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Old 09-29-2014, 08:05 PM
 
875 posts, read 644,869 times
Reputation: 2079

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I'll throw my experience into the conversation.

When my oldest daughter was 3, she had a hard time staying in her own bed. She would go bed ok, but get up at least a dozen times within 2 hours of being put to bed - a drink of a water, another hug, I need to say good-night, I have to go to the bathroom, I just wanted to say I love you, etc. etc. etc. It was driving me and my husband crazy.

I tried to be patient and loving but inside I was getting angry at her.

One night, in frustration, after she'd wandered out of her room for about the tenth time that evening, I told her very firmly: "Listen. You need to stay in bed. If you get out of your bed again, I am not going to talk to you. I am not going to hug you. I am just going to pick you up, and put you right back in bed, and turn around and leave the room. Then I am going to sit right outside your bedroom door, and make sure you don't leave again."

I meant this in a punitive manner, but she actually got pretty excited about it. Turns out she really liked the idea of my sitting outside her bedroom door. The first night she tested me out within a minute of going to bed. I did as I had promised and she had a little smile on her face when I carried her back to bed. I sat outside her bedroom door and read a magazine in the hallway until I could hear her breathing slow down, indicating she was asleep.

After that, either my husband or I would sit outside her bedroom, with the door closed, for a few minutes. She could see our shadow under the door crack, and that was reassuring to her. She knew we would leave after a few minutes, but just having us there for that short time was enough to keep her in bed get her into a sound sleep. This went on for over a year. Initially she would come out every few nights, see that we were there, and happily allow herself to be put back to bed. As I had told her, I never interacted with her at all during those times. I was all business, just picked her up gently, and carried her back to bed, and walked out, without saying a word.

Eventually the amount of time we stayed in the hallway tapered down to less than a minute (unless we got caught up in e-mail or a good book) and then, in the end, not at all unless she asked for it. She would occasionally ask "Can you sit outside my door for a few minutes" until she was 6-7 years old. It seemed a relatively small price for us to pay, in terms of time/convenience, for her happiness and sense of security.

We also had a period when she would come into our bed in the middle of the night, claiming bad dreams, but I suspect she just enjoyed the Mommy/Daddy snuggles. I did not enjoy it, though, at least not on such a regular basis, as I never slept very soundly when she was there. To combat that issue, after it had become somewhat of a nightly habit, I offered pure bribery: if you can stay in bed all night long, you get a dum dum (small cheap lollipop). It was enough to make her realize that she could do it, all on her own, and eventually we were able to keep her distracted enough in the mornings that she'd forget about the lollipop, but the habit was broken.
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Old 09-30-2014, 07:01 AM
 
2,619 posts, read 4,110,773 times
Reputation: 1871
So a quick update:

We started talking to our son about sleeping by himself on Wednesday and he wanted a nightlight, so he picked one out from Amazon. It was supposed to be delivered by Friday, but for some reason was delayed until last (Monday) night. Therefore, we kept the status quo for the weekend.

Last night, he was excited about his nightlight and wanted to sleep by himself. Unfortunately, when the actual time came (after his nightly routine), he cried and threw up (this happened very quickly, in maybe 5 minutes). Anyway, we cleaned everything up and left him crying (gate & door both open) and I checked on him every 5 minutes.

After about 10 minutes, he was not crying and was trying to sleep on his own (that's amazing, and thank you CD folks who suggested this). It took about an hour for him to sleep, which is about normal, when one of us sits in the chair and I checked on him every 5-10 minutes. All in all, it started our rough (crying and vomit), but ended very well.

Also, I'm not sure why, but he was amazing this morning (both in getting ready for preschool and his overall mood). Thanks again people. Hopefully, you won't see a regression post from me anytime soon.
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Old 09-30-2014, 07:50 AM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
39,151 posts, read 37,766,222 times
Reputation: 73867
Quote:
Originally Posted by blazerj View Post
So a quick update:

We started talking to our son about sleeping by himself on Wednesday and he wanted a nightlight, so he picked one out from Amazon. It was supposed to be delivered by Friday, but for some reason was delayed until last (Monday) night. Therefore, we kept the status quo for the weekend.

Last night, he was excited about his nightlight and wanted to sleep by himself. Unfortunately, when the actual time came (after his nightly routine), he cried and threw up (this happened very quickly, in maybe 5 minutes). Anyway, we cleaned everything up and left him crying (gate & door both open) and I checked on him every 5 minutes.

After about 10 minutes, he was not crying and was trying to sleep on his own (that's amazing, and thank you CD folks who suggested this). It took about an hour for him to sleep, which is about normal, when one of us sits in the chair and I checked on him every 5-10 minutes. All in all, it started our rough (crying and vomit), but ended very well.

Also, I'm not sure why, but he was amazing this morning (both in getting ready for preschool and his overall mood). Thanks again people. Hopefully, you won't see a regression post from me anytime soon.
Congrats, OP, on this success. I know it feels good to see results from your efforts.

The vomiting is weird. I mean, my kids never did that, and I am not sure if it just happened this time or if he was really riled up. But I'm not going to dwell on that because I want to focus on one thing I've noticed in your posts.

And I am saying this from a place of caring, so please take it that way.

I encourage you to not make a huge production out of what should be normal parts of your son's life.

In other words, sometimes you just go to bed because you're tired and you need rest. You pee in the potty because it's sanitary and that's what you do, and you eat your vegetables because they are healthy. Normal habits don't have to be a big production.

I say this because you could have gone out that first night and bought a perfectly good nightlight at any local store rather than ordering one online and delaying this entire process over the weekend.

Sometimes we parents make things much harder on our child by building up anticipation that brings anxiety with it.

