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Toddler not going to sleep at bedtime

(27 Posts)
HoggleHoggle Mon 28-Mar-16 19:58:21

Ds is 2.3 and has started really messing about at bedtime. He used to be brilliant at just going to sleep once I left the room, but now we're up and down the stairs multiple times for up to an hour. I hate it - I want an evening to relax and eat my dinner in bloody peace!

I'm wondering whether we need to drop the nap. At the moment ds schedule is roughly:

6-6.30am wakes
12-2pm nap
7pm bedtime

I don't want bedtime to be later because I'm always in bed by 9 and I need those couple of hours of child free time. Im guessing the daytime sleep is the issue? He gets lots of fresh air and physical activity every day so I think things are fine from that point of view.

Any thoughts?!

Haggisfish Mon 28-Mar-16 20:00:42

Drop nap and stair gate across door?

zoemaguire Mon 28-Mar-16 20:05:24

We have the same issue. I thought dropping her nap would do it but sadly it hasn't made a blind bit of differencesad It's a phase - my eldest did this, though not the middle one, and it does pass, but in the meantime you have my sympathy!

HoggleHoggle Mon 28-Mar-16 20:06:46

Thanks both.

Zoe that's my concern tbh. I really don't want to get ds out of the habit of napping if it's not going to help the bedtime stuff. How long did your eldest do this for? Ds has been doing it for a month I'd say.

daisydalrymple Mon 28-Mar-16 20:08:31

Can you start by limiting the nap time? Just reduce it down by 15 mins and see if it makes a difference, then try another 15 mins after a few days if no change? What time would you say he goes to sleep in the evening now and how much night time sleep is he then getting?

LadyNymeriaGhost Mon 28-Mar-16 20:23:51

We went through this stage. We put a stair gate across the bedroom door, and ignored her shouting down the stairs. She either stomped around a bit then got bored and went back to bed, or started crying, at which point we went up, put her to bed, quick kiss and left. Minimal interaction. It's not as cruel as it sounds! As soon as she realised she wasn't missing anything interesting, she stopped bothering.

zoemaguire Mon 28-Mar-16 20:51:11

I'm afraid that info is lost in the mists of time toggle - she's 8 next week grin.

Quodlibet Mon 28-Mar-16 20:56:17

Mine was like this for a while, drove me spare. What has worked here is having a speaker in her room and audio stories on when she goes to bed. Not a peep - might take a while but she drifts off eventually.

ShinyShinyShiny Mon 28-Mar-16 20:57:42

We are right where you are and at the same age too.

DS used to go down like a dream and then wake all night, now he sleeps all night but takes ages to go down. He is the same whether he has napped or not (he's almost, but not quite, ready to stop daytime naps).

For the past few nights we have been really firm, no eye contact, give him his dummy and blanket back from the floor where he's thrown them, say "sleep time" and leave. It took 40 minutes the first night, 30 the second night and 20 minutes tonight.

I can't say we've cracked it but it's been less painful than we thought so far.

HeyMicky Mon 28-Mar-16 21:00:23

DD1 did this at the same age. We did rapid return as PP has described - back to bed, no talking, v little eye contact. Took about a week.

She still naps at 3.6 so it's not necessarily daytime sleep

Thethingswedoforlove Mon 28-Mar-16 21:17:13

Ride the phase out. Just keep being firm. Don't waver from the routine if you think it is the right one and it will all come good even if it takes another month or so.....happened to me with my youngest.

HoggleHoggle Mon 28-Mar-16 21:23:57

Thanks all so much. We are relatively firm in terms of not letting him faff too much - he doesn't come out of his room anymore etc. But he shouts 'mum' 'da' for ages and we deal with that in various ways so I think we need to decide on one consistent way to approach the moment we go in to check he's ok and see if he needs a teddy etc, tell him it's nighttime, but maybe that's too much interaction.

Daisy he's always in bed by 7pm...tonight he fell asleep around 7.45, which is fairly usual. He did go through a phase of it taking a couple of hours and he was running around upstairs like a maniac, but luckily that didn't last too long.

I think, although I'm not sure, that this problem started shortly after I had unscheduled surgery (ruptured ectopic) and ds was very affected by my change (ie was in bed recovering, not as hands on as usual). I think I was trying so hard to be really reassuring once I was better and giving him all the comfort he needed that the bedtime thing has sort of snowballed from there - he's been very clingy since.

daisydalrymple Mon 28-Mar-16 21:29:34

Oh that's good that he's asleep relatively quickly then, so possibly altering his lunchtime nap might not be the answer yet then, if he's still getting a good stretch.

Just a thought but would it be worth adding one extra story at bedtime (albeit a short one grin) - not sure bribes work at this early age, but you'll know your son if it might work to suggest stay in bed = extra story??

daisydalrymple Mon 28-Mar-16 21:32:33

flowers sorry for the ectopic, hope you've recovered physically now. I had an mmc between dcs 2&3, which took its toll emotionally x

HoggleHoggle Mon 28-Mar-16 21:39:04

Thanks daisy, it was horrendous but am trying to stay positive for the hopes of another dc!

