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Old 04-01-2012, 12:15 PM   #1
mama_mimi
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sensitive I can't lay with them to sleep anymore. Now what?

How do I get these guys to go to sleep? I can't do it anymore. Logistically, emotionally, mentally, and physically. It seems like all I do all day is lay in the dark while a child struggles to get to sleep, and often times this means someone is running amuck in the house. Yes I have a lot of very smalls. Yes it's triage. But I'm at a breaking point and it's putting a strain on the family. Everyone says if it's not working, change it. So what are my options? Cry it out for the 3 and 2 yo? I'm pretty much willing to give it a try. And why not the 4mo while I'm at it so we're not doing this all over again in a year or so?

I'm not looking for opinions or criticisms, but real advice.

We currently have everyone in one room. Toddler bed, pack n play, baby in bed. DH on couch. He needs to sleep and is really little help because he falls asleep sitting up and so count him out. It's gotten progressively worse since #3 came along. Other two take so long to go to sleep and they both still need naps and lots of night sleep. I give them lots of attention and fill their tanks and their bellies during the day and we play outside a lot. None of this has a bearing on how long it takes them to get to sleep. I just seriously need them to be able to do it alone. I spend at least an hour with them twice a day and two more 20 min or so sessions with baby. So that is nearly 3 hours a day. Doesn't sound like much but I could also have a house to clean, I need to bathe, and cook and take my stepson to and from school and be a wife and spend time with he Lord. And I can't do all that while I'm laying with them. It's too distracting even to pray or sing or quote scripture to myself. And it just takes. Too. Long. I'm spent. Help.
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Old 04-01-2012, 12:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: I can't lay with them to sleep anymore. Now what?

Ok, I would focus on the older two for now - especially the 3 yo should be able to be taught to lay and fall asleep without you there if you focus on it for a bit.

1. Do you have a consistent nighttime routine?
2. Have you considered posting 2-3 'nighttime rules' that you go over during the day and then institute at night?
3. I would tell them about the change - you cannot lay down with them until they fall asleep anymore, but you will cuddle for a few minutes (set a timer - they get as many minutes as years they are old, for example - my 3 year old is all about 'i need 3 (of whatever) because I'm 3 years old!!!!' and would be ok with that.
4. The first week you will have to do a lot of boundary setting where you walk them back to bed and retuck them in with minimal talking/lights/fuss. But as you're consistent then they will follow the routine.

5. Are both 2 yo and 3 yo still napping? When do they wake up from naps? I would make sure they wake up NO LATER than 5-6 hours before bedtime otherwise they'll have trouble falling asleep (that is a pretty consistent interval for little oneS).

6. Don't worry about the baby now - you can teach her to fall asleep on her own when she's older. I think if the burden of the older ones is reduced you'll be able to be more ok with the baby's needs. Though you can totally try the No Cry Sleep Solution with her if you'd like .
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Old 04-01-2012, 12:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: I can't lay with them to sleep anymore. Now what?

Are you married? What can your dh do to help? If he could do bed time for your two oldest, that would be a huge help for you (and the whole family).
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Old 04-01-2012, 12:44 PM   #4
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Default Re: I can't lay with them to sleep anymore. Now what?

Your two and three year old still nap? My two year old dropped his last nap about a month ago - bedtime before that used to take anything from an hour to two. Since he doesn't nap anymore, he's out in ten minutes.

Might it be worth considering dropping naps for the older two, having an early bedtime instead? Theo now goes to bed (and is asleep) by about 7.30 give or take 20 minutes either side.

If you feel you NEED that time they're asleep for your sanity (totally understand that!) you could institute 'quiet time' with a video, or an audio tape, or books in their rooms. Certainly the older is old enough to understand that. And the younger might just copy what the older does
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Old 04-01-2012, 12:52 PM   #5
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Default Re: I can't lay with them to sleep anymore. Now what?

when i need to get an older toddler to sleep without me, i do sort of a slow transition. first i just sit by there bed, for a few minutes, and then do the "i'll be right back" thing, leave for like 30 seconds the first time and gradually stretch it out. so i will leave and come back like 2 or 3 times then sit in there till they fall asleep. after they are used to me being gone for a few minutes then i will stretch it out longer, or start transitioning to what katigre said.

bbl with more, little one is starting to fuss
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:15 PM   #6
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Default Re: I can't lay with them to sleep anymore. Now what?

With my oldest, like what houseforjoy said worked for her. With my second, it was more a matter of she had to fend for herself and learned to sleep on her own. With my third I'm working on moving further away and keep my sanity via reading on my kindle app in the dark

There are options. Try some of them and find what works for your little ones!
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Old 04-01-2012, 02:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: I can't lay with them to sleep anymore. Now what?

Lots of hugs!!! Here are a few things that we have done in the last few months that have really helped me deal with bed time (I have kids at similar ages plus dh is gone 4-5 days per week so I'm on my own most nights.). We have a walk in closet in the master bedroom. I put the three and two year olds in there with mats, pillows, blankets, a few books and a few quiet toys. We do our bedtime routine, then I put them in there and put up a gate. They can still see/hear me but are also contained. Then I nurse baby to sleep. If they are too loud I go address the issue if needed. If they are still awake when baby is sleeping i go snuggle, separate, whatever seems to be needed. When I go to bed I take the gate down so that they can come to the big bed in the night if needed. We have another little pad set up for the three year old because there's not enough room in our queen for everyone. There was crying sometimes at first, and sometimes they drive me nuts because they talk/play instead of sleeping right away but at least I can help the baby and then deal with them. The oldest rarely naps, and the two year old will not fall asleep for six hours after she wakes up from a nap. So we either skip nap or I make sure it's an early nap (i.e. done by 1:30) and we don't try going to bed until that time to avoid frustration for both of us.

