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Will 2 yo ever NOT cry himself to sleep??

(37 Posts)
Popskipiekin Wed 07-Dec-16 21:41:39

DS1 is 2.2. We have a lovely bedtime routine of bath, milk, teeth, 3 stories and into bed, by latest 7.30pm (we often don't get home with him until 6.30). He knows that we say goodnight once he's in his cot and I often get a very cheerful "night night" from him. But as I turn to go he clings to me, tries to prevent me closing the door etc. I gently disentangle myself, tell him night night again and close the door. He's just standing in his cot as he won't lie down, and he cries as soon as the door closes. Not for that long but it breaks my heart every time. He then sleeps very well till morning, unless he's ill.
What age did your preschool DC stop crying when you said goodnight? Should I expect tears as standard until he's 3/4/5...later?? Thanks!

InsaneDame Thu 08-Dec-16 07:38:45

I expect it's just become part of the routine for him. Some kids need to do not to let off a bit of steam, some are overtired and some are genuinely sad that the day has ended and they have to say goodbye to you until morning (especially if he doesn't see you in the day). My 2 year old is happy singing to himself until he drops off but I'm a SAHM so he sees plenty of me. I still get the whole 'I need a drink/a wee/my bed is going wrong' to delay bedtime occasionally. It's normal. As to when yours will stop... Who knows. I guess on day he just won't do it!

Popskipiekin Thu 08-Dec-16 23:40:36

Thanks for the reply! Yes you're probably right that it has something to do with not seeing much of us during the day. He absolutely loves his nursery but of course would want to prolong the evening time with us if he could. It happens at weekends though too... ah well, he's happy enough in the morning and it's not stopping him sleeping at any rate. I'd just like to say goodnight to my toddler without him crying sad

Highlove Fri 09-Dec-16 11:53:16

What happens if you go back in and give him a cuddle? That's what I'd do if my toddler was crying.

SoftSheen Fri 09-Dec-16 12:01:09

Just cuddle him to sleep. He is very little and he probably needs more contact with you- don't leave him to cry.

Popskipiekin Fri 09-Dec-16 13:09:46

If we go back in he is elated, hyper even, giggly and happy to see us. There's a series of "games" we had been drawn into playing with him in the past (like his teddy bear kissing me, then DS, then me; then teddy has to hide, then we find him, etc etc) which I did initially because it made him happy (made me laugh too!) and bedtime was easier but it was so drawn out and I felt not exactly sleep-conducive so I've phased out any games like that because I don't want the going-to-bed part of bedtime to take half an hour... You make me feel I'm being very mean to leave him sad blush. But we really aren't talking long. Our cut-off is 10 mins - we would go in at that stage but it never ever lasts that long. (I do realise even 5 mins of crying would be 5 mins too long for many parents.)

But but but - you are making me think that maybe we should do a softly-softly approach for a few nights. Leave for 1 min, go in to reassure, then 2 mins etc? All I want is to help him feel happier to fall asleep by himself.

lightcola Fri 09-Dec-16 13:14:27

I think it depends on the cry. Is it a genuine upset cry with tears? My 3 yo has perfected the fake cry. If it's genuine sadness I'd be inclined to comfort, but if it's a fake cry I'd go in to check after a couple of minutes to show him I'm still here if he needs me (but don't engage with play) v

evilharpy Fri 09-Dec-16 13:19:43

SoftSheen not all children can be cuddled to sleep. Mine never could even as a tiny baby.

lightcola Fri 09-Dec-16 13:20:47

Also what do you do the hour between getting home and bed time? Do you make sure you spend it all with him, cuddles, playing, reading stories etc. So he gets a parent fix before bed.

QuilliamCakespeare Fri 09-Dec-16 13:25:22

Why would you let him? confused

Mountainhighchair Fri 09-Dec-16 13:27:53

Just cuddle him to sleep.

My 9mo woke up last night and cried. I went to him and picked him up for a cuddle. He got hysterical. I put him back down and he was back to sleep in minutes.

