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Help getting - and keeping - toddler asleep

(9 Posts)
MsTea Sun 11-Oct-15 19:59:36

I'm afraid I've got into very bad habits with my son and getting him to sleep. It can take up to an hour to settle him in the evening - I have to sit on the floor next to his bed and hold his hand til he drifts off, or he's on my knee. We have a good routine of bath, milk, teeth, then books but then he can't settle himself to sleep at all.

He also wakes up in the night. Every night. It varies from 10.30 to 1ish, very occasionally he'll go through til 4ish. He won't go back off in his own bed and insists on coming in with me or his dad (we have a spare room so we don't all have to squish in the one bed). He will go back to sleep then but then his squirming and talking means we very often don't sleep well when we're in with him. And when we have guests, DP is relegated to the sofa!

All in all, far from ideal. He still has a nap; doesn't take quite so long to settle him in the afternoon but I still can't leave him to it. We're ttc number 2 so we could really do with getting this sorted. We'd also like our evenings back - when I'm at work, I sometimes don't get to eat til 9pm after settling him! I recently got the baby whisperer book but it only seems to address baby sleep issues, not entrenched bad habits in 2-year-olds. What can I do? Please help!

Lyndsey1979 Sun 11-Oct-15 20:30:05

I am in the exact same predicament as you! I will be watching this post closely, hopefully get some advice towards getting a good night sleep all round ??

MsTea Sun 11-Oct-15 21:04:56

Fingers crossed Lyndsey!

Kiciaaaa Sun 11-Oct-15 21:17:10

Same here. my son is 3.5 we live in 1 bedroom flat so his bed is next to ours. he is going to bed at 20:45 but he need to lay on the bed with me holding my ear until he is asleep and i am transferring him to his bed(exhausted even to write it lol ) i am out by 21:35 sometimes late and he is sleeping ok till 5 am then he transfer himself to our bed and sleep there till 7:45. oh gosh trust me i want my life and bed back. maybe try to stop the afternoon nap he will be tired before the bed and maybe settle quickly. we stooped it when DS was 2.5 good luck hun

MsTea Sun 11-Oct-15 21:33:51

Thanks kiciaaaa. I have considered dropping the nap but he still really seems to need it, and on the odd occasion when he doesn't have one (at his childminder's he sometimes misses it if they're out all day) he's a nightmare by teatime. It also doesn't seem to stop him waking in the night. He's only just turned 2 so I don't know if he's still a bit young to be going without a nap completely? It's also my only chance to get things done during the day!

malteser17 Mon 12-Oct-15 22:50:15

Hi MsTea. I would preserve the nap a bit longer - my 2.5 yo DS sleeps better at night if he's had at least 45 mins - 1 hour nap during the day. And yes, it is a good opportunity for a break yourself if nothing else.

What happens if you leave his room before he's completely asleep? I'm just wondering whether maybe a few nights of tough love might help - so night 1 stay for 30 minutes and then leave, night 2 20 minutes etc. Carry on with the hand holding but maybe tell him that you're going to stay for a set period of time and then leave. And if he cries, go back in once and comfort him (without picking him up) and explain to him that you have to go and have your dinner (or whatever) and then leave again. And if he cries again, just leave him - I know it sounds really harsh but I spent 18 months getting up 2 or 3 times a night to feed my son and I was exhausted by the time he learnt to sleep through.

You could also consider getting a baby monitor with a talk button to allow you to talk to your son through it. We never really used ours until my very lazy DH used it to shush our DS when he started crying one evening whilst I was out and since then we always use it as our first attempt to settle him if he wakes up, to the extent that I've sometimes sat on the stairs and sang Row Row Row Your Boat (his favourite song) to him 20 or 30 times through the baby monitor until he's gone back to sleep. It might be a better alternative than sitting there for an hour and at least you could eat at the same time as settling him.

I hope you find something that works soon.

MsTea Tue 13-Oct-15 13:46:56

Thanks Malteser. If I try to leave the room he just cries until I go back in. He had previously been better with naps (and when he naps at the childminder's she just lies him down and lets him go off) so I thought I'd take your advice today - and it worked! I tucked him in and told him I was going to go and have lunch, and that he could go to sleep on his own because he's a big boy now. Not a peep out of him. Now, do I do this with naps for a few days then try night times, or do I strike while the iron's hot and try it again tonight?

Thanks though, you've really helped!smile

malteser17 Tue 13-Oct-15 15:17:48

I would strike whilst the iron is hot and try it tonight. However don't just walk out without any warning. I'm not sure what order you do things in but for my son we do dinner, bath/shower, a couple of episodes of Peppa Pig and then stories upstairs before he goes to sleep. Depending on the time he either has two or three stories and I always tell him when it's the last story before bed.

Once I put him in the cot I settle him down and then hold his hand whilst he gets comfy. I then tell him I will hold his hand for 30 more seconds and then I leave the room. Occasionally he cries and demands more hand holding but only when he gets really upset do I sing through the baby monitor or shush him again.

I hope some of that helps. And please persevere. You are going to feel like the worst Mum in the world if he starts screaming and won't settle but please don't give up!

MsTea Tue 13-Oct-15 21:07:14

Well, he did start - and keep - screaming but we persevered and he did eventually go off. I hope it's easier tomorrow sad

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