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2 year old night sleep pattern

(48 Posts)
Frazzled Wed 16-May-01 20:24:26

I have two children aged five and two. The five year old is a brilliant sleeper and has been for the last couple of years. However, the two year old had a good sleep pattern but it altered when she had a severe cold. After the cold was over, we had to resort to sleep training, but found that if we did not get to her quick enough she made herself sick. We have now put her into a bed in the thought that she did not like the cot but i am finding now that she wakes two or three times a night. Unfortunately the only way to settle her is milk or juice (two no-nos!). Any ideas on how to reestablish her night time routine would be appreciated.

Pupuce Thu 17-May-01 09:20:41

Have you ever read Gina Ford's books ? I think it might give you some ideas. One seems that you should probably return her to her cot if she is now sleeping worse than before.
I think you should continue sleep training or control crying (if that is what you have been doing) and add more and more time before you go see her every time she cries. Don't let her be sick of course.
Gina has had to deal with similar case to yours and describes how she resolved them in her book. I highly recommend it "From contented Baby to confident child".
Good luck

Adelaide Thu 17-May-01 19:25:25

It really is up to you if you're prepared to listen to your daughter screaming - we decided we couldn't with our son who was a dreadful sleeper - you never knew what the night would bring, just a couple of quick resettlings or a three hour marathon. I can't help thinking that if your daughter was a good sleeper that she will return to that pattern in her own time (which I know isn't much help you at the moment). About 2 1/2 months ago when he was 2 yrs 3 months we used a star chart with the promise of a train set at the end of a full week of sleeping through, this seemed to do the trick and bar the odd night he has been sleeping perfectly ever since. Hope this helps.

Jodee Thu 17-May-01 20:19:52

Can I also endorse Gina Ford's 'Contented Little Baby Book'? My boss employed Gina for both her babies and recommended her to me (although my budget would only stretch to buying the book).
I didn't stick rigidly to her routines but used them as a guide and found they worked very well.

Rozzy Tue 22-May-01 16:19:49

Message withdrawn

Cl Tue 22-May-01 17:43:11

We've just had the same problem , ours caused by chickenpox followed by a holiday when she slept in our room and therefore our bed!
Our two and 5 month old also made herself sick and threw herself out of her cot and I was going to do the bed thing in the hope it would change things, but read in Toddler Taming that transferring a bad sleeper from a cot to a bed, won't work, it's just a change of mattress ( not that I agree with everything he says, but it seemed to make sense). I sent everyone away for the evening and did controlled crying. I hate it, but it did work. Took about an hour and three changes of pyjamas (I actually thought they were wet with tears it wasn't till the a.m I realised it was sick - felt a bit rotten) - but I stuck with it and we have now established a new, bedtime routine, different to the old one in that she now has one story in our bed before going and having one on my knee and then lying in bed and having one in her cot. I also resurrected her baby musical mobile and leave that playing when I leave. She doesn't always sleep thro and I have no energy or patience for sleep training in the middle of the night, but if I can count on at least starting the night off in peace and in my own bed I think it's not too bad. You have all my sympathy/empathy - good luck. PS controlled crying is infinitely worse with a toddler than a small baby because they can speak - the worst thing is hearing her say, but mummy I just want a cuddle.....In case you think I'm the wickedest old witch that ever lived for doing this I'm six and half months pregnant and needed to get her back into routine well before new baby arrives to disrupt it all again, also I'd tried everthing else - star charts included for the previous six weeks.

Tlb Wed 23-May-01 20:15:47

Is this actually quite typical of two year olds? My daughter will be 2 in June and we have just returned from holiday (where incidentally there was a case of chicken pox - here we go..) which was a 2 hours ahead job - so last week when she cried as if she were a newborn, all night, non stop practically, I just put it down to her readjusting her body clock. Then it happened again this week and I confess we didn't know what to do and yes it is horrible because you hear this pitiful Mummmeeee!! Anyway as we were all worn out we brought her into our bed (for the very first time ever, except on rare occasions when she was very tiny) and we got some sleep but not much more - anyway fingers crossed it hasn't happened again this week.

I know it is not much of a pattern but when you consider this is a child who goes to bed happily without fuss and occasionally cries out but is easily soothed it did strike me as really unusual for her to cry incessantly (and in my terrible mum worrying way - I worried about our poor neighbour who would have been woken by her too) Then I read these few comments and wonder if it is a development thing?

Azzie Thu 24-May-01 11:27:11

Cl, you're not a wicked witch - we all need our sleep, mums and dads included, and it's a lot easier to be a good mum if you're not totally exhausted. We had to do controlled crying with our son when he was 14 months. It was hell at the time, but (eventually!) he got the idea and we have never had any trouble since (he's now 3.5). It's not just us who became happier with more sleep, so did he. We stuck to the routine when baby no. 2 arrived, and had very few problems, probably because the routine was well-established and thus comfortingly constant at a time of change. So far we've had no trouble with no.2 (now 18 mths), but I don't know whether this is luck or the good example set by her big brother!