Not all babies and young children can be cuddled to sleep, contrary to popular belief. I have one who wouldn't be fed to sleep either.

littledinaco Fri 09-Dec-16 13:28:42

I agree with softsheen. They are only little once and you'll never get this time back. Even if you don't cuddle him, sit/stay with him. Don't get drawn into any play, just say 'no playing,it's bedtime' or similar. 5/10 minutes is a long time to cry, not too bad as a one off but if it's every night it sounds like he needs you. It sounds like your instincts are telling you it's not right otherwise you wouldn't have posted.

Popskipiekin Fri 09-Dec-16 13:45:21

Thank you so much for all responses. You are right dinaco that this doesn't sit well with me but we've left him to fall asleep by himself for a long time now - up to 6 months old we were patting, shhhing, singing but it could go on for 40 mins at a time and one day we just tried to see what would happen if we didn't stay, and it was so much better. But - I still don't like the fact that he cries at all. Yet I wonder if it's so unusual - after all, you're little and being shut in a dark room (we tried a night light but he screamed for us to switch it off), that would make anyone cry, right? And that's why I was asking if other parents experience the same.

Any time between home and bed is 100% spent with us - after all, we've missed him too! We play, have a snack together if he's hungry, sing songs etc, have a lovely relaxed bath time and stories. It's total focus on him.

He really does (go to) sleep better by himself - we could never get co-sleeping to work, he hated it, and even now when he's unwell and we sit with him he is restless and eventually sleeps much better when we don't fuss around him.

So this has left us feeling he is better by himself, ultimately. I just don't want him to be upset if I can help him not to be. But maybe like insanedame said it's just what he does, has a little cry and that's that?

Inthenick Fri 09-Dec-16 13:50:17

My littlest one can be crying a bit (12 months) and if I try to cuddle her she gets hysterical as she wants to be left alone and me being there enrages her when she's trying to settle.

My 2.3 yr old would NOT be helped by going into her. Instead of a 5min cry we'd have a 2 hr play and an upset and exhausted child the next day.

So going in and cuddling them because it's cruel to leave them can sometimes be the best fact opposite. There are times when you disturb the child and keep them awake with your presence.

Sometimes try need a cuddle, sometimes they are better without one. Neither is wrong as long as they are loved and cuddled at other more appropriate times.

In my opinion and in my experience with my three.

scrumptiouscrumpets Fri 09-Dec-16 14:00:19

Perhaps he doesn't like the door being closed on him when he's still awake? You could leave it open so that he can hear you pottering around the house until he drops off.

FATEdestiny Fri 09-Dec-16 22:52:08

Yet I wonder if it's so unusual - after all, you're little and being shut in a dark room... that would make anyone cry, right? And that's why I was asking if other parents experience the same.

I saw your post the other day but didn't reply because I didn't want to make you feel bad or guilty. But you have specifically asked, so I shall answer.

My 2y2m daughter never, ever cries to go to sleep. From being about 14 months old I have been able to put her in cot awake, say nan night, switch light off, leave and close the door.

Not a peep from her. If there was even a murmur I'd go in to check she was ok.

I'm not a fan of cuddling to sleep, but I will be tgere there in an instant if there is any crying/grumbling/upset/distress.

The power of trust is amazing. Trust you'll always give comfort. Trust you'll be there if distressed. Trust you'll come the moment you are needed. Because she knew id be there as soon as she needed me, she was calm and content when she didnt need me.

Just my presence was enough, I wouldn't cuddle to sleep. But dd was so used to never being distressed in the cot that she never needed to cry and shout. Now I just hear "mummy/daddy where are you?" over the monitor if she wants us. She doesn't cry.

Mountainhighchair Sat 10-Dec-16 06:56:08

Just because yours doesn't fate doesn't mean none do.

Mine doesn't either but my niece always cries before going to sleep, even if sil or bill are there holding her.

Tigresswoods Sat 10-Dec-16 07:14:31

Cuddle him to sleep?!

