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Old 04-27-2010, 02:28 PM
 
13,569 posts, read 16,411,735 times
Reputation: 11637
Default Sleep Training a 21 Month Old

I'm looking for some advice or methods that others have used to succesfully sleep train a toddler that doesn't involve letting them cry it out. I wouldn't criticize anyone for using that method, but I know it's not for us.

Here's the situation:

My 21-month old daughter has really digressed in her sleep training and my wife and I are really at odds with how to handle it. We know we probably did more harm them good a few months back, but it worked for us at the time.

My daughter was always a very good sleeper. Slept through the night starting at a little over 3 months. She went through a rough patch following a move to my in-laws house (wife and I were saving for a down payment on our home) at around 6 months where she would have to be walked/rocked to sleep. This lasted until about 8 months when we were able to progress to the point where we could lay her down and walk out of the room without issue. So, from 8 months until 18 months she napped and slept like clock work.

At around 18 months my youngest was born and there were definitely changes in the house, but my daughter continued to sleep well for about 3 weeks after the baby came home. One night she managed to climb out of her crib. We put her back and all was well, but a week later she did it again and was able to repeat it at will. So, we converted to a toddler bed.

From that point on she flat out refused to sleep in her room. At this point my wife and I were in full on house buying mode and preparing for a move. In order for my daughter to fall asleep she insisted in being in our bed and wanted to watch a show while she fell asleep. We lamented and let her do it and now 4 months later (one month since moving to our new house) she still will only fall asleep in our bed. If we move her to her own bed after she falls asleep she will inevitably wake up at some point in the night and scream until she gets to come into our bed.

At this point her demands are becoming more and more exaggerated as well. It started with either one of us could get her to sleep, then it was just me, now it's both of us. Her one bedtime show was fine, but now she demands different shows randomly. Some nights she just won't sleep until she pretty much passes out.

We do have a set bedtime routine that all three kids follow (my oldest, my son, is 5 and never had this problem). We do toy clean-up, dinner, bath, group story time and then they are taken to bed in age order. First the baby, then my daughter and then my son. The baby goes to bed at 7:30, my daughter at 8:00 and my son at 8:30...or at least that's the plan. The other two are fine, the middle one doesn't work out. Some nights she's asleep by 9:00, other nights it's 10:00 or even later.

We have tried "sleeping" next to her bed in her room. We have tried putting her bed in our room with both to no avail. I also need to note that the two girls 21 month and 5 1/2 months share a bedroom. The sharing sort of exacerbates the situation and definitely makes sleep training harder.

So, now that we have created a bedtime monster, any advice on how to slay it?
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Old 04-27-2010, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Boerne area
700 posts, read 896,556 times
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Mattress/sleeping bag/mat on the floor of your room. Sticker chart with clear expectations and frequent rewards....start w/ her laying down on mat w/ one parent in room, no fussing, sleep without problems => sticker in morning.

If she gets 2 stickers, then she gets a reward. doesn't have to be material stuff- can be extra time/book/game w/ mom or dad, etc (you could make a list and let her choose the reward). Do this successfully for a week or so, then increase expected behavior - try to get her into her room w/ no fussing, w/ parent at first then w/o parent.

Next, increase time b/w reward - now 3 stickers (so 3 days) = reward.

Now, you can insist from the get go that some things will no longer happen - no tv to sleep (sub a radio/cd player w/ kids music) and insist she use the mat - but this will lead to fit throwing. Or you can just do the positives - will take longer, but hopefully once she is reinforced she will want to earn stickers and no longer be in your bed.
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Old 04-27-2010, 02:59 PM
 
Location: here
16,927 posts, read 13,866,478 times
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insist that she sleep in her own bed. You could try letting her watch some TV in the family room or in your room before bed, but then she must go to her bed. If she gets up in the middle of the night, put her back in her own bed. Whatever you want her to do, insist on it and stick with it! It can be easier to just let her crawl into bed with you, but that won't help in the long run. Supernanny has a method where she sits next to the child's bed, then the next night a little farther away, each night getting closer to the door until you are out of the room. Don't talk or anything, just sit until she goes to sleep.

