Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Let's help each other out

So we asked over on our Facebook page what you want to see us write about. Kelly asked about getting her toddler to bed without the tantrums. Here’s what she said:

Why my 2.5 year old insists on screaming EVERY SINGLE NIGHT at bedtime. This still plagues me and breaks my heart. I just want to give in and let her sleep in my room and go to bed early just to accommodate her.

I think this is a common problem that many parents face so let’s try to help her out, even if it is just to say “Yep. My kid does it too. Hang in there.”

Here has been our history of sleeping:

Peanut was spoiled for about the first year of her life. For the first six months, she napped while one of us held her. Seriously. Napping did not work in our house otherwise. Mind you she napped fine without the luxury of being held at the babysitter’s but at home it was a different story. She was also held until she fell asleep at night.

We began to try to break this habit at six months and gradually got there by the time she was a year old. Most of the time. Sometimes she was still rocked to sleep. Sometimes she just went to bed without making a peep. Sometimes she cried. Mostly we were spoiled and she would say night-night and snuggle down in her crib without fussing.

Then, we got our payback. She began crawling out of her crib before she was even 2 so we immediately moved her to a big girl’s bed. Holy Moses was that a dark time. It did not help that I was newly pregnant and exhausted anyway. Add in a toddler who was free to roam, and would do so right into our room five times a night and we had a very cranky household. We went from getting up at 8 a.m. some mornings to starting our day at 5:30 a.m. Not a fun transition.

We tried snuggling with her until she fell asleep but she would usually wake up when we moved. So we went the tough love route. We sang songs, thanked God and were out the door, closing it behind us. It was Brutal for awhile. She would throw herself up against the door screaming bloody murder. We would go in and try to calm her down but that only made the problem worse.

Eventually the dramatics calmed some. She would still cry and get out of bed but she started to fall asleep by the door. We’d leave her there until we knew she was out and put her back in bed. The husband kept saying she would realize her bed was more comfortable and stay in it. And you know? She did.

Now? Our night time routine consists of a few minutes of “Peter Pan” or a Tinkerbell movie after bath while snuggled in our bed. We then move the party to her room where she gets a couple songs and thanks God and then we are out of the room by 9 p.m. (we are night owls in our house). She stills whines a bit but it usually stops by the time we get to the stairs. She also doesn’t get back out of bed until I go into get her around 8:30 a.m.

This is what works for us. It was a lot of tears from both mom and child. It was many sleepless, exasperated nights wondering if we would ever sleep again.

What worked with you?


Hillary said...

The Boy threw tantrums about bed a couple months ago, and maybe around 15 months. I could be wrong about that. Bedtime for him when he was wee -- and for The Lad now -- was between 7 and 7:30. Book and kisses and goodnight. Now The Boy stays up until about 8 most nights. We're lucky that both of them are good sleepers, though they are early birds. 6 a.m. or thereabouts is our wake up call.

When we had the tantrums, we used the Supernanny approach: silently putting them back to bed every time. Eventually, they realize they're not getting any attention out of it and they stop.

Two Braids said...

hmmm. Silently putting her to bed. I haven't tried that yet. I have been reminding myself to keep my temper in check-that only makes the situation worse when I get huffy. I'll have to try this!

k said...

I am a complete pantywaist, so Ezra is still in his crib. We shall see what kind of poo hits the fan once we transition out.

Since fall approached we've had a few bedtime freak-outs ("IT'S DARK!"), but a nightlight across the room and then eventually moved closer to his bed eventually solved the problem.