My DS would never fall asleep like that.

LalaLeona Sat 10-Dec-16 08:26:57

Mine neither he just gets cross if I do that

Popskipiekin Sat 10-Dec-16 09:05:50

Yes definitely cuddling to sleep for our DS at this age is out of the question - very glad it works for others though, sounds nice and snuggly.

Thanks for the response FATE - all angles and input useful! I do definitely want DS to know we'll always be there for him and, as he's such a good sleeper, if he cries at all during the night we go straight to him.

So last night I decided to stay a little longer with him once he was in his cot (bed ended up being 7.50 not 7.30), repeating that it was bedtime, giving (standing up) cuddles and saying I would see him tomorrow, and I also didn't close the door but left slightly ajar. He sqwawked a bit but not proper crying, more complaining than anything, and for less than 20 seconds which was quite astonishing. So that's a real improvement but on the back of a seriously drawn out "good night" session which I don't want to have as the set routine... But if the pay off is a reassured child and reduced blood pressure for me then it's worth it grin I'll see if I can still stay with him a bit but cut down gradually over the next week or so. Thanks for all the comments and support!

FATEdestiny Sat 10-Dec-16 09:45:09

* So that's a real improvement but on the back of a seriously drawn out "good night" session which I don't want to have as the set routine... But if the pay off is a reassured child*

The basis of gradual withdrawal is always giving enough reassurance, but make tiny gradual changes to extract yourself more quickly and easily.

So it being a drawn out process is normal when you first start. You're establishing trust that you'll give the reassurance needed. Once that trust is established he had no need to 'play up' for attention, he'll know if he needs extra reassurance tonight, he'll get it.

Then over time make the going to sleep process less involved with small changes every few days. Depending on the child that might mean less hands-on attention but the same amount of your presence (ie you move towards just waiting by his door/cot for 15 minutes after bedtime).

Or maybe he needs hand-on attention for the whole time you are there, but you reduce the time down gradually so that you maybe start at 30 minutes (or whatever) and reduce to 28m, 25m, 20m and so on, with a week or so at each.

Different children will suit different ways of doing GW byt the basic premise is the same

scrumptiouscrumpets Sat 10-Dec-16 19:56:46

I saw your post the other day but didn't reply because I didn't want to make you feel bad or guilty.

What an incredibly smug and unpleasant thing to say!

FATEdestiny Sat 10-Dec-16 20:14:33

Urm... ok?

I read almost every thread on the Sleep board and reply to most. I didn't reply to this one for exactly the reason you quote. Not sure why that's a problem to you scrumptiouscrumpets. It's not nice or helpful to gloat, so I didn't respond. I then a
followed the flow of the thread for a while and it appeared, to me at least, that op might be seeking some confirmation that crying to sleep isn't the way it has to be for her toddler. I provided that confirmation.

If that's an issue to you, when it isn't to the op, I suspect that's more about your personal projection into the subject. I'm sure if you'd have asked this question I would have senced a different tone for the thread so wouldn't have posted at all, to not inflame the situation. You are not the op though.

Iknowwhatyoumeanaboutthathat Sat 10-Dec-16 20:24:35

I have 4dc. One would ever ever be cuddled to sleep. We had years of messing. By dc4 I didn't have the time fir messing and he would cry himself to sleep within a few minutes. It was honestly the best thing for him. Looking back is going in and out to dc1 actually didn't help him in the long run and wasn't the kindest thing. He still struggles to get to sleep as a teen. I think what you are doing is fine.

Soddingepiphany Sat 10-Dec-16 20:32:12

I tried controlled crying with my toddler and it was horrific, I wish I'd never done it! Now I stay in his room for a while then I very quietly leave, it can be a long process sometimes but it's not forever and he already doesn't need us in there until he is fast asleep like he used to so clearly he is feeling more secure. It sometimes really sucks being stuck in his room at the end of a long day but I can see the improvement because he trusts I'll be there if he needs me and that makes it worthwhile.

Trust your instincts OP.

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