Toddler can't wind down(23 Posts)
For the last three or so weeks (since before the clocks went back), DS (2.8) has been a complete nightmare to settle to sleep. He lies in bed making popping sounds with his mouth, whispering, poking my face, fiddling with his fingers, fiddling with the bedding, kicking the bedding off, basically anything to avoid going to sleep. He has always been a very active child and seems to find it hard to switch off.
He has a lovely familiar routine before bed which he's had since he was a few months old (bath, PJs, teeth, stories, bed) and is definitely tired when we bring him upstairs. He isn't allowed any screen time prior to this.
He naps approx 1.5 hours after lunch, but if he doesn't have this he's in foul form all afternoon - whinging and tearful, so I'm loathe to give this up. But the bedtime saga is really getting me down - has anyone got any tips on how to help him recognise he's tired, and settle quicker?
My ds is the same age and we have had this recently since we moved him from a cot to a bed. He also has not let me leave the room until he is asleep, if I do he would get straight up and run after me.
Anyway, today, I took delivery of a Glo clock. I explained to him that while the stars are out he needs to stay in his bed and go to sleep, and not get up until the sun comes up. I didn't hold out much hope on the first day, especially since he had an epic 3 hour nap this afternoon, but guess what, it bloody worked!
He had a bit of a moan, and mummy stay there, then cried for about 30 seconds after I left but he hasn't made a peep since!
Yet to see if it will keep him in bed until a reasonable time in the morning - I will let you know.
Might justs be a coincidence, but might be worth a try?
Thank you - I did actually buy a Gro Clock a few months ago but sold it, I think I bought it too early and he didn't really understand the concept. I might buy another one!
At bedtime he does generally stay in bed though - he just lies there fiddling and whispering. If I try to sing softly (this used to work) he tells me he wants a different song and then another different one, if I stroke his belly or back he just keeps saying 'now my face...now my head...now my back....Mummy is it your birthday?' or some other random thing to try get me to talk to him, so he can stay awake!
Can you leave him to it? My four year old always fidgets, chats and sings before he goes to sleep but I have always just left him to it and he goes to sleep quite quickly - staying around just encourages random facts about volcanoes!
We had a stair gate across our DS's door when we changed him from a cot to bed.
He'd have his two bedtime stories and two songs and then we'd just leave him. The first few nights were difficult as he kept getting out of bed he soon clicked on he couldn't escape his room and so started just staying in bed.
Sometimes he would go straight to sleep but other night he's would lie talking and singing to himself for about 45 minutes before dropping off.
He was about 2yr 9m when he went into his bed and now he's just turned 3 and we have taken the stair gate off. He still chats awa to himself some nights for quite lengthy amounts of times but he never gets out of his bed.
He has a gro-clock, he has done for about a year but it's pretty pointless. He understands the concept but he knows how to manually change it from night time scene to the daytime scene so he just does that when he wakes up and shouts, "mummy the sun is out, I get up now please?"
Just leave him be? It might not bother you so much if you weren't there?
I think maybe he should just be going to bed on his own. If it works lying with him, fine, but clearly it isnt working anymore so nows the time to try and reclaim your evening.
Mine did this for about 6 months from about the same age. Finally stopped it once he'd dropped his nap.
I'd let him have an hour only, he'll get used to it quickly and hopefully it'll help him settle earlier. An earlier nap might also work (well timed car journey after very busy morning?)
Yeah....I think it might be time to try him on his own.
The lying with him is a hang over from when I used to bf him to sleep (that finished last November, I'm now 8.5mo pregnant) and then the feeding turned to cuddles, and he would generally drift off within 20 mins which I think is ok. We haven't got a gate across his room (although there's one at the top of the stairs), I guess I could try reading his stories sitting on the bed rather than in it and then nightlight on and try and move away...
sheraaagh shortening the nap might work too - he's never been a great sleeper so I generally leave him when he naps and enjoy the peace and quiet but if it helps in the evenings it would be worth it!
It's tempting to just leave him to nap, but yeah, 40-60 mins should be enough at this age. I used to have biscuits and favourite cbeebies lined up to wake him up. Mind you, he only ever napped on the sofa so was easier.
