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Would spending more time in her bedroom before bed help 2year old sleep?

(7 Posts)
JaniceButterbrain Tue 22-Nov-16 20:03:57

2 year old DD doesn't much care for her bedtime story, it was a long time before she ever sat still on my knee and listened the whole way through. She rarely does now. We always read it downstairs because as a baby she was used to going up to a dark room and straight in the cot. Our bathroom is downstairs so teeth and book are before we head up to a dark bedroom. Once upstairs I cuddle her and leave her for 5 mins saying I'll be back to check on her. She often used to fall asleep then HA! This was so long ago I barely remember it! Then I come back and if awake I would sing to her. She used to have milk then but now has that downstairs. She used to fall asleep in my arms if this happened and then I'd put her in the cot. Now she is in a bed and after/whilst I sing she usually falls asleep cuddling me or rarely with me just next to the bed.

I realise I could be a sleep association and that's why she doesn't sleep through. She used to self-settle for me though half the time and would still wake. Now she only self-settles for DH whilst I'm at work but she still wakes up. She really wants comfort when she does.

I am wondering if going up to a dark bedroom is no longer a good idea. I have always been reluctant to change this because as I say she doesn't listen to her story half the time and I can imagine her charging round her bedroom if I had the light on. But maybe it would help her feel more secure in her bedroom and more comforted? Maybe in bed she would listen?

What do you think? I am so tired all the time I find it really hard to think what I could be doing differently. I just feel so lost with it all sometimes

FATEdestiny Tue 22-Nov-16 20:39:19

It shouldn't matter how long you spend in her room before her sleep. I often take my 2 year old up to her room and just put her into a sleeping bag, kiss nan night, switch light off and leave. I can do that in about 30 seconds without any noise or fuss from her.

Did you say she's in a bed rather than a cot? That might be her problem. Children get a lot of emotional security from the cot enclosed feeling.

Personally I wouldn't go in after a set amount of time. Shes old enough to have learnt to wait for you, so she could deliberately be staying awake rather than settling to sleep.

I would explain to her you will stay upstairs until asleep, but won't come into the room. Then pop to the doorway every few minutes shushing so she knows you are still there. Over time lengthen the time you look in the doorway. Shes then learning to go to sleep on her own.

JaniceButterbrain Wed 23-Nov-16 10:03:25

Okay thanks, appreciate the idea as can't seem to think straight.

I put her in a bed because on waking she absolutely had to be out of the cot and touching me. Would not be settled in the cot but would try to use me as a mattress in the chair, clearly not comfortable as she's too big now. She could do this for an hour and a half. Sometimes she would agree she was not able to get comfy on me and go back in the cot and then fall asleep. But mostly not. I tried the bed so I could get physically close to her whilst her still remaining where she was. Night wakings haven't changed at all but usually she settles quicker with a cuddle than when I had to get her in and out of cot. It was my hope I might then be able to do gradual retreat or something.

It's obvious to me now that I am trying to tweak little things rather than address the bigger problem of how she falls asleep. Thanks

JaniceButterbrain Wed 23-Nov-16 10:24:47

The problem is definately me in that DH tucks her in, says he has to go downstairs to look after the dog and she accepts it and goes to sleep on her own 3 nights a week whilst I'm at work. If I'm at home she won't even entertain him taking her up to bed. I'm a SAHM so she gets plenty of time with me in the day. Even so, when he does put her to bed she still wakes in the night. I have wondered about getting him to do bedtime for a week or 2 but not sure what my in the night plan would be so just plod on as is. Sorry to go on it's getting me down today as I am ill as well

Seeline Wed 23-Nov-16 10:32:32

I would try story time in bed - actually put her into bed and tuck her in before reading. Have soft lighting on rather than full lights. Sit near her so she can still see the pictures or whatever.
Does she have a night light during the night?
Once storey is finished, kiss, cuddle and lights out. Don't go back - she'll try to stay awake until you get there.

ElspethFlashman Wed 23-Nov-16 10:43:11

Honestly I think at 2 they'd just charge around the bedroom. Mine never cared for stories at that age either tbh. I didn't bother till they were older as it was wasted on them.

I'd pop her in bed with a bottle of warm water or similar and get the hell out of the room before it's finished, whilst she's distracted drinking it. Oh and let her have a toy of her choice in her hand as long as it's small. Make it a game to choose the toy.

These things just help you get out of the room. Since the room is dark they're not actually going to play with it. It just makes them think they can.

Once you're out of the room it's easier to do it your way. Put a stairgate on her door and go into her every time she calls, shhh her and retuck, then get the hell out again.

The object is to a) reassure her you're close by and B) not get stuck in the room!

2 years is a deadly time for sleep though as there's a sleep regression. All the transitions they're going through and add a heap of separation anxiety into it.

JaniceButterbrain Sat 26-Nov-16 21:25:50

Thanks ladies. We have a stairgate so just need to get the other side of it. I didn't realise there was another god awful regression at this age how I have hated those in the last two years. I have a virus and dreadul cough so I have been insisting on sitting next to dd with hand on back or arm when she goes to sleep rather than the full face touching cuddles she prefers cos leaning over makes me cough more -and she has slept better, & on waking has gone back to sleep quicker. Perhaps coincidence but makes me think it's worth persevering with getting a bit further away from her then going for reassurance from the gate.

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