Just out of interest, did those of you who had trouble after holidays stick to the home bedtime routine on holiday or not?

Cl Thu 24-May-01 12:23:05

mostly not- despite good intentions. Various reasons. Most routines I've come across are food, bath, stories, bed, well ours is. When you've just come off the beach, but haven't yet had dinner, the first thing we all feel like doing is having a bath/shower, so instantly the routine is different. I guess it's different if the place has early meals, then you do the routine and then go out and eat yourself, but again, even when that's been available it hasn't worked for us because more often than not she's been in our room, and as soon as she sees our bed, there's no way she's going to lie down in her cot. We've often resorted to pushing her around in the buggy after dinner and then transferring her to her cot once she's dropped off. Interestingly this last hol we had was our first long haul - 9 hour flight and 5 hour time difference and she adapted amazingly well and miraculously has slipped straight back into her old routine - she seemed almost grateful to be back in her own cot, so although the holiday sleeping arrangements and routines were varied to say the least, it hasn't blown the rountine completely. I'm waffling....Sorry

Janes Sat 26-May-01 07:04:38

I know it sounds obvious but have you thought about the day time sleep side? Children only need so much sleep in a day and this of course gets less and less as they get older. My 2 year old happily went to bed and sleep at 7/7.30 for a good 12 hours with a 1 to 2 hour nap in the day until 3 weeks ago when she literally over night started to stay awake till 9 and getting up at 6/6.30. I have cut out putting her down for a day time nap and she is now back to her old bedtime ( but still gets up at the same time). If she is really tired she goes to sleep anyway so in effect has a nap about every second or third day now. On holiday children may end up with naps at odd times because you are travelling etc and this will make a difference. I have always envied those parents whose children go to bed early - my other 2 never did and that made holidays in hotels eating without the kids difficult if not impossible - to say nothing of using unfamiliar babysitters at any time. Hence my determination number 3 will have an early bedtime!

Donna247 Wed 31-Oct-01 21:19:37

my 2 year old sleeps from 8pm-8am and some days she has a few hours in the day for a nap

Enid Fri 23-Nov-01 09:49:44

Advice needed! Our dd (23 months) who was the most brilliant sleeper, has started waking up one or two times a night. She calls out for mummy, then either wants a book or a cuddle. She doesn't seem too distressed and goes back to sleep very quickly. I complied willingly for the first couple of nights, thinking she might be ill, but am rapidly getting fed up with it, especially as I am in fact now ill with a throat infection and could really do with an unbroken night! I feel it has now become a habit, and instead of settling herself back to sleep she is calling out for me.

Should I just leave her to cry (heartbreaking...) and not respond to her calling for mummy? Don't really want to do this as I am happy to go to her if she has had a bad dream or genuinely needs me. She settles very quickly if either me or my dp go to her so its not a matter of leaving her to cry after we've been in. She is also very scared of the dark so she has been having a dim light on all night - if I leave just the night light on she calls out for more light.

Did mention some of this in the Morning Tantrums thread but it seemed more appropriate to here. Help!

Enid Fri 23-Nov-01 09:51:48

Just to add that she sleeps from 7.30pm-8am normally and has about an hour and a half in the day. The wakings are at any time from 12.30am to 5.30am.

Emmam Fri 23-Nov-01 12:46:32

The only advice I can offer is when you go in keep the visit as short and to the point as you can. Resist the urge to pick her up, unless she's really distressed. Tuck her in, tell her its still sleeping time and leave again. Hopefully she soon get the idea that nothing fun is going to happen and so eventually it won't be worth calling out for the heck of it. Or, and this is a bit more drastic, when she calls you, just stick your head around the door, tell her its still time for sleeping and go again. If tantrum ensues, follow sleep training techniques. If my little boy shouts for me I lay still and work out how desperate the shout was - if he shouts again, I go in, but quite often he shouts, I stop and listen and then hear nothing else from him! I sometimes wonder if he's just testing out how quickly I'd come running and when I don't appear within seconds he gives up!

Keep sane, it is probably just a phase as you know she is capable of being a good sleeper. Doesn't help though does it when you wake up feeling like a zombie and they are bouncing off the walls.

Pupuce Fri 23-Nov-01 23:47:33

I'd agree with Emmam. It is likely to be a phase, she gets into a lighter sleep and currently wakes up and wants to be entertained. She isn't ill or hungry. The last thing you want is for her to get into this habit... I don't think she will put up a tantrum but if you don't feel like letting her cry, just go in and tell her to go to sleep it is still nighttime... and leave. I'd be amazed if she didn't get it very quickly. Do keep us posted as it useful to know how you have resolved it (in case it happens to me!!!)