I know its not what you want to hear, but around that age my dd, who consistently slept 2 hrs every afternoon and went off to bed in the evening, started faffing like this at bedtime...aftet a bit she then started complaining going for her nap. When we got rid of the nap (first letting her skip one in three, then every second one..after a month or so, she stopped napping altogether), bedtime sorted itself out, and she's out like a light after stories
Yep, that's what DS is like too. He goes up at 7:30, teeth, story, bed. Generally out in 5 mins. Losing the nap was hell for a while, but the easy sleep makes it so worth it
Right braces self I think we'll go for a shortened nap initially (1 hour absolute max and try keep it on the early side), then if still no luck, cut it out completely. It's so rubbish running the bath at 6:45 and then not coming downstairs until almost 9pm some evenings, I want my evenings back!
I'd cut the nap to an hour and just leave him be, you being there is only going to encourage the messing about, he'll soon get bored if he's on his own! Good luck!
Thank you! He had an hour from 11-12 until I woke him up (he'd fallen asleep in the car). I'll mention to nursery to not let him sleep more than an hour although his naps are generally shorter there than they are at home.
I'm going to run the bath now, and see how he goes if I try to leave him in bed alone after his stories....it can't take any longer than when I get in with him!
How did you get on last night? I was thinking of you when I was putting ds down (who was being a right pita!)
I agree with PP and I think if you limit/cut out the nap you'll see a big difference.
DD is 2.5 and we try not let her nap at all now during the day. If she has even half an hour then she won't be asleep before 8.30/9, whereas she generally sleeps for 7/7.30 of she hasn't napped.
No nap days can be tough come late afternoon but they get easier. I much prefer now she isn't napping regularly as it was always a faff getting her to sleep and restricted our daytime activities!
Hi eminy - well....
Sunday night was quite good - (he'd napped 11-12 during the day) - he dropped off within 20 mins, at about 7:45pm which is much earlier than recently. He was nice and calm, and stayed in bed. I didn't really get in with him, just sat on the bed for stories and then stayed there and stroked his hand while he fell asleep. I was quite pleased as there was much less faffing....but....
Last night was back to square one, he'd napped 1 hour 15 at nursery and was very wired when we came home (I've now asked them to limit his naps). He started off ok but then sobbed when I wouldn't get into bed with him, then just kept chattering away asking questions. I left the room after 3 warnings, cue more wailing, then 'my eyes are wet, oh no...' and more crying...argh. I returned to the room and sat on the bed, and he did settle, I stayed for another 10 or so mins stroking his hand and he fell asleep at about 8:15pm.
I think those who suggested cutting naps completely might be right - if the naps slide much beyond 1pm I think it's just too late. Once he's asleep he's generally ok, but the evening rigmarole is exhausting and we'll have a newborn along in a couple of weeks
Well it's baby steps, you're not getting into bed with him, so it's a good start. Hopefully it will get easier and easier.
I had one good night with the gro clock and then the rest have been back to playing up. He just won't go to sleep unless I'm on the room. When he was in a bit I could just put him down and leave him.
Let me know how you get on with no naps. We had one day a couple of weeks ago where he didn't nap at all and I think he was so overtired wheni put him down that he wouldn't settle at all!
It's a fine balance I think.
He's at his grandmas today and he nicer goes for a nap when he's there so I'll see how he is tonight.
Last night was terrible - my DM was up and he loves his Nana, so was on top showing-off mode and wanted to go back downstairs to see her, lots of chattering and distractions. Today he had an early nap in the car of 30 mins so fingers crossed tonight will be a good night...
Do you have a partner who can take over bedtime if you are planning on breastsfeeding your new baby when they arrive? I used to put dd to bed and sit with her until she was asleep but we swapped round so it was dh doing it instead as I knew I would be stuck feeding on the sofa at bedtime.
The change in person putting him to bed might be enough to change the routine e.g. Daddy does it this way, or at least it won't be you that's stuck with the newborn and bedtime routine as well.
Yeah, definitely planning on bf. DH does bath and stories as much as I do, although DS always wants me to sit with/cuddle him when he actually settles to sleep.
Last night DH did bedtime as I was proving too much of a distraction, DS was trying to make me laugh and generally dicking about. He protested at first but did fall asleep, although it took 40 mins and that was with a very short nap if I leave him he just runs after me, he's in a bed he can easily get in and out of and I find it hard being so heavily pregnant continually lifting him which is why one of us generally stays with him. DH might have to be firm, let him have 5 mins of cuddles and then leave him/put him back in his own bed...
Sorry but the "mummy is it your birthday?" Made me laugh haha. I'm watching this post with interest because I know mine will probably be the same. She's almost 1 and will not stop fidgeting herself to sleep or trying to play with us or smile at us to get us to smile back and then she'll just jump up, and has been like that from a few months old.
I'm really worried about what will happen in a few months to a year.
Join the discussion
Please login first.