go to sleep until 9-10pm. It was a killer. But I did used to let her nap too long and too late (because I was desperate for the break and the silence blush). When she dropped her nap she started going to bed at a reasonable hour and it changed our lives.

So I would look at her nap habits. Also agree that the patting and singing is probably preventing her from falling asleep.
Add message | Report | Message poster WheresTheEvidence Mon 28-Nov-16 12:26:30
"She continued to wake 1-2 times per night, when either the nanny would get up and pat her back to sleep in her cot"

Unless you're paying your nanny 24hours a day then she shouldn't be getting up in the night to settle your child OR do you mean when your nanny has proxy/parented?

ElleDubloo Mon 28-Nov-16 12:30:48

Artandco
I would ditch the cot - Hmm, I was wondering about when I should do this. To clarify, she has a cot bed, with the sides up. Is 2 too early to take the sides down?

HeyRoly Mon 28-Nov-16 12:21:17
There's a reason why it's taking her so long to fall asleep.

My DD at that age would routinely not go to sleep until 9-10pm. It was a killer. But I did used to let her nap too long and too late (because I was desperate for the break and the silence blush). When she dropped her nap she started going to bed at a reasonable hour and it changed our lives.

So I would look at her nap habits. Also agree that the patting and singing is probably preventing her from falling asleep.
Add message | Report | Message poster WheresTheEvidence Mon 28-Nov-16 12:26:30
"She continued to wake 1-2 times per night, when either the nanny would get up and pat her back to sleep in her cot"

Unless you're paying your nanny 24hours a day then she shouldn't be getting up in the night to settle your child OR do you mean when your nanny has proxy/parented?

ElleDubloo Mon 28-Nov-16 12:30:49

Artandco
I would ditch the cot - Hmm, I was wondering about when I should do this. To clarify, she has a cot bed, with the sides up. Is 2 too early to take the sides down?

HeyRoly Mon 28-Nov-16 12:21:17
There's a reason why it's taking her so long to fall asleep.

My DD at that age would routinely not go to sleep until 9-10pm. It was a killer. But I did used to let her nap too long and too late (because I was desperate for the break and the silence blush). When she dropped her nap she started going to bed at a reasonable hour and it changed our lives.

So I would look at her nap habits. Also agree that the patting and singing is probably preventing her from falling asleep.
Add message | Report | Message poster WheresTheEvidence Mon 28-Nov-16 12:26:30
"She continued to wake 1-2 times per night, when either the nanny would get up and pat her back to sleep in her cot"

Unless you're paying your nanny 24hours a day then she shouldn't be getting up in the night to settle your child OR do you mean when your nanny has proxy/parented?

ElleDubloo Mon 28-Nov-16 12:30:49

Artandco
I would ditch the cot - Hmm, I was wondering about when I should do this. To clarify, she has a cot bed, with the sides up. Is 2 too early to take the sides down?

HeyRoly Mon 28-Nov-16 12:21:17
There's a reason why it's taking her so long to fall asleep.

My DD at that age would routinely not go to sleep until 9-10pm. It was a killer. But I did used to let her nap too long and too late (because I was desperate for the break and the silence blush). When she dropped her nap she started going to bed at a reasonable hour and it changed our lives.

So I would look at her nap habits. Also agree that the patting and singing is probably preventing her from falling asleep.
Add message | Report | Message poster WheresTheEvidence Mon 28-Nov-16 12:26:30
"She continued to wake 1-2 times per night, when either the nanny would get up and pat her back to sleep in her cot"

Unless you're paying your nanny 24hours a day then she shouldn't be getting up in the night to settle your child OR do you mean when your nanny has proxy/parented?

AliceThrewTheFookingGlass Mon 28-Nov-16 12:58:50

My first was similar up until about 18 months. He just would not fall asleep without either being on my breast or having his back/legs rubbed. He had been falling asleep on my breast or in my arms since the day we was born so I honestly don't think he realised that he could fall asleep without me.

I started putting him in his cot with some toys for an hour each afternoon and then going into another room to clean or whatever. For the first two days he just played with his toys but on the third day he fell asleep, and the day after and the day after that.. After a week of this we started to put him In his cot awake at bedtime too. We said goodnight and went downstairs. Sometimes he played with his teddies for a while and other times he would go straight to sleep. He's almost 3 now and bedtime is still stress free and quick. We did have to move him from his cot to a toddler bed with a gate by the door at 2 though.

Artandco Mon 28-Nov-16 13:20:42

IF you have cot bed just take the sides off. 2 is definatly old enough to getbin and out of bed themselves. And it's far easier not having to lean into bed.

Artandco Mon 28-Nov-16 13:21:35

Also at 2 years many are potty trained, sinners to be able to get up themselves to wee. If yours isn't yet it will be soon so it's better to takes sides off first

idontlikealdi Mon 28-Nov-16 13:24:55

How long / what time does she nap?

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