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Toddler sleep

(6 Posts)
Murraymaker Fri 12-Aug-11 08:41:38

We had successfully transferred my 2 and 1/2 year old son into a toddler bed, where he got himself off to sleep and slept soundly for 11-12 hrs a night and 1-2hrs nap during the day. However, 2 weeks ago we went to Portugal on a family holiday, where he slept in a twin room with his much older half-sister. The only way we could get him to sleep at night was to lie in the other bed and pretend to sleep before sneaking out.
Since returning home he will not sleep in his bed unless we lie with him, we are trying controlled crying, but find it very hard listening to him screaming at his door each night, with it being about 2.5hrs before we can finally get him to sleep. However he is also waking at least twice in the night and will only go back to sleep if we lie with him. He is also refusing to nap during the day despite still needing a daytime sleep.
I know we are making a rod for our own backs by lying with him but we don't know how else to get him to sleep so we all at least get some rest before work and nursery. We have started a sticker chart, but with little effect.
We are all tired and grumpy and considering putting him back in a cot until he learns to get himself back off to sleep but feel this will be a huge backward step.
Please please help!

AngelDog Sun 14-Aug-11 14:27:52

Have you read the No-Cry Sleep Solution for toddlers & pre-schoolers by Elizabeth Pantley?

Looooosie Mon 15-Aug-11 00:41:04

My 23 month old son is currently testing me to see how many times I will retrieve him from the bathroom and re-settle him in his cot. The record was 35 times in one night. He would grin at me and say 'Hello Mummy' and I wanted to flush his head down the loo! After 36 hours of this I decided to put my foot down. A stair gate in his door way has prevented any midnight accidents and after a few lengthy screams he resigned himself to going back to bed. I will persevere until he has forgotten all about his urge to do his own thing in the wee small hours! You can't spend your evenings pretending to be asleep and creeping about just as I can't spend mine retrieving my son from every corner of the house!

Remember that your child has already become accustomed to sleeping alone so you should be able to break this new cycle quickly and he will revert to his old ways. It might take a few hours of screaming punctuated by you making the occasional half hourly trip to reassure and re-settle him but he will get sick of the drama if you don't make it worth his while.

Good Luck!

Nihilisticbunny Mon 15-Aug-11 01:47:44

Oh gawd I am not looking forward to putting ds2 in a bed and him realising he can get out. I remember this with dd, I think you need to be stern and consistent, keep putting him back to bed, time after time after time, I did this with dd, in the end I just sat outside her room with a book, it took a while, but she got the message.

After having a self settling, sleep well baby/toddler, I would put a stop to the lying with him to get to sleep, that is your major step back. I would stop that right now, do your usual routine bath/story/bed and just keep returning/settling every time he gets up. I used to feel slightly envious of my sister, whose daughter would only go to sleep by lying next to her, a night of ill child pinned to my chest soon put stop to that. It's important for me to be able to put my children to bed and them stay there and go the fuck to sleep, it's vital to my sanity.

hillee Mon 15-Aug-11 04:30:03

I'm currently in the process of this with DD who is 18 months (which I know is very young but I don't want to have to buy another cot). We have our second DC due in six weeks and so I thought I would try and get the sleeping thing sorted. We used to be able to pop her in the cot at 6.30pm, walk out and not hear from her til about 5.30am/6am the following day. The first few nights in the bed went according to plan until she discovered that she could get out.

I tried the 'return to bed' thing for a good week - but DD just considered this a a massive game. And it could go on for hours... and hours... And I found my normally relaxed self becoming very very angry (not being helped by being 34 weeks pregnant!).

Similar to Nihilisticbunny, I need my children go to bed and stay there. If not for my mental state, but also because I think kids need 12 hours sleep a night. So I had to try something else.

My mother's theory is that with certain children, they need to not be allowed to get out of bed in the first place. So I have been standing in the doorway with my back to DD, and this seems to keep her in the bed. If she even sits up, I turn my head slightly and sternly say "lie down". First couple of nights this took anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes. And after a week we have it down to under 10 minutes. She is still up with the sparrows, but I can cope with that!!

I'm hoping next week to try and stand outside the room, and then to just go back to walking out completely.

I think whatever you try, do what works and be consistent. I was so fixated on "doing it properly" with the return to bed thing, I couldn't see that there was perhaps a different way to skin this particular cat.

Murraymaker Fri 19-Aug-11 16:34:43

Thanks ladies for all the sound advice!
I am pleased to say we have now had 5 nights of 12hr sleeps with no hassle at all - looks like the controlled crying finally paid off. I also bought one of those Groclocks to try and teach him to stay in bed later than 5am, which seems to be working.
I still can't get him to sleep in his bed during the day and a couple of days he has slept on a cushion on the living room floor. He sleeps on the floor at nursery and I figure at least he is getting a nap and at 2 1/2yrs I don't think it'll be long before he starts giving up on a daytime nap, so I'm not going to battle to get him into bed..... whether this is right or not I'm not sure?!!

Anyway, thanks again - having never posted on Mumsnet before, you have all given me the confidence to do so again with your encouraging advice- it's nice to know you're not alone!

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