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is sleep training harder the older they are?

(15 Posts)
VaseandCandle Mon 26-Oct-15 01:37:51

Currently on night 5 of keeping DS in his cot overnight. He is just 2.

I've seen limited improvement over the 5 days. He has been up for 2 hours now. Everything I read pointed to improvements in sleep after a few days.

Any experiences? What I can do better?

For background, he has never been a great sleeper and was previously coming in with me when he woke. Even then he would wake for hours at a time - restless, whinging, pulling my hair.

captainproton Mon 26-Oct-15 02:18:47

Hmmm we are sleep training ds who is a little over 2. He sleeps in a toddler bed and would hate a cot. We've figured out he's scared of the dark, which means we keep the light in now.

I'm trying to tire him out during the day and not let him nap for ages. I sit on a chair by the bedroom door reading my book not engaging whilst he spends up to an hour rolling about, trying to get my attention and being a sod. It's been 2 weeks and we've come along way from having to lay next to him stroking his face until he was asleep. Then I slowly made it out of the door. Next step is to sit out of sight on the landing.

It's taking forever but I will not let him cry it out. Baby is due new year I pray we are all sorted by then.

My dd was never like this, I think it's just who they are and nothing we can do about it.

I fully expect him to walk in here any minute. See I'm already awake in anticipation!

VaseandCandle Mon 26-Oct-15 07:50:03

Hope your DS didn't wake last night.

Thanks for your reply...sounds like I have a long road. Last night my husband ended up lying on the bedroom floor holding DS's hand until he finally drifted off.

I've thought about taking the sides off but figured it would be even harder to keep him in bed. Is it?

mintbiscuit Mon 26-Oct-15 12:23:42

The older they are, the harder they fall! Although I think baby's temperament also factors in. At 2 they can last a lot longer whereas younger babies usually don't have the energy to protest about going to sleep a different way for as long.

You mention that you've read you should see improvements in a few days but it's unclear from your post what method you are using. Cio extinction method will get you results in a few days. Controlled crying/soothing (where you go in and soothe every x mins ) will take slightly longer. Gradual withdrawal will take weeks but is gentler for parents and child.

You need to choose a method that you are comfortable with and stick with it. Be aware that results will vary on the method you use. Personally I think it will take a long time for GW to work with a 2 year old so it depends on your patience and how distressed dc gets with it. I ST ds2 at 14 months as GW prolonged the crying and i was seeing minimal improvements. I took the CC route and saw results after 3 days with less crying overall than GW (although it is hard listening to crying when you are in another room rather than there with them). Haven't done cio as I didn't have the stomach for it. If you do CC you must only go in to reassure for 1 or 2 mins and leave the room until next time interval. Even if baby is still crying. If you stay longer it defeats what you are trying to achieve, sends mixed messages and prolongs the process.

I would be inclined to leave dc in cot for ST at this age. I think it's safer (assuming they cannot climb) out and sends a consistent message to them that it is where they must sleep.

captainproton Mon 26-Oct-15 13:44:23

Hi Vase, yes he woke up, and came into our room. DH guided him back to bed, laid down next to him held his hand and he drifted off again within 5 minutes.

so far it's an improvement and there has been no crying. I can't do CC or CIO, he gets in such a state and also he shares his room with his sister who is 3. When he cries she gets upset for him.

Kids got to love them!

VaseandCandle Mon 26-Oct-15 15:11:29

I don't know if my method has a name.....when he wakes I don't go in if he is whinging. Occasionally I might call out to him that he needs to cuddle his teddy bear and go to sleep - that seems to quietens him. Then, if he really kicks off I go in and cuddle him in the cot and help him lie down and sometimes (depending on how sad he is) I or my husband lie with him until he is fast asleep.

For example, last night, from 12 to 1am, he grizzled on and off for an hour, with quiet times of about 10 mins in between. At about 1am, he started getting angry, and about 1.45am after a lot of crying, my husband went to him and stayed there until DS fell asleep at about 2.30am.

Sometimes, DS falls asleep himself following the grizzling, other times (like last night), he gets worked up. I can't bring myself to leave him when he is sobbing. Also, we have to leave the house by 7.30am in the morning, so if he has been up for several hours, I just need him to get back to sleep what ever way possible or he will be exhausted for the day.

