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  #1  
Old 01-23-2012, 03:31 PM
gracegirl gracegirl is offline
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advice for bedtime struggles?

We are dealing with some really outrageous tantrums from our 3 year old at bedtime. He has been with us for almost 2 months and has struggled with bedtime to varying extents during that time, although it seems worse lately. Even when he is exhausted, he fights to stay awake.

We usually rock him to sleep but he has begun resisting this and tries to hit and kick us. We used to try to hold him when he freaked out (because he would hit his head on the floor if given the chance) but he struggles so much that we can't hold him gently and keep him in our arms without getting hit and kicked. Maybe there's a good way to hold flailing kids that we just didn't figure out yet. :-p It doesn't work to put him in his bed because that seems to make him feel even more insecure his tantrum escalates. Also, we don't want his bed to be a negative place for him.

Now when he tries to hit and kick, we set him on a blanket (folded 4x for padding) to calm down. We always sit right next to him while he tantrums and he eventually calms down and wants to be picked up again. Lately this pattern has been repeated multiple times over the course of 30 - 60 minutes until he finally falls asleep. We are very careful to stay calm during this.

Its only been a few weeks so maybe if we stay consistent it will get better? I'd love any thoughts or advice you all have on this. We do have a nighttime routine that we begin an hour before we rock him, including a bath and reading. What else can we do to help him feel secure and able to relax?
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  #2  
Old 01-23-2012, 05:48 PM
MassachusettsMom MassachusettsMom is offline
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No advice... just commiseration. We got our STBAS (3 years old) almost a year ago and we are still struggling with bedtime. But it has gotten A LOT better.

Sounds like you are doing the right things: staying with him, comforting him, rocking him (if he'll let you), having a routine and, most importantly, staying calm yourself! You've probably tried these, but if not: binky? bottle of water? swadding?

Keep at it! Consistency is important and two months isn't that long, depending on his history. Hang in there and hope you're able to get yourself enough sleep, too!!!
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  #3  
Old 01-23-2012, 07:43 PM
gracegirl gracegirl is offline
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Thanks for the feedback and ideas, Massachusettsmom. I appreciate it.
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:52 PM
jmd5294 jmd5294 is offline
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Will he sleep on an air mattress on the floor or some other type of padding on the floor?

Just a thought since you said he does calm down when you put him on the padded blanket to tantrum. He might need a transition to sleeping in an actual bed?
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:16 PM
gracegirl gracegirl is offline
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He doesn't like sitting on the pad on the floor. He just eventually calms down enough to be safe and want to be held again. Thanks for the idea, though!
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:20 PM
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lotusonfire lotusonfire is offline
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Ahhh, we have been there with our DD (4). We use a baby projector (that has a timer) that plays lullabies ( she loves/needs the consistency). We also use a nightlight since there separation issues once I leave the room. She has reverted back to needing a sippy cup too ( a very small portion of water but she holds onto it). It will get better, just stay calm and consistent.
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  #7  
Old 01-31-2012, 07:00 PM
blueflower blueflower is offline
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We have one just a bit younger than yours. He has been here almost a year and it has taken us most of that time to figure him out. For the first 4 months, he would only fall asleep if he was snuggling. I had started to get him to where he would allow me to put him down and leave. I may had to have put him back a few times, but usually only 3 or 4. Then we went on vacation and it was back to needing to snuggle at nap times and bed times. Not bad, except I kept falling asleep too.

Finally he reached the "by myself" stage and I used that to my advantage. I had a talk with him one night about learning to be a big boy and how big boys go to sleep by themselves. I also pointed out how big brother goes to sleep by himself. I played it up as much as I could, then encouraged him to try to be a big boy by himself. That was the start of him learning to sleep by himself.