Yes I think that could work in terms of a little bribery, he has 2 stories atm so I might shift the second one to once he's in bed, as cajoling him into bed atm is trying in itself.

I was also wondering about whether a gro-clock could help to just solidify the 'it's night time' approach - though to be fair he knows it's time for sleep but he wants me in the room constantly!

Ifiwasabadger Mon 28-Mar-16 21:47:14

Not sure it's day time sleep, mine same age still naps for .3 hours and is out like a light.

She has been faffing recently at bedtime but it helps that we still have the side on the cot...she can't get out of bed smile

daisydalrymple Mon 28-Mar-16 21:57:25

I remember ds1 being clingy at bedtime for a long time, and when dd arrived I bought him a special teddy off mummy and cut a little square off the belt of my dressing gown for him, so he knew he always had a bit of me if I wasn't in the room. Sounds bonkers now grin but he's still got the little square in his sock drawer (just turned 9!). Dc3 however is 17mo and another story altogether [huge sigh] I feel your prolonged bedtime pain! Very delayed diagnosis of dairy intolerance at 9mo, by which time the disturbed evenings were already set in stone.

Babytalkobsession Mon 28-Mar-16 22:13:41

Our DS is 2 & 4 months and went through this exact thing starting a few months ago. It's got better by following a very matter-of-fact approach.

We'd got into a habit of running his back, cuddling for ages etc. Now it's story or puzzle, then we say 'bye bye light', into bed for twinkle twinkle. If he messes around I just say fine, but mummy's tired now so I'm going. That usually prompts him to hop into bed and beg for twinkle! After a couple of songs I say 'right mummy needs a wee wee, you stay here I won't be long'...and then don't come back haha. Seems to work!

I do find if he has a day time nap he is much harder so we try to keep him awake in the day. Tbh he was only napping in the car anyway, impossible to get him down in his bed at home for a nap.

Jw35 Mon 28-Mar-16 22:52:35

I've noticed a rise in posts about bedtime issues and early risers and it must be the daylight being longer! Do you have blackout blinds? Kids sleeping patterns tend to change in the spring/summer months.
Personally I wouldn't drop the nap at this age, I don't think an overtired toddler will go to bed any easier!

zoemaguire Tue 29-Mar-16 00:10:57

Off the sleep topic - sorry to hear about the ectopicsad Stay positive - I had an ectopic back in 2007, and have had three kids since! The odds are overwhelmingly in your favour. I used to use the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust boards a lot at the time, and there were very few of us who weren't pregnant again within the year.

xinchao Tue 29-Mar-16 00:17:37

I have just started another thread, mainly about early rising. My DS2.5 also doing similar before going to sleep. We tried rapid return, no eye contact etc but it didn't work. He thought it was a game. Now we use a stair gate and lock the other rooms upstairs so he just runs around his room and eventually goes to sleep.

It is the 4am wake up I am struggling with now...

HoggleHoggle Tue 29-Mar-16 06:59:55

Thanks again all...will keep the nap for now but might look into limiting it slightly, will see how it goes.

Zoe thank you, that's a really lovely thing to hear. We are about to start ttc again so am crossing fingers x

Jw he does have a blackout blind but the room is definitely lighter than it was which I'm sure isn't helping.

HippyPottyMouth Tue 29-Mar-16 07:43:07

We had similar with DD (2.5) a couple of weeks ago. Running about instead of going to sleep, waking early, but an absolute grotbag if she doesn't have her nap, which is 45 minutes to an hour straight after lunch. We had to grit our teeth and put bedtime back half an hour, which has fixed it.

Frazzled2207 Tue 29-Mar-16 08:01:50

We had almost exactly this, same age too. We think we've cracked it...
He now naps for one hour max( we wake him), though he actually rarely napped for more than 90m previously.
We did rapid return - sometimes putting him back 30+ times!- and essentially that didn't work, he saw it as a game.
What we then did was gate on door and left him to grizzle for a few minutes (5 or so, luckily he never got hysterical, just cried a bit at the gate). Then put him back (no fussing just put him back, said goodnight and left). It has taken about three weeks to sort and sometimes we had to let him grizzle twice but he's stopped doing it nowsmile

JeanGenie23 Tue 29-Mar-16 08:55:36


I don't know what you do to wind down before bed, but we found if DD watched in the night garden like most her friends, it would send her crazy, almost over stimulate her, so she has her bath and we read story in a dimly lit room and then I say goodnight and leave with lullabies playing.

Could you try the gro clocks? Typically they are used to keep a child in bed the following morning, but would your Ds understand if you have one in his room and tell him when the moon is up its time for sleep and not time to play?

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