Enid Sat 24-Nov-01 20:57:17

Well, we've taken advice and tried to be strict. Last night dp went in at 1am when she called out and told her it was bedtime and time for sleep, then left, no cuddle, no light on, no book...she then slept right through to 8am!! So a partial success, will have to see what happens tonight.

Pupuce Mon 26-Nov-01 19:34:52

Keep us posted... and good luck !

jayc Fri 04-Jan-02 20:02:26

I am badly in need of advice (or failing that a lobotomy, a large bottle of whiskey, or huge dose of sedative). My daughter is 20 months. Until recently she has gone to bed without problems. For a while even she was very happy to play with teddy and chat happily before dropping off. Suddenly, its all changed. She regularly screams herself to sleep, crying out for ages in a really heartbreaking way 'Mummy, mummy, mummy'. I've done all the controlled crying stuff but it doesn't seem to get us anywhere. If I stay with her before she goes to sleep, she wakes 45 minutes later in a terrible state becuase she finds herself alone and will continue to do that during the night. It is making the evenings so miserable. I really feel that I just can't take it but I ahve no idea what to do.

MotherofOne Fri 04-Jan-02 21:25:50

Same sorts of problems - our ds, just turned 2, has never been a brilliant sleeper, but we were beginning to get about 5 straight through nights a week, has suddenly taken to waking at about 12.30/ 1pam and then again at 5 am. No major distress - but wanting us, and doesn't shut up until at least someone has been in to see him.
We're doing all the 'make it as dull as possible' stuff, but after a week or more am soooo knackered. This may be over-ambitious for a 2 year old, but tonight we've put up a 'star/reward chart' and we've told him that if he sleeps all night (or at least stays quiet) then at the end of the week we'll buy him a present!
Keep you posted - this may be the biggest flop ever!!!!(Although we have already introduced the concept of 'making deals' with him (if you do this... we'll do that) and he seems to understand. (Still makes me titter though to see he & dh 'shaking hands' and saying 'it's a deal!'

Ems Fri 04-Jan-02 21:35:47

jayc, we have had similar worries and cries from our 2 yr old. When we put him to bed now, we put a 'bookie' in the bed with him, leave the door almost wide open with landing light on. We hear him mutter and move about and then he falls asleep.

We put a small night plug light in the socket and that has reduced night time shrieks.

If we can tell its going to be a bad night, ie we're up and down the stairs 4-5 times before he will sleep, we put the main light dimmer switch on its very lowest until we go to bed.

I know they are all different, but through trial and error we discovered that it was obviously down to the dark, and feeling shut away.

Pupuce Fri 04-Jan-02 23:29:34

Quick question, have you changed his bed (from cot to bed) recently ? I know that some children find that really difficult.

robinw Sat 05-Jan-02 06:02:26

message withdrawn

jayc Sat 05-Jan-02 21:26:31

Many thanks for all the suggestions. She does have a night light already but it maybe that I'll have to fiddle further with lighting and door arrangements. I did leave the door wide open tonight and it was a little better. I like the idea of 'bookie' in bed too. She isn't in a 'big' bed yet - oh something to look forward to! I can't imagine what that will be like. But its very very reassuring to hear that others go through this. My underlying fear I guess is that bed-time difficulties are a sign of unhappiness. But it sounds far more likely that its just toddler stuff.

jolene Sun 06-Jan-02 05:19:12

jayc, this must be awful for you. Do you think she may be having nightmares? Or if she is screaming before even getting off to sleep perhaps has had some bad dreams lately which make her afraid to go to sleep? My sil had an identical problem with ther daughter at about the same age, a very clever wee girl with a vivid imagination. She was a very advanced talker and said there were monsters in her room and stuff like that.They decided ( on the advice of someone or other ) to tell her every night Daddy would go into her room and chase away the monsters(as opposed to saying there WERE no monsters) and would not let them back in. Sounds a risky thing to do but it worked and her night screaming phase lasted only about three weeks.
Just when you think some stage in parenting is getting easier something like this comes along to trip us up, eh?
Best of luck.

Tia Mon 07-Jan-02 15:10:01

Spooky! My son has been an excellent sleeper, but for the last 2 weeks has been waking at night screaming. He is quiet as soon either dh or I go into the room, and clearly just wants the company. We did the worst thing possible, tried controlled crying and then gave in and went and held his hand! Took a lot of creeping quietly out of the room to settle him - he looked fast asleep and clearly had some sort of sensor to detect parental movement. As suddenly as it started, it seems to have stopped - so no use. Useful to know about the light though, I think I will invest in a night light for the next time

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