The seventh circle of hell (bedtime)(8 Posts)
My dd is 22 months and her sleep has always been rubbish. I got a sleep consultant to help when she was around 10 months but this didn't help much. My dd defied all usual conventions- when I started to implement a new routine (putting in cot awake, not feeding to sleep etc) she was absolutely fine for the first few nights then gradually got more and more upset as the nights went on. I think the sleep consultant was a bit baffled!
Anyway, we have muddled through since then. I have always understood that consistency is key but dd doesn't seem to agree. I would faithfully try an approach (eg cuddling to sleep, putting down in cot sleepy but awake, having dd in bed with me) and this would work amazingly for a while but then would gradually get less and less effective no matter how consistent I was with it. Whatever approach I have used eventually has ended up with it taking 2 hours to get dd to sleep. After a week or so of this I am at the end of my rope so I try something different and it's like a miracle, it will work fantastically for a short period of time then gradually it stops working.
So. Dd was going down in her cot really well for maybe the last month. She would even ask to go to bed when she was tired. But the last few nights she has completely resisted going to sleep, is bouncing around singing songs, falling over and whacking her head on the bars, completely dicking around basically. I have been ignoring her unless she is really upset whereby I will comfort her briefly an then leave her to get on with it. I don't talk, no eye contact etc. But it is taking hours for her to go down! I usually stay in the room but tonight I was so frustrated I had to leave her for a bit and she screamed blue murder. I have tried leaving her to cry for a little on occasion as another approach (I've tried them all) but she doesn't ever seen to calm down and if she does she always has a very poor nights sleep- I feel like it makes her really insecure and this is not conducive to her being calm enough to go to sleep and then stay asleep when she stirs in the night.
She naps fine in the day, either in te buggy, at nursery or at home in her cot. Until the last few days I could tell her it was nap time, stick her in her cot and she would just roll over and fall straight asleep. But now she is resistant to napping at home. She usually naps from around 12-1.30, any later than this and she won't go down at bedtime. Bedtime is usually 8pm.
I've wondered about her being overtired at bedtime so I could try bringing it forwards, although this time has suited her fine until now. I also wondered about dropping her nap but I don't think she is ready as she will fall asleep standing up before 3pm and then won't go down until midnight.
I would be so grateful for any help or advice!
I think the nap needs to go, and you will have to go through the tricky phase of her giving it up!
Go out for a drive in the car at noon and let her have 15 mins max to make it through to 7pm?
I wonder if she is overtired actually I wouldn't drop the nap personally as I think it could
Worse! Could you introduce a reward system for good bedtime?
Waaahhh! I was hoping you weren't going to say that, I love my lunch break! Ok, I will deffo try waking her after 15 mins, that's a good idea to let her have a really small nap because keeping her awake when she wants to go to sleep is as impossible as making her sleep when she doesn't want to.
Ah, ok so maybe I get to keep my lunch break for a bit longer
A reward system could work although if it's not immediate I don't know if she will understand? I've tried stickers with other things and she's not fussed but chocolate buttons work a treat. Do you think she would associate it with the night before though?
She might be too young but you never know, we had a marble jar and she got a marble for a good bedtime and a toy if we hit 10 marbles. 20 months is very young to drop a nap I think!
Marbles in a jar sounds great, I will try that, thank you!
I'd also not rush to drop the nap and I'd follow your instinct to bring bedtime forward a bit... she may well be overtired.
I like Sarah Ockwell Smith's gentle approach to bedtime (https://sarahockwell-smith.com) and it really helped us. Basically I brought dinner time forward to about 5 / 5:30 to give a good wind down time, quiet play after this, sometimes a bath, then always pjs, clean teeth, stories and bed by 7 / 7:30. I lay with them until sleep, so OK I'm not able to put them down and leave them to it but sleep usually comes quite quickly so on average it probably works out better as I don't get those two hour battles either. As time goes on I can see lo getting more and more independent and able to relax and sleep without my help.
Funnily enough only this afternoon someone posted an article of hers about reward charts too, which are not necessarily a great idea: m.huffpost.com/uk/entry/9827014
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