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Top tips/suggested methods for encouraging a toddler who constantly gets out of bed

(13 Posts)
alabasterangel Mon 16-Sep-13 20:45:12


DS2 is 2.3 and has always been a poor sleeper. Wakes at any noise and didn't sleep through till about 18 months. At 2.2 he started escaping from his cot. We have reluctantly for safety reasons removed the sides and put a bed guard up. First couple of weeks were great, and although he got up in the morning he didn't mess around at bedtime or during the night.

Now things have altered and for the last 2-3 weeks its just getting increasingly worse. He doesn't settle well to start with and starts piddling about with teddies and his bedtime seahorse (on/off/on/off/giggling etc). He then gets up and leaves his room probably 6 times before finally going to sleep. He'll then have a good stretch till about 1am when it all goes wrong and he then repeatedly gets up and wanders into our room during the night. I take him back and ask him to stay there.

Add into the mix the odd night where his DS (4) goes to the loo which also wakes him up (light sleeper, as I say, although me banging about at my bedtime doesn't wake him) and some nights the whole house is awake 3, 4, 5 times.

My present method is that either DH or I just takes him back, covers him up, and tells him firmly he has to stay in bed. He doesn't seem to be seeking affection (doesn't ask for a cuddle or cry or be upset) or a drink, it really does feel like he's just doing it 'because he can' more than anything else.

He's still having a daytime sleep, which again he has started messing around with getting settled (gets out of bed) but he asks for the sleep after lunch and when he does go, he sleeps for ages unless I wake him sooner (he'd sleep 2 hours+ if I let him but I wake after 1.5) but I'm wondering if the time has come to drop the nap? Trouble is I selfishly don't want to. He's a proper live wire and I find myself really needing that hour in the middle of the day to recharge my own batteries. Plus I genuinely feel he should need it; when he does go he goes like a light and considering how much he's been hurtling about all morning (he just never stops....) then I can see how he needs it.

Should I be doing something else? Taking him back silently? He doesn't seem to escape from the travel cot but it feels mean putting him in that and going backwards somehow. Not sure how I feel about shutting his door tight either. I like to check on him at my bedtime and if I shut the door really tight then when I open it he wakes from the noise.

Starting to feel very sleep deprived and its starting to show on us all. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.

Ragusa Mon 16-Sep-13 21:04:50

Never mind about going backwards, I would deffo get that travel cot up for naps and nights smile

coronalover Tue 17-Sep-13 10:57:09

You could try a gro-clock so that he knows when it's time to get up and when he should be in bed. I find it very helpful with my DS to remind him to "stay in bed and wait for the sun"

alabasterangel Tue 17-Sep-13 16:12:23

Thank you. We've got a similar clock (a monkey that opens his eyes, dd had it) so I've asked her this afternoon if he could borrow it so that's worth a go. I've also upped the fresh air, made him walk 20 mins each way today on school run (he normally has the buggy as its been a bit too far till now) and hoping he'll get worn out at nursery tomorrow. I'm even more knackered now so surely he must be by 7.30 too?

What should 2 year olds get sleep wise per 24 hours? I'm sure dd had 12 hours at night plus an hour at lunch but he gets more like 10.5 at night (8 by the time he stops messing about and always up before 6.30.......

coronalover Tue 17-Sep-13 18:52:30

It sounds like he still needs his daytime nap. not sure how much sleep he needs altogether but tiring him out like you have done is a great idea

A reward chart helped with DS at this age too. Just getting stars or smiley faces for good behaviour at bedtime, staying in bed all night, and staying in bed in the morning (until the clock says it's time to get up). Oh and a star for staying in bed at nap time too. When DS got older and relapsed with messing about again we also bribed him with the promise of a star on his chart and a chocolate button the following day, but at 2yrs just a star was good enough!

AlohaMama Sat 21-Sep-13 19:53:18

Hmm, I can empathise a little - we're having some issues with DS during naptimes, but at least nights are ok. Have just been reading Weissbluth (Healthy sleep habits, happy child) who suggests setting up "sleep rules" for the child to follow, with associated reward chart. Plus putting them back to bed with no interaction whatsoever. I guess it depends on if you think your DS would understand that and associate following the rules with getting a reward.

My DS (2.5) still naps for 1.5-3 hours each afternoon, and I think we both need that time. I feel like he needs minimum 2 h nap, if he wakes up after 1.5 I try to encourage him to go back to sleep. I wouldn't risk dropping that nap just yet. In my experience it just makes the bedtime worse. DS goes to bed about 7 after lots of stories and songs, and falls asleep by 8 often before. Wakes up around 6.30 so that's at least 10.5h at night + 2ish in the day. HTH.

Maggietess Sun 22-Sep-13 01:28:36

We found the gro clock fantastic for dd1, worked a treat. Even if she was totally awake she knew she had to stay in bed trying to sleep/playing quietly to herself until the sun came up and eventually that just became her getting up time. It was fab, couldn't have recommended it more highly!....

Which takes me on to dd2 and the period where she decided that 430-6 was her getting up time (at 2-2.9 years). We introduced her to the gro clock. She totally took the piss out of it. For the first few days she arrived in our room to come see the clock still asleep. They when we got that under control she would sit on her floor then come in every few minutes to let us know how many stars were left.

Finally she got wise to it and would come in with great joy to explain the sun was up.... smile until we realised it was still 530 and she had just learned the button to press to get the sun up!!!!

Downside =no sleep.
Upside = smart kid for age 2 grin

Maggietess Sun 22-Sep-13 01:29:10

Ds by the way is a dream sleeper... We were due one grin

alabasterangel Wed 25-Sep-13 11:53:32

Thank you all.

