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Sleep Problems with a 21 month toddler? help...

(14 Posts)
louisse28 Wed 05-Jan-05 19:05:29

My son will not go to bed till sometimes as late as 10 o'clock.
I tried controlled crying when he was about 6 months and had approx 8-10 months of sleep from 7-7. It was bliss. He then went to sleep and seemed to wake a few times during the night. I have tried leaving him to cry, and popping in every now and again, but all I seem to do is wind him up further until he is virtually sick with frustration at not being picked up.
I have tried sitting near him, but that also upsets him. I end up picking him up, bringing him downstairs, try to clam him down. He bounces of the walls with energy, and only relaxes in bed when he is absolutley exhausted at around 9 or ten.
Any ideas?

singsong Thu 06-Jan-05 18:35:48


MunchedTooManyMarsLady Thu 06-Jan-05 19:23:57

bumping for you!

singsong Thu 06-Jan-05 20:01:47

if you click here you can order a free leaflet on 'good night guide for children'. I'm sorry I don't know if it's any good, I'm hoping someone here might have some personal experience for you.

TeaTime Fri 07-Jan-05 08:22:53

You haven't said whether he also sleeps in the day. My son (2yrs 10 months) still likes a long midday sleep (2 - 3 hours) and it is only when he has NOT had this that we can rely on an early night. Otherwise he will not go to sleep until around 10 (but he sleeps well and doesn't wake up till we do). Have there been any changes in your son's life which might be making him a bit more anxious to stay awake or be comforted more?

motherpeculiar Fri 07-Jan-05 09:29:00

Long and rambling response - but something in there may be of help I hope!

My DD (2.5) has been like this lately too. She has always been dreadful at going to sleep but used to sleep through. Then in the last two months started waking every night and screaming and crying until we took her in with us. I was happy enough with this solution (quite liked cuddling her in fact) when she was happy to actually sleep in our bed. But then she started wanting to play and talk and wriggle all night long and no-one was getting any sleep so it had to stop.

Two days ago we put a plan into action which so far (fingers crossed, touch wood and anything else you can think of) seems to be working. Last night she went to bed around 8 and slept through in her own bed til 8 this morning.

What we did was to talk to her A LOT during the day we had decided to start trying to get her to sleep through about how we had a plan to help her to sleep through the night in her own bed. There was a lot of "isn't that a good idea?"and "won't that be great?" and "you really are a big girl now"- we also talked to her alot about how things would work when she woke up in the night - that we'd come and make sure she was ok, and tuck her in but that she would have to stay in her bed and sleep there. She was a bit taken aback but agreed. Then when she did wake up at 1oclock I went in and did what I'd said - of course she hollered and shouted and wanted to get out of bed but I was really firm. I stayed with her for a few moments and then left the room, having gone through the checklist of things she likes - nightlight on, door open. The big change we have made is to leave her nightlight on all night - does your DS have one - if not might be worth getting one. Or if he does have one but it's not working, maybe that'swhat is keeping him awake and you should think about darkening the room.

Is he warm enough? My DD kicks all the blankets off so I now put her to bed in layers and layers of clothes, culminating in a fleecy sleepsuit with feet in it. Is he too warm?

I'm sure you've thought of all these things.My heart goes out to you - it is really rotten.

In terms of going to bed at night, DD used to scream and shout and then hop out of bed and come downstairs until I very calmly told her that if she did that again I would have to come up and turn off her night light and close the door. She now stays in the bed at least (and screams and shouts!).

What time do you start the "bedtime routine" ? In the last two nights, when DD has been much more settled, I have actually started much earlier than normal, going upstairs between 6.30-6.45, it used to be 7.30ish. I think this may have helped too - getting her in before she is overtired.

What seems to work for us (famous last words) is to decide a plan of action and tell her what it is and then stick to it,really calmly.

Best of luck - I think it is all just trial and error but conistency is key (extremely hard when you are exhausted yourself I know)

motherpeculiar Fri 07-Jan-05 09:32:43

just read your post again - ime bringing him downstairs again is a bad idea (don't mean to sound preachy - I sure you know this but are at the end of your tether by that stage).

I have on occasion at bedtime(and I sound awful here, but I do it really gently) held my DD down in the bed while she trashes about screaming, just to keep her from getting out. I used to do it very gently and calmly, like a big bear hug if you like, until she calmed down. Some nights this would happen 5 or 6 times before she went to sleep. But iirc after a few nights of this she realised I meant business.

Good luck.

ellimum Fri 07-Jan-05 09:38:38

My ds was similar at this age. My DH and I were just not getting any time together and it was exhausting. We ended up taking drastic measures.

We dropped the daytime nap, started getting him up at six in the morning and started a bedtime routine. Bath with the lights turned low, then the same two stories in bed (really boring thomas the tank engine - no excitement) then not saying another word to him no matter what, just putting him back in his bed if he got up. After the first three days we started waking him later and later until he was getting enough sleep.

It worked until we went on holiday but the minute his routine changed he was back to square one and we had to start again.

jennifersofia Fri 07-Jan-05 13:41:57

Yeah, consistency is definitely the most important thing. Also to think about what sort of midday sleep he is having. Perhaps he is at a stage when it should be cut down a bit. With my two it is usually around 6 that they get 'energetic' (read 'manic')because they can get overtired. I am rock solid about the bath, stories, bed routine (6=bath, 6:30=stories, 7=bed) so they know that it isn't much use carrying on.
It is difficult though - I remember when we were establishing this routine - I found it so hard not to give in, but it has been better for everyone in the long run.

louisse28 Fri 07-Jan-05 15:09:51

Thank's for comments everybody.
Last night was heaps better. He does have a nap during the day but I make sure it is no longer than an hour, as his nanny once let him sleep for 3 hours so I wanted to nip that in the bud!!
Last night I did his bath at 6 ish, lots of fun and splashing. Around a quarter to seven I took him to my bed and we had some quiet time just laying there. My husband came up and distracted him a bit but when he started to get a bit hyper I took him into his cot bed without any fuss. He screamed for only 4 mins this time and was asleep by 7.30... I made sure that he was awake this morning at 7.30 and I'll do the same routine tonight.... I think getting him up earlier is helping as well as the quiet time before bed, he is going to nanny's tonight so hopefully the routine will work there as well..


jennifersofia Sat 08-Jan-05 18:58:24

Glad it went better for you - it is so hard, isn't it, when you don't get proper sleep. However, it will continue to get better, I promise, as long as you remain consistent. You are right, being consistent in the morning is key too. I always used to forget that bit. (not that they ever did sleep in till 9!)
Best of luck

triceratops Sun 09-Jan-05 17:36:17

that lavender bath stuff is nice too- not sure if it makes the kids sleepy but it calms me down

lowcalCOD Sun 09-Jan-05 17:37:35

yes mine is that age andhas no lunchtime nap now
goes to bed at 6 30 7pm

louisse28 Sun 09-Jan-05 18:55:39

Thing's are so so so so much better!!!
I took him to nanny's on friday, and did all the routine as previously mentioned and although he whimpered as I put him into the cot, he didn't cry after that. My mum said that she did exactly the same on saturday night and still no problems, he seems to lie there quietly after you leave the room, and then goes to sleep. My life is so much better, I am calmer, I feel in control, it's great. My husband is doing the bath/quiet time routine tonight so that it is not just me, and hopefully he will be as good for daddy.
The best thing about it is the laying on the bed, as my son snuggles right up to my face and strokes my cheek... absolute bliss....

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