My boys are 6 and 4, and we've been through many difficult sleeping phases with them, especially the oldest. When he was around 2 and the other was a newborn he would get up and come to our bed multiple times a night. We just kept putting him back to bed, and lying with him for a few minutes. He grew out of it eventually. He still isn't a great sleeper. He goes to sleep around 9pm and wakes up around 6am. We spent many nights sitting in the hall to intercept them when they got out of bed.

I think it has to be a combination of enforcing the rules and the child growing out of it.
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Old 04-27-2010, 04:07 PM
 
5,244 posts, read 3,046,003 times
Reputation: 1798
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
I'm looking for some advice or methods that others have used to succesfully sleep train a toddler that doesn't involve letting them cry it out. I wouldn't criticize anyone for using that method, but I know it's not for us.

Here's the situation:

My 21-month old daughter has really digressed in her sleep training and my wife and I are really at odds with how to handle it. We know we probably did more harm them good a few months back, but it worked for us at the time.

My daughter was always a very good sleeper. Slept through the night starting at a little over 3 months. She went through a rough patch following a move to my in-laws house (wife and I were saving for a down payment on our home) at around 6 months where she would have to be walked/rocked to sleep. This lasted until about 8 months when we were able to progress to the point where we could lay her down and walk out of the room without issue. So, from 8 months until 18 months she napped and slept like clock work.

At around 18 months my youngest was born and there were definitely changes in the house, but my daughter continued to sleep well for about 3 weeks after the baby came home. One night she managed to climb out of her crib. We put her back and all was well, but a week later she did it again and was able to repeat it at will. So, we converted to a toddler bed.

From that point on she flat out refused to sleep in her room. At this point my wife and I were in full on house buying mode and preparing for a move. In order for my daughter to fall asleep she insisted in being in our bed and wanted to watch a show while she fell asleep. We lamented and let her do it and now 4 months later (one month since moving to our new house) she still will only fall asleep in our bed. If we move her to her own bed after she falls asleep she will inevitably wake up at some point in the night and scream until she gets to come into our bed.

At this point her demands are becoming more and more exaggerated as well. It started with either one of us could get her to sleep, then it was just me, now it's both of us. Her one bedtime show was fine, but now she demands different shows randomly. Some nights she just won't sleep until she pretty much passes out.

We do have a set bedtime routine that all three kids follow (my oldest, my son, is 5 and never had this problem). We do toy clean-up, dinner, bath, group story time and then they are taken to bed in age order. First the baby, then my daughter and then my son. The baby goes to bed at 7:30, my daughter at 8:00 and my son at 8:30...or at least that's the plan. The other two are fine, the middle one doesn't work out. Some nights she's asleep by 9:00, other nights it's 10:00 or even later.

We have tried "sleeping" next to her bed in her room. We have tried putting her bed in our room with both to no avail. I also need to note that the two girls 21 month and 5 1/2 months share a bedroom. The sharing sort of exacerbates the situation and definitely makes sleep training harder.

So, now that we have created a bedtime monster, any advice on how to slay it?
I think I'd move around the children: oldest(has no problem sleeping, right?) should share room with baby(at this age she doesn't know about the boy decor); girl on her own since she has the issue.
Put the baby down at 7:30 pm in a crib in the same room as oldest. Then baths for the other two right after the other. Then oldest goes quietly to sleep with baby.
I would not incorporate tv with the girl before bedtime; this would exacerbate the situation by letting her know "what she is missing out on when she sleeps". Get a lavender baby shampoo to relax her; even use lavender lotion after bath, maybe read a short story then night night. We have relaxing music to drown out any other noises around the house and a night lamp on in our kids' room.
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Old 04-28-2010, 07:39 AM
 
458 posts, read 408,472 times
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My wife and I took a course called RCB (Redirecting Children's behavior). It addresses sleep issues and so much more. Here is a book, you may find one at the library Amazon.com: Redirecting Children's Behavior (9781884734304): Kathryn J. Kvols, Bill Riedler, Parenting Press: Books

For the sleeping, here is what worked for us;
Put the child to bed and let them cry (if they do) for five minutes. Then after five minutes go into the room and scoop them up and hold them (in the room), for five minutes. Then set them back down and if they still cry let them, for another five minutes. You should only need to do this twice or three times. After a few nights they will learn that you are still there.
It was one of the toughest things I ever had to do. I stood by the door staring at the clock but my wife was stronger than me because she had to keep me from rushing into the room after only three minutes of my daughter crying.
This is called the "Comfort Cycle" and it saved us plenty hair and sleep.

