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Getting your child to go to sleep alone


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#1 courtney-b

Posted 10 February 2013 - 12:09 AM

I am the first to put my hand up and say I don't like to leave my children to cry. I feel like I was pressured into doing this with ds1 and I hated it, he hated it and he only slept for about two weeks before we were back to square one and I said never again.

Problem is, now I have two children who need me to help them get to sleep, a three year old and a 17 month old. How are there so many people on here who don't advocate leaving a child to cry, but talk about putting their child to bed and then hearing them chatting away hours later?! This would NEVER happen in our house. DS would beat me out the door! My three year old hasn't napped since turning two. Even five minutes in the car adds HOURS to the nighttime routine. He is at a nursery school twice a week until lunch time, stays awake for the fifty minute drive home, has a swim in the afternoon and still takes an hour to put down at night. I don't know where he gets the energy! I have tried putting him to bed later, earlier etc and it is all the same. I tried the 'kissing game' and stopped after going in and out over a hundred times. He used to fall asleep while I read him books, but doesn't anymore.

DH travels for work all the time and it is impossible for me to get them both down alone. I have someone with me until 645 when he is awayand if no one is asleep by then, they go home and I will be still trying at ten. I get so anxious if ds2 is not asleep and 645 approaches! I know I am lucky to have this support but I really want to teach my children how to go to sleep without me.

Please tell me it gets better! Anyone had any success in a similar situation?

Edited by courtney-b, 10 February 2013 - 12:37 AM.


#2 wallofdodo

Posted 10 February 2013 - 01:02 AM

Have you tried a reward chart for the older child?

#3 courtney-b

Posted 10 February 2013 - 01:17 AM

He only turned three a couple of weeks ago. I haven't tried a reward chart but he still seems to operate in the 'now' if that makes sense. If a consequence isn't immediate it has little effect etc and I have trrouble thinking of what the reward might be. Any suggestions? He doesn't wish for any toys I can think of and there are no experience things we can do where we are (zoo or other type things). What would you usually give as a reward for a three year old? I am desperate so I think I will give this a go

#4 Feralishous

Posted 10 February 2013 - 01:32 AM

our rewards are a picnic, or visit to maccas, or doing craft/painting

#5 fizzy19

Posted 10 February 2013 - 01:50 AM

What is in his bedroom ? Ours have a little night light and a cd player playing quietly and a fan.  I also try to lay with him and read a story for 5 minutes.  Do you have blockout curtains etc?

#6 jo074

Posted 10 February 2013 - 02:06 AM

are they in the same bedroom? DS1 used to be a pain at bedtime and through the night until I put him in a room with his sister just before he turned 3 (as we were expecting DS2) - I anticipated weeks/months of acting up, messing around at bedtime but they both just crashed out and it seemed to give him some security to know his sister was there.
Then worst case, if it doesnt help at all, at least you can be in there with both of them getting them both off at once, rather than having to go from room to room or wait until one is down to get the other down?
Mind you, I am the last person on earth who can give advice about sleep given my 18 month old DS2 seems to have railroaded me into co-sleeping with him on a mattress in his room, which I vowed never to do!  When we move house in a few months, I am hoping putting him in a room with DS1 will magically transform him into a sleeping angel....

#7 courtney-b

Posted 10 February 2013 - 04:20 AM

In desperation I have often tried putting them to sleep in the same room when I am by myself but ds1 thinks it is funny to wake his brother when he goes to sleep. It is a disaster. My children, especially ds1, have energy and spirit beyond words. If I could erase the two hours I spend putting them to bed each night, these would always be positive traits to me.

He has a little light in his room and a fan to block out noise. His train set and all of his books are in his room, but he shows no interest in playing when it is bed time. If I leave the room, he just gets out of bed and runs out, over and over and over...he is not scared of anything in his room, I have asked him. He just thinks the whole thing is a big game. I keep calm 99% of the time because if I show even a glimmer of frustration he seems to feed of this. By nature I am not an angry person, but I have raised my voice in frustration a few times! It comes as no suprise that saying 'it is time to go to sleep' loudly does not help.