You may not be able to work this setup, but maybe parts will work for you. I also read, maybe even on this board, that it takes 10 days to establish a new bed routine, so don't give up after a couple days. Hang in there to really give everyone a chance to adjust to a new setup. Again, lots of hugs!!
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Old 04-01-2012, 05:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: I can't lay with them to sleep anymore. Now what?

Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but are your older two taking 2 naps a day? And the baby is taking 4 naps a day?

That seems like a lot for the older two, which might be why they are having such a hard time sleeping. At that age, I wait until they are acting tired and then make a sleepy environment. That might mean putting on a movie or snuggling with a book, probably once a day. If you have a phone that can go on the internet or a book for you to read, snuggle with them in bed while you do that. Don't make the goal "getting them to sleep," but rather just a restful time for everyone and if they are tired they will fall asleep.

With the baby, watch tv or play on the computer or read a book while she nurses to sleep where ever you are in the house. Or wear her in a baby carrier while you get things done.
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:05 PM   #9
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Default Re: I can't lay with them to sleep anymore. Now what?

Thanks for all the love and great advice! Bless you all! I need to do this. I just wasn't sure how to go about it. Good stuff here.

Yeah I love DH, and we have a great relationship, but he is little help and often not here so I'd rather just do it myself.

Yep, we still do naps. I don't know how people don't. My kids NEED a nap. They get up early (6-6:30 now but 5-5:30 in winter, ugh) and by 11 they are ready for a sleep! We have a three hour nap time. Although, they aren't always sleeping! Some days though, they sleep the whole time and then some. Usually on Thursdays. Weird, right? And then by 6:30-7 they are ready for bed. It used to take 20-45 minutes to get them to sleep at night and 10-15 at nap time. Now it takes 1-1/2 hrs at night and 5-60 minutes at nap time. I feel like I just lay in the dark most of the day.

If they don't get a nap they get really silly. Then really really silly. Then suddenly nasty. 3 yo yells at me and screams his made up cuss words. 2 yo flails an fits and hits, kicks, scratches, bites. They have been very compliant sweet children with little to no tantrums. I know a lot of this is adjusting to new sibling. But if we're all sleep deprived, it will only continue. Any advice on that topic is welcomed as well.
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: I can't lay with them to sleep anymore. Now what?

Quote:
Originally Posted by houseforjoy View Post
when i need to get an older toddler to sleep without me, i do sort of a slow transition. first i just sit by there bed, for a few minutes, and then do the "i'll be right back" thing, leave for like 30 seconds the first time and gradually stretch it out. so i will leave and come back like 2 or 3 times then sit in there till they fall asleep. after they are used to me being gone for a few minutes then i will stretch it out longer, or start transitioning to what katigre said.

bbl with more, little one is starting to fuss
I'm trying to do this with Meep right now, and it really helped to read it plotted out that way in words.
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:16 PM   #11
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Default Re: I can't lay with them to sleep anymore. Now what?

I think that what you need to do is start waking them up from their naps at the 1.5-2 hour mark - don't let it go a full 3 hours. See if that helps them be able to fall asleep more easily at night. What you are likely experiencing (IMO ) is that they still need a nap, but not as long of a nap as they used to - but they aren't regulating their own wake-up times well which is why you should do it for them with a self-imposed nap limit of 2 hours (maybe 2.5 hours - no longer than that definitely).
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:56 PM   #12
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Default Re: I can't lay with them to sleep anymore. Now what?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katigre View Post
I think that what you need to do is start waking them up from their naps at the 1.5-2 hour mark - don't let it go a full 3 hours. See if that helps them be able to fall asleep more easily at night. What you are likely experiencing (IMO ) is that they still need a nap, but not as long of a nap as they used to - but they aren't regulating their own wake-up times well which is why you should do it for them with a self-imposed nap limit of 2 hours (maybe 2.5 hours - no longer than that definitely).
Sound advice...mine have never napped that long (lucky duck! ), but I'm keeping Meep up from her naps these days to make bedtime easier. It's helping, and def worth a shot.
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:53 PM   #13
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Default Re: I can't lay with them to sleep anymore. Now what?

i'm here with
dd1 would only nurse laying down and only in my bed until ... felt like forever! and yes, laying down in a dark room while a kid is struggling to fall asleep for hours is torture to me

we need to figure out something for he now, btw. ds is so amazing at going to sleep! i was hoping he'd kinda teach her no such luck we may have to do that too
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:20 AM   #14
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Default Re: I can't lay with them to sleep anymore. Now what?

My older two napped until they turned 4 and even now they'll nap of they have to get up early. It sounds like your older 2 do still need a nap, but maybe try shortening it? And there's nothing wrong with letting your older 2 know that you'll be spending x amount of time with them then they need to go sleep on their own. I also wonder if being in there with them is keeping them awake? Whenever I've tried to be with mine as they fell asleep it just ended up keeping them awake.
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