The point of a child growing up is to remove ourselves from the equation gradually. Keep this new routine for as long as you can, and don't overplay every little thing he learns along the way.
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Old 09-30-2014, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Texas
3,698 posts, read 2,847,271 times
Reputation: 6095
There's a parenting book I read several years ago called "Secrets of the Baby whisperer" by Tracy Hogg. She was a British Nanny that worked in the U.S. and helped a lot of couples.....

Anyway, she had a term she called "Accidental Parenting" that I think fits well in this situation. It basically refers to anything parents do (usually with the best of intentions) that somehow take on a life of their own and become problems within the household. Most of them center on sleep and props that become necessary to get and keep kids asleep (co sleeping with older toddlers, pacifiers, rocking kids to sleep etc).

The good thing is that "Accidental Parenting" mistakes can be fixed, and it sounds like OP is on his way to doing that. As PP's have suggested, stay consistent, and don't overly reward something that a 3.5 yo can (and should) be doing independently by this age. It will all work out
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Old 09-30-2014, 08:37 AM
 
6,461 posts, read 6,106,582 times
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That's great OP! Keep it up thanks for replying.
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Old 09-30-2014, 05:34 PM
 
Location: here
24,473 posts, read 28,761,114 times
Reputation: 31056
Quote:
Originally Posted by blazerj View Post
So a quick update:

We started talking to our son about sleeping by himself on Wednesday and he wanted a nightlight, so he picked one out from Amazon. It was supposed to be delivered by Friday, but for some reason was delayed until last (Monday) night. Therefore, we kept the status quo for the weekend.

Last night, he was excited about his nightlight and wanted to sleep by himself. Unfortunately, when the actual time came (after his nightly routine), he cried and threw up (this happened very quickly, in maybe 5 minutes). Anyway, we cleaned everything up and left him crying (gate & door both open) and I checked on him every 5 minutes.

After about 10 minutes, he was not crying and was trying to sleep on his own (that's amazing, and thank you CD folks who suggested this). It took about an hour for him to sleep, which is about normal, when one of us sits in the chair and I checked on him every 5-10 minutes. All in all, it started our rough (crying and vomit), but ended very well.

Also, I'm not sure why, but he was amazing this morning (both in getting ready for preschool and his overall mood). Thanks again people. Hopefully, you won't see a regression post from me anytime soon.
Crying to the point of vomiting is not normal. He .may have an anxiety issue. Good job tho
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Old 09-30-2014, 08:02 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
2,535 posts, read 4,502,400 times
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Have you tried getting him a cd player and letting him listen to books on cd at bedtime? Some kids love falling asleep to a story. Music works, too.

I think the most important thing is that you use the opportunity to let your child understand that 1) you still love him but 2) his sleeping with you is making it very difficult and uncomfortable for you to sleep. Don't get angry at him but, at this age, do let him be a part of making the decision to try to stay in his bed.

We had one child that was particularly clingy. He had a very strong need for sensory comfort...had to be touching me all the time, we couldn't get the paci out of his mouth and he was also a horrible sleeper. The book Raising a Sensory Smart Child has lots of great ideas for these "different" children. The sleep thing for my child was caught up in his need to be touching someone.

This is what we did. We had him stay in his bed for just a few minutes each evening and then he was allowed to get up and get in bed with us if he was still awake at the end of those minutes. Which he always was. We started extending the time he had to stay in bed until we got to 10 minutes. It was a good training for him to stay in his room without freaking out and with the comfort that in just a little while he can go back in with mom and dad. Whatever you do, don't make this a punishment. Let him know it's practice for when he's big enough to sleep in his bed. My son was able to be carried to his bed once he was asleep and then usually stayed there until the wee hours of the morning so it didn't interfere in our personal lives so much, at least once he was 3.5. (When he was younger it definitely did.) We allowed this kind of thing for a couple years, however, we relocated a couple times and the moving was very unsettling to him so we had to start over. He's 6.5 now and he still comes into our room on occasion to cuddle after lights out but he always goes back to bed without a fight when I tell him I'm ready to go to sleep and I'd like my bed back.
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Old 08-05-2018, 01:24 AM
 
3 posts, read 535 times
Reputation: 10
Default Sleep training 3.5 year old. Please help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meyerland View Post
It's rough because he knows if he makes enough of a fuss you will cave.

As parents you need to decide how much you want this, otherwise you are all being tortured for nothing.

I would not sit in his room past 15 minutes. Tell him that he needs to learn to sleep by himself and that you know he can do it. Have a ritual that you follow every night and he knows what will happen. Leave the gate off.

1. Take a bath
2. Put on Jammies
3. Read a book
4.kiss and hug good night. Turn down lights while mom or dad sits in room for 15 minutes.
5. Mom or dad leaves
6. Every time he gets up, you place him gently back to bed and say...I know you can go to sleep on your own. Even if it takes twenty times he will go to sleep. Then it keeps getting easier over successive nights. After a week or two he will not be resistant. Also shorten the time you sit in his room until it's only a minute or two.
7. Wake him up at the same time every morning. Don't let him sleep in.

I'm not going to lie...it will be he11. Once you have done it though, bedtime will be a breeze.
Agree. And I have more advice:
8. Give him something to eat or feed him milk.
9. Make sure whether the mattress is too soft or too firm. (If it is too soft, the kids will have a back pain; if it is too firm, the kids will toss and turn during the night).
10. Read bedtime stories for kids. Read your kids one or two short bedtime stories so as to calm them.
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Old 08-05-2018, 06:20 AM
 
11,230 posts, read 9,239,684 times
Reputation: 14654
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeurich View Post
Kids who go to sleep crying growing as haters when they get older.
That is why I always gave my kids the cookies they wanted when they were going to bed. I did not want them to grow up to be haters.
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