Thursday, August 9, 2007

Go To Sleep Now, My Baby

Our little Buddy goes to bed like a champ. As if the crib has been calling his name all night. He is out like a light within five minutes. We take him upstairs, whisper our good night prayers, say I love yous, and ni-ni. That's it. Done.

Our little Bee. Not so much. She has never really gone to sleep without help. She had a pacifier until 19 months (she's now four) and then we helped her by staying with her, using music, a blankie. We've tried it all. She has never wanted to go to sleep alone. "But I'm all alonely." That's her line.

But it's gotten worse. We follow the same routine. Hubs reads to her after brushing teeth, they say good night prayers, cuddle for a minute, turn on some music (a new addition to the routine in an attempt to solve our current issues), and say good night. When she comes down, we prompt her back upstairs. Even when I try to lay with her, her body will not stop moving. I end up getting frustrated because she won't lay still and will not stop talking. She doesn't want to fall asleep.

She takes HOURS to fall asleep. HOURS. It is exhausting. The prompting and the whining and the crying. We've tried adjusting the time both earlier and later, with no improvement. Hubs is ready to say forget it and let her stay up with us (I usually go to bed at 10:00) because we are so tired of fighting with her.

I can't really say I expect any advice, but I'd take it if anyone has ideas. We've gone the way of the sticker chart, they've lost their effectiveness. Hubs made good on a threat tonight to have her put some movies in a garbage bag (they're up in a closet, he told her she could get them back someday, but she thinks they're thrown away). Punishment and reward have both failed to change the behavior.

Does she need less sleep? She's still napping at daycare for the time being (until September, I think).

Should we just keep doing what we're doing?

I'm at the end of my rope here, I think. I don't want her to be sleep-deprived, and I hate it that every day ends negatively with her because she has worn down our patience yet again.

I guess I'm hoping it's just a phase (a four year phase, so far).


Aliki2006 said...

Oh, this is so hard. I'm not sure I have any good advice for you. Our son has always been a terrible sleeper and our daughter a great one! Liam takes forever to fall asleep (and did when he was little, too). ow that he's 7 he will eventually fall asleep on his own, but not without 3-4 "pop-ups" a night where we have to walk back up and tuck him in.

LoriAnn said...

Do you think she might fall asleep faster if you let her do it on the floor of your room? I'm not a big advocate of kids in the "parent space" of a bedroom, but maybe if she had a pallet on the floor in your room she would feel "special" and comforted enough to go to sleep at an earlier time with less trouble. Then hubs could move her or heck, just leave her there if she's sleeping soundly.

Beck said...

How old is Brenna?
All three of our kids go to bed on school nights at 7:30. Our Girl - who is eight - can stay up reading for half an hour, but then it's light's out, go to sleep, and don't bug us till the morning. I can email you our sleep stuff if you like.
Having said that, when one of my kids starts experiencing a big change in their sleep habits, I always make sure that something isn't going on in their lives. In Brenna's case, could it be a reaction to being back in daycare again? If that's the case, she should get back to her normal habits in a little while.

Swistle said...

My six-year-old son went through a "too lonely to sleep" phase when he was about four. One day (I'm skipping over the nearly endless attempts to solve the problem) we realized it had started around the time he moved into his own room (it wasn't right away or we would have noticed sooner...I'm sure). We moved him into a room with his 2-year-old brother and gave his 2-year-old sister her own room, and the problem was completely solved: he now sleeps easily. He just wanted company in his room at night.

Um, so I guess my suggestion is, have another baby! A girl! And room them together!

Jacqniel said...

I would ask the day care to not give her a nap - or to at least shorten it in half. If she is wide awake at bedtime, that is probably the problem.
Also, after the normal routine bedtime stuff I would allow the kids to look at books, in their bed by their night light - ON THEIR OWN. They would usually fall asleep during this time.
PS - as a voice of experience - if you start the floor sleeping in your room - it is a hard one to extinquish. I used it to stop the crawling in my bed in the middle of the night - and then getting kicked all night.

Worker Mommy said...

Same thing happens at my house. My son sleeps great. My daughter, not so much.

So I feel your "pain".

California mom said...

I also feel your pain. Peter is 8 now and at least stays in his bed now once we say goodnight (but doesn't always go right to sleep). Liam, on the other hand will get tucked in and within minutes is up and going to the bathroom, followed by asking for water, telling us he's scared,lonely,sad,etc... I have tried removing his afternoon naps and it hasn't helped. So I can't really say what to do. I have heard, although never really tried, that you could put up a baby gate in front of her room so that she can't leave her room, but that she doesn't feel closed in. Then you let the child get herself back to sleep. Going back to their room with them doesn't seem to work. I've also heard (but again, not tried...that if a child gets out of bed you should not interact with them either positively or negatively, just take their hand and lead them back to bed and tuck them back in. It seems that kids want the attention and when they aren't getting it they will stop getting out of bed. So maybe you could do this in combination with a reward for her of a few extra minutes with you if she doesn't leave her room after being sent to bed.
Don't really know, but those are some ideas that I think I am going to try. Good luck.

Jenifer said...

Yikes. 14 or 15 posts in 15 minutes!!!

The sleep stuff is tricky and since mine sleep pretty easy around 7:30pm on school nights (ducking) I can tell you about our routine if you are interested. We have had many friends struggle and like tried many things like reward charts, bribing, threatening to no avail. What always seemed to work best was a no-nonsense common-sense approach of tough-love. Lots of cuddles then lights out, no matter how much protesting.

I do think so kids just need more sleep and some need less - overall. That said I think giving up the naps will probably help.

Rosebud is almost 4 and still naps everyday for about 2 hours AND goes to bed by 8pm. She just needs her sleep.

Good luck! I think I have managed to catch up and I am really loving the menu planning, I really suck at that.

H&Hmommy said...

I would try stopping the nap if you can. I have a four year old who does not take a nap regularly-but when she does, she is up forever at night. It drives me nuts, especially since she will be asleep with minimal fuss by 7:00 or 7:30 without a nap. I will share with you a book that absolutely changed my life with regards to my children's sleep habits (we had issues). "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Dr. Marc Weisbluth. A poorly organized book, but the information provided is nothing short of least for my two. Good luck!

Michelle said...

That's a tough one, especially because it seems like you've tried everything. Maybe she does need to cut out that afternoon nap now if she's having so much trouble falling asleep at night? Sorry that is the only thing I could think of!

Omaha Mama said...

I think nap cutting is the only idea left! So we'll probably talk to the daycare to see if they really do cut out the naps come preschool in Sept. If that's the case, we'll probably wait it out and hope that fixes it! It's 10:15 right now and she's still rolling around up there. I can hear her bed squeaking. We even let her stay up later than usual tonight (9:00) to see if she'd be more tired, not so much.

In the past we've also tried earlier, like 7:30, which did not help either. It's a quandary for sure, and certainly one with no quick fix!

Thanks for all of the ideas!!!

Alpha DogMa said...

When Brenna goes for her nap, does she drag that out too? Is she well rested in the morning?

My guys are 3 & 5 and don't nap (the eldest never ever napped, but that's a whole other post), and are fuss free (*knock on wood*) at their 8 o'clock bedtime.

I'm very protective of the after hours kid-free time. That's when I reconnect with myself and the spouse. So I'd stress not giving into the later bedtime.

Good luck.