Am getting quite fed up now, as it's just getting worse. The sleep-trainer clock worked for 3 days. DS decided from that point on he was just going to blatently ignore it.

We've tried stickers. We've tried endless (but simple) explanations of how he needs to stay in bed until mo-mo the monkey opens his eyes and then he'll get a sticker/rewards and can get up and play. Not a hope.

I can't try supernanny techniques (take back to bed and say nothing etc) as these aren't consecutive incidents, they happen all through the night with small periods of sleep inbetween.

last night he went to bed soundly at 7.30 (had a 1.5 hour nap at lunchtime and lots of fresh air in the afternoon too) and slept solidly from then till 11.30pm. He then woke up and staggered into our room and had to be taken back. He was wide awake so again I told him he had to stay in his bed till the monkey wakes up too. He then repeated this at 1am, 1.30am, 3.30am, 4.30am, 5am, and 6ish. At the 5 and 6am episodes he was overtired, cranky and grizzly. At 5am I actually found him wide awake sitting on the landing outside our door, I think he knew he wasn't supposed to be up and was just lingering out there. He wanted to get into bed with me but I really don't want to go down that road (i'm a poor sleeper anyway and he's a wriggling nightmare, so co-sleeping doesn't work for me and I just want him in his own space, I don't want to reward him for getting up).

This morning the whole house is vile tempered and snappy. Poor DD got the thin end of the wedge for doing nothing much wrong, but I am so bloody tired.

Knowing my own child I would hazard a guess that he doesn't fully comprehend me saying that he really has to stay in bed. He nods and says yes when I ask if he gets it, but I don't think he does. And I don't think (unless I'm doing him down) that me telling him at 7pm that he needs to stay in bed all night really registers with him. He was a late speaker and his vocabulary isn't brilliant yet, so I can't really get much of a talk from him about WHY he is getting up so much either. I think he's half-waking during his normal sleep cycles and has just got into a 'habit' of getting out of bed when he does that.

I think tonight (I'm home alone and desperately need some sleep) that I'm going to bring out the cot side and leave it in his room to see. If he plays up I'm going to have to put it back on, even if it's the middle of the night. I don't know what else to do, I'm shattered.

Anyone got any ideas?

Lucyadams184 Wed 25-Sep-13 12:14:00

I would do the super nanny thing and just keep putting them back. Don't talk to them just lay them back down. Failing that if it doesn't work I'd put a gate on the door so they can't get out. Good luck.

Misty9 Sat 05-Oct-13 21:08:24

No magic solutions I'm afraid, but a sympathetic ear as we're going through similar. Ds turned 2 last month and we had to take the side off his cotbed at 22mo. He's been a nightmare at bedtime and during night since.

Now he will only fall asleep if we hold him in the feeding chair and if he wakes in the night he'll immediately cry and come find us. For all our sakes we generally just put him in with us at this point - I don't like co sleeping either and ds is a wriggler (head under the duvet anyone?!) but we at least bought a super kingsize bed this week grin though a double duvet negates the point

Rapid return doesn't work for ds either, he just gets very upset and worked up and when slam dunked in desperation finds it funny so we're out of ideas too. In your situation I think I'd lump for co sleeping for now, with that many night wakings he must be waking for a reason?

Sorry not to be of any practical help... Good luck!

silvermirror Sun 06-Oct-13 00:12:12

I think yr doing amazing and it sounds like yr doing the right Things, rapid return. Ect...

I Wouldnt agree with co sleeping or holding until asleep as they wont become independent sleepers and u could be sharing a bed for years to come.

I share yr beliefe its now becoming a habit in his waking muliple times. But yr doing the right thing by returning him to bed.

Could u put a high stair gate on his bedroom door to prevent him leaving his bedroom.

Reduce toys and teddies in his bedroom.

Would reduce the nap to an hour in the day.
Also send to bed a little later like 8pm.

Look into some physical activities like tumbletots, trampoline, swimming to help use his energy positive.

I would for a month keep a very detailed written diary noteing the time he is waking and sleeping.

If yr son contiues with waking múltiple times during this period u have a comprehensive report to share with yr Gp WHO May refer him onto a sleep Clínic.

It could well be a Type of sleeping Disorder but that would need to be a full assessment with a sleep Clínic.

alabasterangel Wed 23-Oct-13 15:25:52

Hi. Still here. Still struggling. Going through huge stressful stuff at work and really need to be on the ball, which is impossible when (like last night) I was woken up 5 times. Some days I feel like I'm functioning in a bubble. I honestly can't remember the last time I had more than 3 hours unbroken sleep (we're talking years....)

In desperation at 4am I closed his door tight so he couldn't physically leave the room. He was hysterical, and I know it wasnt the right thing to do but we were all desperate. The disturbed sleep is showing on DD who complains she is tired a lot, because he goes into her room as well as ours during the night.

He knows he's doing wrong. Some of his wakings involve him creeping down the landing and sitting in a stealth manner on the floor outside our door. I hear him because of creaking floorboards. I open the door and he flees back down the landing and starts to cry. I don't know what he thinks he's doing. He's shattered all day. The first thing he says to me in the morning is 'oh Mummy, I tired... so tired....' (which is ironic, but very frustrating). He's so tired that by his lunchtime nap he's barely concious, wants to sleep loads longer than he should and is an evil demon for the rest of the afternoon because I've had to get him up to do the school run.

No idea what to do any more, but running out of sanity to see clearly!

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