Another worry....he used to go to sleep at 7.30pm with no problems, but now he is starting to say he doesn't like his bed. I don't want to make him scared of his bed!

Am I doing it all wrong?

mintbiscuit Mon 26-Oct-15 16:23:13

Nothing wrong with your approach at all as you are responding to your child's needs when you feel he really needs you! However, if this approach is causing you and dh problems due to lack of sleep/interrupted sleep then you may have more success with a CC approach. But you really have to do what you feel is right for you and your child in the long term.

The reason you are not seeing results as quickly as you'd like is probably down to you sending mixed messages. If dc protests long enough he know someone will come. Totally appreciate that you want to get him to sleep as quick as possible to minimise OT. If you do want to try a more structured approach such as CC i would suggest tackling on a long weekend. So maybe taking one or 2 days off of work either side of weekend so you are not as stressed about time.

I'm also a firm believer in looking not just how babies settle but also how much sleep they are getting in a 24 hr period. Not enough sleep leads to nap/bedtime resistance and night wakings. At 2 yrs I would expect 12 hrs av sleep a night and 1 to 2 hr nap. If you have to leave the house by 7.30am when is wake up time for dc? Is there a chance he needs an earlier bedtime? Say around 6.30pm? Does he nap ok?

Queendedede Mon 26-Oct-15 17:01:56

Sleep foundation recommends 11-14hrs for a two year old within 24hrs so don't worry if they aren't sleeping for 12hrs at night.

VaseandCandle Mon 26-Oct-15 19:23:40

Ah, the more I talk the worse it seems... Before the decision to keep him in his own bed DS was an early weaker, usually 5, which became 5.30 (more manageable) when we switched his bed time from 7 to 7.30. He no where near gets enough sleep, even when he was coming in with me he was waking in the night for long stretches. He barely naps in the day. I noticed how tired he looked today. It's sad to see.

The only saving grace with his sleep was I could put him to bed at 7.30 and he would go straight to sleep. Since we have started operation own bed, that is failing too. Just had big sobs before bed, but thankfully quiet now.

Part of me wishes I hadn't started this, but I know I am being unfair to DS if I don't do all I can to help him get a proper nights sleep in the long term. Just wish I knew what to expect.

Queendedede Mon 26-Oct-15 19:47:46

Could you try to encourage more nap? My 18mo is a frequent night waker but asleep by 7pm and has a 2hr nap in the day to ensure he gets enough sleep overall.

mintbiscuit Mon 26-Oct-15 20:16:46

Hm... with the additional info you've provided it does sound like it could be overtiredness combined with the inability to sleep independently/self settle.

Could you move bedtime earlier? To at least 6.30 or 6 if you can? Also try to get ds down for a nap after lunch if you can. Appreciate naps are a lot harder than night sleep though!

Think you and dh may need to form a cunning plan to crack this if it's causing lack of sleep for ds and yourselves. Keep posting if it helps!

Believeitornot Mon 26-Oct-15 20:56:58

We always sit with ours for bedtime until they slept because it was more important that they slept than how they got there. They're 6&nearly 4 now. They both were awful sleepers but much better now.

We still sit with them until they sleep but they're asleep in about 10 mins. We have been working, occasionally, on leaving them for a bit (they share) until they sleep. They seem to be fine.

Sleep training was far too stressful. It helped a bit but now we're happy with how things are as are the kids.

Believeitornot Mon 26-Oct-15 20:58:49

I should add, they can self settle - eg if they wake up for a wee they will go back to sleep without us there (I usually say I'm going to the toilet myself, leave them to it and they drift off). And they sleep through - only wake up for the toilet or sickness or bad dreams.

VaseandCandle Tue 27-Oct-15 06:02:57

Thanks very much to everyone for their advice.

DS is still asleep now and has been all night! Hope this is the start of a beautiful new era but I won't believe it until we have this for many nights running.

Queendedede Tue 27-Oct-15 07:52:03

Must be something in the air, my DS did a 6hr stretch last night - he hasn't done that for months! (And was very welcome after being up every 1.5hrs the night before.....)

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