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Sleep Training

Backstory: been sleeping 12 hours a night since 2 months old. Sleeping 3 hour naps during the day since forever.

Four weeks ago on Monday we went to a hockey game and it's been a catastrophe since. No changes occurred other than this. We had switched to a toddler bed months before and it was a perfect and smooth transition. Monday she switched to the 2's classroom but I really don't think that changed much. Same center, she does before and after care so she's always had 3 different people watching over her during the day. The only thing that changed is the second caregiver. And honestly, that changed often too because they let her attend all different rooms to get her ready. Either way, this problem started weeks before that.

Anyway, completely and utterly afraid of us walking away during bedtime. NO ISSUES if she's playing in her room (she's really into trying to dress/undress herself, no toys other than a few stuffies), No issues at school when we leave her, it's only around bedtime. We let her sleep in our bed so she's always asking for that. She screams and cries and has a full blown panic attack at bed time. Before this it was hug, kiss, lay down and that's it. I'd walk out with a smile and she'd smile and she'd pass out.

I looked all over the internet and I see that this is the worst time to let habits like laying next to her bed, laying in her bed, standing while she falls asleep, sneaking out of the room while she falls asleep and letting her sleep in our bed. If she does fall asleep she wakes at midnight and then at that point I've already slept a bit and just bring her into bed since I Have to wake up at 6am. SO...

Any tips? Advice?

Karma is a bitch! :)

ETA: She also spent a weekend at my MIL house last weekend and slept her normal hours on a mattress on the floor in their room. She's been sleeping LOADS more at school and they've been telling me they have to WAKE her up and it's hard. Obviously because she's not getting any sleep at home. :/

Should I be firm or cave and let her sleep in our room with the hopes she'll soon grow out of it?


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 18th, 2016 05:07 pm (UTC)
As a nanny, I sat just outside the doorway of the room until the kid(s) were really out. They could see me,but it was easier for me to leave once they were fully asleep.
Mar. 18th, 2016 05:22 pm (UTC)
I tried that. :( Last night was better, slowly walked out and stood in the hallway. 3 hours of that. I finally just put her crib back together and let her cry it out. She fell asleep for two hours and then was in my room at 12. :(
Mar. 18th, 2016 05:39 pm (UTC)
Speak to it directly. She's only 2, but she can process the idea. Ask her if there's something bothering her at bedtime. Take whatever she says at face value and as important, because it is to her. Explain that sleep is super important because it fills up our cope bucket, and lets us grow and learn. Suggest that you guys come up with a way of doing this together - give her structure that she hears stated out loud and has a say, and it will help with that sense of security.

Suggest that you will stay with her and rub her back or whatever cue she uses while she falls asleep and then you will leave the room. Establish where you will be when she falls asleep -in your room? in a chair? - and that if she gets up to find you, you will take her back to bed with a hug and a kiss but no words. Or however you want to structure it - but make sure it is out loud, that you keep to it, that you pile on the reassurance that you are nearby. This is not about 'it's bad to let her sleep in our bed / her bed / on the roof'. It's about security - she's exhibiting anxiety, maybe a little insecurity; something stuck in her brain recently and she just needs a bit more reassurance that the gravity she relies on and the ground under her feet are completely there.

Be patient, be consistent, be clear, be _calm_ (kids mirror the emotions we show them) and good luck.
Mar. 18th, 2016 05:56 pm (UTC)
Tried that too. Reminding her constantly after getting home from work/school that it's almost bed time. Asking her what's wrong. I stay very calm until around the 2nd hour where I start just giving up and sitting there helpless. I asked her if she had nightmares, bad dreams or if she was scared. I tried using calming music and doing calm activities leading up to it. I read her two books, sing a song, warm bath, warm milk before teeth brushing, I tried skipping the teeth since sometimes that gets her all woken up to see if that worked but nope, none of it. I explained the whole sleep thing...she can play more if she sleeps because she won't be tired and yadda yadda.

Definitely did the rubbing back/hair hundreds of times, meaning multiple times a night multiple falling asleep...I go in the hallway and it's a good 5-10 minutes sometimes of me quietly sitting on the stair and then she startles awake and run out in the hallway when she realized I was gone.

I tell her that I'll be in "Mama's bed" when she falls asleep, if she gets scared she can come get me and that Beau needs to sleep in Beau's bed. She'll grab her pillow and beg for mama's bed too. She sleeps just fine in my bed, slept 12-7 last night though she wakes up once or twice and kisses me, smiles and goes back down.

So I'm starting to worry because I've been doing all this and she's still out of control with anxiety. Sorry this is kind of ranty! :(
Mar. 18th, 2016 06:40 pm (UTC)
I don't see it as caving. You do what you need to do get good healthy sleep. I remember 2-3yo was a tough age where there's so much they learn, see, observe. Their curiosity just exponentially grows. So, it's exhausting as they figure it out.

