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Thread: Getting 2.5 year old to sleep by herself to start

  1. #1
    lynnyp Guest

    Default Getting 2.5 year old to sleep by herself to start

    I have a 2.5 year old daughter. We co-sleep. We have recently bought a single bed which is now between our queen bed and the wall. Siobhan has started to sleep on that during the night. She has only very recently started sleeping through 5 nights out of 7, waking for a feed at around 6 or 7 and then sleeping until 8.30. Other nights she may need a feed at around 3am as well. This is all good because until she was 2 it was every two hours! It never worried me hugely because a quick feed and back to sleep, she barely even opened her eyes and neither did I.

    We go to bed together at around 9pm. I tried in the early days to feed her to sleep and then get up but she would wake after 20 minutes to an hour and be very upset so I preferred to stay with her. Often it takes her 40 minutes or so to go to sleep and by that stage I am ready to go to sleep myself.

    Usually what happens in the evenings here is that we all eat together at around 6.30 - 7pm. Dinner lasts until 7.30 - 8pm, my husband is a slow eater. Siobhan plays with her toys when she is finished. I then wash the dishes while Siobhan plays with her Dad and/or reads books with him. I go off and get ready for bed, we will read a book or two, get Siobhan dressed, washed and tooth brushed, and off to bed we both go at 9pm. We shower together in the morning, don't have a bath at night.

    What I now want to do is reclaim my nights! I want to have her go to bed, I don't mind feeding her or staying with her while she goes to sleep, but I want her to sleep alone for a while before I go to bed. I also need to bring her bed time forward so she gets up earlier in the morning.



    Any hints for me? Should I start implementing some sort of going to bed routine?

    I am sorry about writing War and Peace - the Return, but I wanted to give you the full picture.

  2. #2

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    I would definitely say a bedtime routine is going to help. But I really think this needs to be a slow and steady process. Seeing that she's 2.5 she's so used to having mummy there and it would be quite distressing if you're not iykwim? I'd suggest maybe lying with her till she falls asleep. Trying not to fall asleep yourself and then perhaps get back up again? Bringing bedtime forward I would say do that slowly too maybe 30 mins at a time, being that 30 mins till she's used to it and then move down another 30 mins. I wouldn't recommend going straight from 9 till 7:30 iykwim? Another thing is role play. Get her teddies or dolls and role play about bedtime, have her read baby a story brush teeth, have cuddles with mummy and then have her lie down with her baby till it falls asleep then maybe have her get up and pretened to do the washing or dishes LOL something boring (so she doesn't feel if mummy does that she's missing out on a party LOL) then maybe send little mummy back to bed. If you don't want to use dolls play role reversal where you be dd and she be's the mum. Not only is it fun but its an easy way to teach her what to expect. Its going to be lots of baby steps for it to be successful IMO not only just for her but for you so its not distressing on either of you. It can be done its just going to be a slow and steady process With regards to dinner I'd perhaps leave the table with DD when she's finished and your finished rather than when DH is finished.

    Oh also cut back on some afternoon naps or make them earlier in the day or shorter, and perhaps have a really busy day the first time you try this that way she'll be well and truly ready for bed

    Goodluck! If I think of anything else I'll post.

    *hugs*
    Cailin

  3. #3
    lynnyp Guest

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    Caitlin, thanks for such a terrific response. I absolutely agree it will need to be slow and steady, as long as it is steady I am happy! I have been thinking about introducing a night time bath as well. I do think I need to talk to my husband about my leaving the table while he is eating. He won't care a bit but I have serious issues about leaving the table while people are still eating. I don't force the children to stay though.

    The role playing idea is a great one.

  4. #4

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    Another thing is to include dolls and teddies in bedtime routine, tuck them in and put them down for the night. Have them cry and get upset. Explain to her that they miss their mummy, and that we have to tell them its ok and that if they cry we'll go in and give them a cuddle... that sort of thing?

    When my neice was little we introduced a saying goodnight to the toys routine and she loved it and it definitley made bedtime more fun.

    I really believe in these little tricks for us we had fairy lights in Paris' room that she used to "blow out" she'd blow them and we'd secretly turn off the switch. She loved it

    *hugs*
    Cailin

  5. #5

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    Oh Cai, you sounds like the best mummy. What great suggestions you have.

    You're awesome!

  6. #6

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    LOL thanks Rachel I tell ya sometimes I don't feel like it

    *hugs*
    Cailin

  7. #7

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    I think Routine is really important and at 2.5 she should be at a stage where you can explain what is happening - ie we are going to read a story then it's time for sleep etc. We have a great routine which works well for us - between 4-5pm we have a bath, then dinner, playtime and whatever else to fill in the time to 7.30pm. My husband and I usually have dinner after Miss M has gone to bed as he often dosen't get home until late but on weekends we always eat together. Now we have daylight savings we have been having a small walk each night together if time permits. Bed time is toilet, teeth, story in bed and then goodnight time. Most nights we don't have any issues but some nights she does get out of bed. When this happens we just pop her back in and do the goodnight routine again. Part of this is asking her not to get out of her bed! On the odd occasion she is just so past it (tired and upset) that we lie with her but she is usually out within 10 minutes and it isn't that often. I think reading in bed to her really helps her relax and get ready for sleep and as she loves books we always leave a book with her to read to her toys she sleeps with, most of the time this is put under the doona to sleep with her aswell. I probabaly haven't really offered any advice here but just thought i'd let you know our routine which has worked well for us since Miss M has been in a bed. I also agree that making major changes all at once isn't the way to go but maybe start with the bath, then move dinner earlier next etc. Do what works for you and your family and you really can't go wrong. Goodluck

  8. #8
    lynnyp Guest

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    Thanks all, I will be implementing many of your suggestions and letting you know how it goes over the next few months.

    Caro, she does get 12 hours usually, hers just starts later than yours.

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