On a positive note, my children are generally good at sleeping once they go to sleep. I don't get up more than once a night to each of them. DS1 usually comes into our bed in the early hours.

Thanks for the suggestions trishalicious, but we don't have anywhere to picnic here except the backyard which we often do, there is no fast food and we do craft and painting most days so they are out. We are Australian but live in Zambia, so a bit of a unique location activity wise. There is an icecream shop which would be a real treat so I might try that for the reward. How many successes would you require before you delivered on the reward? Once, twice, a week?

#8 Who is me

Posted 10 February 2013 - 05:06 AM

We use a lolly as a reward if we need one - this is only really effective if they don't normally eat lollies though. The promise of a snake or a marshmallow goes a long way with DS! DS is nearly 3.5, and DD is nearly 8 months (no snakes for her!). I used a lolly more as a means to get DS to stay in bed all night. He gets it in the morning if he has been good.

As far as bedtime goes on your own, when I have to do it with my two, I generally put them both to bed at the same time. We lay on my bed, we read a story together, and then it is time to be still and quiet while I feed DD. If DS wriggles and carries on, he has to go to his own room by himself. He is generally cooperative, and bedtime takes about half an hour. I could do it in his room, but I just find it more comfortable in my bed as there is more space.

Once asleep, I move them to their own beds. DS often gets up at about 5 and comes into bed with us.

We do bedtime a lot later though. Any earlier then 8pm, and DS would be a maniac, and would take forever to go to sleep. He wakes for the day at around 7am. This has been his bedtime for about 6 months. Prior to that he still had a nap, and was very difficult to get to sleep before 9.30pm.

#9 adl

Posted 10 February 2013 - 05:58 AM

I posted in here about getting my 2.5 to go to bed, and the responses were great. We added a baby gate to his room, he has to go to bedroom , I read a story then leave and shut the gate, I can't force him to sleep but he now knows bed time means we stay in our room and quiet w his bedside light on


The first night he screamed and cried over 2 hrs, then passed out w a book...second night 20 mins...within. 5 days he will pop in. His bed, I read a story and he happily sits there with books before falling asleep , some nights he will quietly play on the floor and even falls asleep there and we pop him back..

I never did CC, I would have never shut my child,in a room and thought it. Would be considered a big no no here but they are not babies, they are old enough now and seriously he was manipulating us t come to our bed, to fall asleep

Yes the first few nights were horrible and broke my heart to listen to...but 3 -4 nights and it was done...

But I will be eternally grateful for the great advice I got, reward charts etc wouldn't have worked at all as he is too young for that...  Bedtime is now not an ordeal!!!




#10 ELH05

Posted 11 February 2013 - 07:50 AM

QUOTE (courtney-b @ 09/02/2013, 10:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Problem is, now I have two children who need me to help them get to sleep, a three year old and a 17 month old. How are there so many people on here who don't advocate leaving a child to cry, but talk about putting their child to bed and then hearing them chatting away hours later?! This would NEVER happen in our house. DS would beat me out the door!


I'm confused a little  - do you put them to bed say goodnight and walk out of the room, and then they start crying ?  If they are not crying but just playing in their rooms then maybe just see if they can wind down by themself.  You say your DS runs around his room, so after you tell him he needs to lie down and go to sleep, he continues to get back and run around ?  Sounds like he is just not tired.

Are you doing a feed/shower/play/bed routine still ?  If my DS doesnt want to go to bed I let him go to sleep with a nightlight and a torch and a book and he can read them in bed.  My DS goes to bed at 8 so definitely a lot later than yours, I would try a later bedtime for your older one.  get the younger one to bed while you have the help you say you do then concentrate on the older one after your help goes home.

Maybe a sleep school or one that comes to you would help you with some tips ?

I feel for you, you must be extremely tired having to do this every night.

Edited by ELH05, 11 February 2013 - 08:19 AM.





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