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HELP!! Three year doesn't want to go to sleep alone and I need to get him into a bed too

(10 Posts)
nextchapterplease Tue 30-Aug-16 20:50:08

Aargh we have got ourselves into a real mess with DS. He has always been a tricky sleeper with 18 months of poor sleep before we got him sorted and has always woken more in the night than his older sister.
We moved house two weeks ago and I had delayed moving him from his cot to a bed as I thought it would be easier to wait until we were settled in the new place.
He has however for the last week started to get really upset at bedtime - initially asking for the door open/ lights on - to now saying he doesn't want to sleep in his bed and asking to sleep with me and DH.
He gets really distressed. And at nap time yesterday and early this morning finally realised he can hurl himself out of the cot.
So we now have to bite the bullet and try to migrate him to a bed as well as fix the unhappiness to settle.
We have definitely contributed to the problem as we have been out of routine a lot - and he got very overtired napping in the car and not in his cot - but that can't be undone!
I have resorted to staying with him as he falls asleep over the weekend as we had visitors - but of course then he wanted that in the middle of the night too..
I feel a bit like I don't know where to start as I know how different it will be to his sister. Can anyway give me some wisdom on getting through this without too any tears all round and not too many evenings lost to carting him back to bed every two seconds ?
I know he will be excited at the big boys bed - but how can I make him stay in it??
Or even dare I hope that feeling in control that he can get up if he needs to he might actually be happier to go to bed?
Thanks in advance

Nuggy2013 Tue 30-Aug-16 20:51:07

Shamelessly following for same reasons

nextchapterplease Tue 30-Aug-16 21:08:16

Even that makes me feel a bit better Nuggy !
Just realised how long my OP was.
Fingers crossed we get some answers

FATEdestiny Tue 30-Aug-16 21:14:23

So he's probably really unsettled from the new house, new bedroom - it's all a bit scary.

Add into that his routine has changed and yes over tired, it's really quite understanding that he's had this hiccup. But that's all it is, a brief hiccup. Give him some grace and you'll get his sleeping back to how it was.

Given all the change, I really wouldn't change cut to bed yet. It'll add to your problems. Plus the change is best done at a time you think it's right, not because your hand is forced due to poor behaviour.

That's all we have here. Poor behaviour and a bit of nerves cos of the new room. It's not a sleep issue, it's a behaviour issue.

So firstly, get his routine back to normal. As structured and 'normal' as possible.

Then make the room as non-scary as possible. Embrace open doors and night lights on. A new dimmer switch for the overhead light might help. Easy to fit and cheap.

Tell him off about launching himself from the cot. Be cross about it. Treat it as any other poor behaviour that is dangerous. Establish instant rewards for staying in cot - you can have a biscuit when in morning if you stay in your cot, for example.

Once you've got all this in place, I'd start the process of zero tolerance of bad bedtime behaviour rapid return.

Develop a cover-all mantra that you repeat at bedtime. "It's sleep time, you lie down quietly to sleep, Nan night". After bedtime routine, put to bed, say the mantra, leave.

Give it a few mins. If he's shouting, if he's not lying down, back in. Repeat the mantra, leave. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Every night, every nighttime wake up, every nap time. It's about consistency. It's a battle of wills. It won't take long if you're consistent. Less than a week.

nextchapterplease Tue 30-Aug-16 22:02:46

Thanks so much FATEdestiny - you sound like the kind of parent I aspire to being - but in reality I am a total soft touch .
Really good food for thought as I know you are right about routine and consistency.
I didn't actually put in the OP but his behaviour has been poor too - it's chicken and egg when they are over tired . But he has been pushing boundaries galore so I am sure you are right about the behaviour issue.
I suppose we have been wrapped up in the move, maybe not giving enough attention and I have just felt heartbroken by his distress at bedtime.
Also we don't have the school / nursery routines at the moment which probably makes it harder on all of us.
Am definitely going to wait a few nights on the bed change at least.
Thank you

isthistoonosy Tue 30-Aug-16 22:06:51

If it helps you feel.better ours has always self settled but for similar reasons we have had to take her put of the cot at 19mo the and we've exactly the same problem.
I know o ha e to do cc but cant face the hassel with a3 yr old on the same room. I'm just hoping once her cold ends things will get better.

Nuggy2013 Tue 30-Aug-16 22:07:01

Am feeling your pain. 8 months pregnant with DC2 and only way DD1 will go to sleep is if I lie with her. In a kingsize bed. Whilst me and DH blow dust off her toddler cotbed!!! Totally our fault but will defo try tips on here!!!

WalrusGumboot Wed 31-Aug-16 06:17:44

I'm going through this too. Sadly is not a quick fix, for us anyway. After a few weeks of placing ds back in bed every time he gets out I think he's got that message but I'm now doing gradual withdrawal method on the advice of hv as he also will no longer go to sleep without me.

nextchapterplease Wed 31-Aug-16 07:58:35

Thanks for more replies - nuggy I really feel for you the added pressure of pregnancy / a new arrival would make things much harder - I am grateful I at least have one champion sleeper who causes few disturbed nights.
I hate it when I know I am in part creating the problem but just don't know how to avoid it.
Anyway this thread has strengthened my resolve not to let things spiral.
We have had a minor breakthrough that DH seems to be allowed to leave the room while I am not so for now he is on night duty smile
And I am going to try to stick with the cot a while longer - he didn't try to climb last night.

InsaneDame Wed 31-Aug-16 08:05:42

I agree that there has been too much change and just because he catapulted out of the cot once or twice doesn't mean he will do it again in a hurry. I moved my 2.4 year old into a bed four nights ago but made a point of everything else staying exactly the same. Bed time routine the same, same books, same songs etc and fingers crossed he hasn't tried to get out of bed once so far (even though he spends the whole day popping in and out of it!) He just knows that at bedtime you stay in bed. That is what you need to teach but first do what you can to help him feel more settled in theue new house then consider the change to a bed later. Good luck!

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