We also learned that it had to be dark and quiet in the house. Basically, if you could peer into my house as bedtime is happening, you will see DH retreating upstairs, all the downstairs lights are off, it is quiet, and we try to make as little sound as possible while they fall asleep. He is just too much of a "if something is going on I need to be there." Before realizing what worked, he would be up till 10 then up at 6:30am. I hated those nights. Then DH went on a business trip and it was just me. When big brother's bedtime came around, I turned off all the light and TV, did the routine with both boys and started the "big boy by yourself" campaign. It worked. That first night I couldn't believe that it was 7 PM and both were asleep!! DH didn't believe me till the second night he was back and I made him turn off the TV and go upstairs. When I appeared 15 minutes later with both boys asleep, he was sold.

Our routine is this:
1. brush teeth and have a potty break.
2. put on PJs.
3. read two books (each gets to pick out a book)
4. go lay down in bed and every person gets to choose a song to sing.
5. Say good night to big brother. Little brother lays down on our bed to fall asleep (then I move him before we go to bed; still working on the falling asleep in the same room technique - coming summer of 2012). If we forget the books or songs, they are very quick to point it out. They would be happy if we sang all night. That is what works.
6. before little brother goes to sleep (naps and night time) I pick him up, rock him, and sing Itsy-Bitsy Spider twice plus ABC's once. Why? Because he started throwing a fit at Little Bunny Foo Foo who used to get 10+ chances to be nice. I was hoping that the same songs right before putting him down may help trigger his body into knowing it was time for sleep. He may fight it, but by S-T-U he is yawning. Doesn't always mean he will stay in bed, but at least I know he is tired.

I hope you find something that works. I wonder if it is just this age, where they dont like going to sleep. Curious George here just doesn't want to miss out on anything.

ETA: The reason for our routine is actually Older Brother, who is now 4. When he was 3 he didn't want to go to sleep at all. Finally, after battle of wills night after night, that included hits and kicks and screaming, one night I took him to bed, turned off the lights, turned on the night light, sat on the edge and talked with him. We "talked to God" about mom and dad and sib(s) and school and the bus and everything else under the sun. Then one night I decided to sing. He loved it. A few weeks later, Little brother walked in and wouldn't leave. It became his routine too. Older Brother really needed to one-on-one, in a darkish room, to calm down and relax enough to sleep. His brain just wouldn't shut off. We also go over what is going to happen the next day. He seems to have the need to know what tomorrow is going to hold. But that is a part of the routine that Little Brother isn't a part of. by that point he has left for other more interesting things.

Last edited by blueflower : 01-31-2012 at 07:08 PM.
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  #8  
Old 04-15-2012, 03:15 AM
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Lightbulb bedtime issues and FKs

In my experience, both at work and as a FP...I have met kids who might be "too old" for a crib or pack and play if they were a typical child. Yet most of my FKs have come to me and been dev delayed or traumatized in one area or another. I started them off in a toddler bed and after a week of not adjusting backed back down to a pack and play or a convertible crib and they fall asleep happily. So you may want to try it for a while? I was able to transition to a twin sized bed after several months in a pack and play for my current FS.
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Old 04-16-2012, 03:18 PM
rm2000hg rm2000hg is offline
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mominalabama - do the kids get upset about being put back into a crib?
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Old 04-23-2012, 05:44 AM
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mominalabama mominalabama is offline
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Sorry didn't see this question til now. My current little boy seemed almost relieved when he was put down in the pack n play. I mean like passing out and sleeping thru the night and I was the one waking and going in to see if he had climbed out or what..I was so happy for me and him that I didn't even consider change until one night my daughter and he fell asleep reading on the twin bed in his room and I left him and he never woke or wandered. You also have to think about what bedtime was like for them before. It could have been play until you fall asleep whever you are. OR one family bed since birth so they were NEVER "put down". I also, on the suggestion of another EI friend, tried putting 2 safety gates on top of each other to keep him in the room before going to the pack n play. But he'd get so angry he'd kick and claw until he got one loose. He never did that to the pack n play-go figure?
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