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Toddler screaming at bedtime - keeping baby awake

(16 Posts)
weeblueberry Mon 21-Dec-15 19:49:29

Through necessity our 2.8mo is now in a toddler bed. Most nights she falls asleep during story time so all is ok but some nights, like tonight, she hasn't. And she's screaming bloody murder at her bedroom door. I nurse the baby to sleep at half seven but she absolutely will not settle while toddler is wailing.

Our house is quite small so not sure what to do to stop this? Ideally I don't want to go down the route of staying in her room until she's asleep every night because I'm often on my own with them both and can't really do that.

Any suggestions?

FATEdestiny Mon 21-Dec-15 21:41:27

When she was in a cot, was she able to be put down awake and go to sleep on her own then?

She really should be able to go to sleep without your presence at this age. But children do need to feel comforted in order to feel secure enough to relax and go to sleep. So not in your presence, has your DD learnt ways of developing her own comfort and security? Maybe a dummy and special teddy. Or thumb sucking and blankie?

I wonder if the problem is that you are the comfort she needs to feel secure enough to go to sleep. This is why she needs your presence. You are present as she is having a story, for example. That's not very good for independent sleeping really. So long term, you need to work on establishing something very special and very, very important to her so that she gains comfort and security from it. Be it a pillow case or a teddy or whatever it is - you need to make a massive fuss about this thing so that she recognises it is very, very special and important because it is her comfort that will keep her safe and secure and help her sleep.

In addition I would do baby's bedtime first, ensure baby is settled and asleep so that you can focus all of your attention on your toddler and her bedtime.

weeblueberry Mon 21-Dec-15 22:14:27

Thank you. Until very recently (toilet training) and the introduction of the bed, she could self soothe. In fact she's been doing it well since about 10 months. She has a dummy at night now but she's aware her dummies are 'being given to santa' this week. She seems happy about this. She's getting to an age where she's commented on feeling scared and when my partner has slept in the room with her, has noted she's waking from nightmares occasionally. I think she's just getting to an age where she can extrapolate 'bad scenarios' in her head and things get bigger than they are.

I'm happy to do the baby's routine then move to the toddler's. The problem still stands though that if the toddler screams to buggery, it wakes the baby and then I have two crying kids to deal with. This evening we employed the 'back to bed, no communication' tactic and she settled within 30 minutes. Went in to check on her and she was curled up in bed. We've made a big deal about her duck night light being special and keeping away bad things but she's just counted it with 'but it's just a light!!'. She's not daft. sad

Will consider what you've said though. I appreciate it.smile

Artandco Mon 21-Dec-15 22:16:29

I would just bring baby to living room with you anyway until you go to bed. Baby will
Need another feed before you go to bed anyway

GothicRainbow Mon 21-Dec-15 22:20:02

Is she still napping? We sit in with our 2.5 year old DS and until about 2 months ago he was a nightmare to put to bed, lots of mucking about, including tears and tantrums - we'd be sat in his room for up to 2 hours some nights.

He's now of his own accord dropped his naps and he's out like a in 10-20mins so now being in his room with him whilst he falls asleep is absolutely not an issue.

My second is due in March and will be tackling bedtime on my own. I'm really hoping I can settle baby first then pop my DS to bed so I can wait in with him - we shall see how well this works though!!

weeblueberry Mon 21-Dec-15 23:53:36

The baby doesn't always have a feed before we go to bed. And the light and sound keep her awake and disturb her (we've not been previous in this regard - she's just a light sleeper).

Toddler isn't napping anymore and the days she falls asleep quickly are when she's had no sleep. Even if she gets ten minutes lip in the car we tend to get a night like tonight.

weeblueberry Mon 21-Dec-15 23:53:54

Kip not lip!!

SouthernComforter Tue 22-Dec-15 02:59:05

I had this last night but the other way round! Thought I'd left baby napping in his bouncy chair but could hear him screaming while I read 2.5yo stories. My toddler could hear it too and dragged bedtime out because he was getting the attention. I had to pot him in a sleeping bag in the end. I've found my toddler's need for attention - and thus playing up - has got worse since the baby arrived 6weeks ago. I'm hoping it will pass as I tend to snap more easily as I'm tired and do most of it by myself. Xx

HeyMicky Tue 22-Dec-15 03:24:00

Sounds like rapid return is working if she settled in 30 mins. Tedious but it will get quicker. Keep going.

What about some out and out bribes? Stay in bed and go to sleep nicely and have a sweetie in the morning. DD1 was a bit younger than this but got a smartie as soon as she came into our room in the morning if she had stayed in bed the precious evening. Only took a week or so to develop the habit

weeblueberry Tue 22-Dec-15 09:20:57

She's not bothered for rewards sadly. She's been promised treats for various things but when she's in the throes of tantrum she doesn't care about anything. We remind her about the treat she's missing out on but she doesn't care. When she wakes she generally asks about it but when we explain she can't have it she whinges for a couple of minutes but that's it.

weeblueberry Tue 22-Dec-15 09:31:49

BTW is there more to rapid return than 'take them back to bed without any communication, put back in bed, continue til they stay'? I'm getting varied information online. Is it a Supernanny thing?

Artandco Tue 22-Dec-15 10:05:30

I would not expect baby to sleep before toddler does.

When I had both what we would do is get both ready for bed ie washed/ clean nappy/ pjs. Then take both to bedroom. We would then read to both at the same time whilst feeding baby if needed. Then once toddler asleep, bring baby to the living room and settle them to sleep in there a few hours. Then semi wake baby and feed again just before we went to bed and take them with us.

For toddler no looking at the pictures in the book at bedtime only in the day. So they are laid down, with eyes closed whilst you read the story and they listen. Then they fall asleep whilst you read as eyes already closed and no pictures to keep them awake! Make it a long slow voice reading so they get bored to sleep! Can read one short book downstairs before in bed if you like with pictures so they get both.

Chopz Tue 22-Dec-15 10:09:30

Let her look at books with very low lighting while in bed while you put the little one to sleep.

weeblueberry Tue 22-Dec-15 21:55:26

The problem putting the toddler down first is that her bedtime is more unpredictable than the baby's. 95% of the time she falls asleep during the book we're reading and it's fine. The other times though she screams bloody murder. When she was consistently falling asleep during her story I always put her down first. Even the baby garbling away didn't keep her awake. But when she wont go to sleep and the baby starts mithering because she needs to go to sleep it's difficult and I get stressed which I'm sure they pick up on.

I've also tried to leave her with books in low lighting but she panics and wants to come and be with us in the bedroom.

This is very much a phase I suspect. She was never previously like this - there's something bothering her that's recent but she still needs to stay in her bed either way. I suspect that I am her safety net but I have to move her away from that because I'm often alone with the two of them and if they both are awake and crying it makes bedtime very stressful.

Artandco Tue 22-Dec-15 21:57:25

Can you just settle them both in your big bed together, then move them later if you want or just leave them there?

weeblueberry Tue 22-Dec-15 21:58:58

Tried that too - toddler won't settle and tends to get up and try and put lamp on etc. Then the baby gets restless and can't go to sleep because there's too much going on. If that would work I'd be all for it, even temporarily!

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