Keep your routine and keep trying. If you are OK with moving her mattress to your room like her grandma do it. We had no issues. It's all dependent on child's temperament. My daughter on her chose to move to her room. She sleeps on her own and every now and then we seem to regress but we realize it's exhausting day at school, etc. So, we adjust.

I began reading my book while she fell asleep. And that worked for us. In the beginning it took half hour and slowly it reduced. And then one day she just told me to leave her room and we hadn't had an issue (this was when she was 4). She got one year of good habits, so she has that in her - we never had that! For now, she just needs your reassurance and she will go back when she is ready.

And it's transitions. I know for us that still is an issue. And we keep working on it. I doubt we will ever sleep through the night :P Daughter does. But she also wets the bed, etc. so we have to keep getting up (not every night)! But yeah... do what you need to to get everyone sleeping.
Mar. 19th, 2016 02:04 am (UTC)
I don't see it as caving to meet her emotional needs while also doing what you need to do to get enough rest. So I would happily move her mattress to my room if that did the trick! It's okay to do. She won't be sleeping in your room when she is 18 or anything :)
Mar. 19th, 2016 02:08 am (UTC)
When my son was younger, I'd lie down with him until he fell asleep, but only once. I'd tell him that I also had to get ready for bed. If he got up and left his room, I'd tell him, "It's time for bed," and tuck him back into the bed. If he got up 20 times, I'd put him back 20 times just the same. My son wasn't afraid of going to sleep, just mad about it. It was tiring sometimes but worth it in the end. Over the course of several months, I'd lie down with him less and less.
Mar. 19th, 2016 12:22 pm (UTC)
We made a little spot with a comforter and a pillow on the floor next to our bed and told our son that if he woke up at night, he could come in and lay down in his spot. It worked well and he eventually stopped needing it.
Mar. 19th, 2016 03:32 pm (UTC)
If your "mommy heart" feels that having her in your room would work...do it. Kids end up in their own rooms when they are ready. My little boy is now 6...and oh to have a 2 year old again! What a sweet amazing age. Enjoy it! Don't feel the need to apologize if having a family bedroom works for you even if its only temporary to help her out.
Mar. 19th, 2016 08:38 pm (UTC)
Screw what the internet says. What is your gut telling you? Just because you found stuff on the internet saying this is a bad time to form those habits doesn't mean that's correct or that you should ignore what feels right to you because it might start a bad habit. Your child obviously needs something from you to help her fall asleep. I think you need to find what will work for you at this time and not worry about habits that will form. People also say that about spoiling newborns by picking them up when they cry or getting bedsharing babies out of a parents bed.

FWIW, I laid down with my older two when they were in the 2-3 year old range. I stayed at first until they fell asleep. Then as they were more aware and I could reason with them, I would say I needed to go do a few things and I would be back to check on them. That evolved to a hug and a kiss and me leaving. Laying with them did not cause any long lasting bad habits. They are 8 and 4 now and go to sleep in their own beds all night with a simple hug and a kiss and me leaving the room. 2 is still young and there's obviously some sort of regression or change that has happened with her and she needs more reassurance at bedtime. It happens. Find what works for you.
Mar. 21st, 2016 12:23 pm (UTC)
My motto is whatever gives us the most sleep as a family. Right now that means she sleeps in her bed to start but comes in sometime in the night. As long as the three of us are sleeping enough, I'm not going to stress about it. When it becomes clear that one of us is struggling, we find a way to fix it.

If I were you, I'd let her sleep with me as long as you're all getting good sleep. For whatever reason, she needs you to get a good night's sleep. It won't always be this way, you're not going to hurt her by lettingher sleep with you. She will grow out of out of whatever this anxiety is, you just need to support her in a way that works for you. And it sounds like trying to get her to sleep alone isn't working.

Mar. 21st, 2016 01:24 pm (UTC)
we moved when my daughter was two and a half, and she'd been sleeping in her own room, but after the move, she wanted to sleep with us, so we let her sleep on a blanket in our room. because it was just a blanket, we told her that it was temporary, and that when she'd feel comfortable, then she'd go back to her room/bed. And after about two weeks or so (hard to remember now), she did say she wanted to go back, and then I think she had at least one more relapse, but also went back on her own. She was very strong-willed, and forcing her to stay in her room would have turned it into a struggle, and I just wanted to avoid that. But I also knew that she had her own independence streak (she was the one who moved herself out to the guest room when she was maybe 1.5 years old, because her crib was sidecarred to our bed and one day she wanted to go sleep on the futon in the guest room), so maybe that made the decision easier.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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