Good luck!
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:03 AM
 
2,602 posts, read 5,919,190 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
In order for my daughter to fall asleep she insisted in being in our bed and wanted to watch a show while she fell asleep.
How does a 2 year old insist on doing anything? You are the adult and parent. Once you let her in your bed or to fall asleep to a movie, you have now made your job of reversing it even harder.

You need to put your foot down and put her to bed at bedtime and just keep putting her back into bed everytime she gets out.
Yes, she will cry but crying never hurt anyone. It may take a week or so of doing that, and you will feel tired and want to give in but dont. Because then you'll only be feeding into her crying, by giving her what she wants.

I also agree, I would let her have her own room. Either put the baby in with the oldest or put the baby in your room.
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:13 AM
 
2,183 posts, read 2,229,724 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KH02 View Post
How does a 2 year old insist on doing anything? You are the adult and parent. Once you let her in your bed or to fall asleep to a movie, you have now made your job of reversing it even harder.

You need to put your foot down and put her to bed at bedtime and just keep putting her back into bed everytime she gets out.
Yes, she will cry but crying never hurt anyone. It may take a week or so of doing that, and you will feel tired and want to give in but dont. Because then you'll only be feeding into her crying, by giving her what she wants.

I also agree, I would let her have her own room. Either put the baby in with the oldest or put the baby in your room.
Amen. Look, one of the best gifts you can give your child is to learn how to have a good night's sleep. The more research done on sleep the more it is becoming obvious that sleeping well is vital to just about every part of her life. So STOP with the night time television, the demands and falling asleep with her. Put her in bed and every time she gets up put her back in.

If you continue to indulge her not only will she need certain things to fall asleep every night (which really is silly, our bodies need sleep and Dora doesn't have any influence on that) but she will learn that Mommy and Daddy can be manipulated in other parts of her life too. Soon she'll be demanding a separate meal at dinnertime or she won't eat and eventually she'll need an iphone or she's not doing her homework...change it now or you'll regret it.
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:46 AM
 
Location: The brown house on the cul de sac
2,081 posts, read 2,656,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
I'm looking for some advice or methods that others have used to succesfully sleep train a toddler that doesn't involve letting them cry it out. I wouldn't criticize anyone for using that method, but I know it's not for us.

Here's the situation:

My 21-month old daughter has really digressed in her sleep training and my wife and I are really at odds with how to handle it. We know we probably did more harm them good a few months back, but it worked for us at the time.

My daughter was always a very good sleeper. Slept through the night starting at a little over 3 months. She went through a rough patch following a move to my in-laws house (wife and I were saving for a down payment on our home) at around 6 months where she would have to be walked/rocked to sleep. This lasted until about 8 months when we were able to progress to the point where we could lay her down and walk out of the room without issue. So, from 8 months until 18 months she napped and slept like clock work.

At around 18 months my youngest was born and there were definitely changes in the house, but my daughter continued to sleep well for about 3 weeks after the baby came home. One night she managed to climb out of her crib. We put her back and all was well, but a week later she did it again and was able to repeat it at will. So, we converted to a toddler bed.

From that point on she flat out refused to sleep in her room. ?
I had the same problem with one of my kids at 20 mos. and we ended up putting him back in the crib. That was all it took. We put the mattress on the lowest setting and removed any stuffed animals that would give him a "footing up" and made sure he understood that climbing out was a big no no. For us, it did the trick. It was another 8 months before we tried the toddler bed again and by then he was ready.

I think 21 months is a little young for some to be out of the crib. Your daughter has had a lot of change in her little world, new house, new sibling. She may not be ready for the transition to toddler bed.
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Old 04-28-2010, 12:10 PM
 
Location: Nova
486 posts, read 931,594 times
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I totally feel for you in this situation and I think you've had a lot of changes over a short period of time that have probably contributed to this problem. And I think kids will go through phases, at time they are great sleepers, then other times they push all boundaries and won't sleep.

Our pediatrician told us to move our child from her crib (since she wasn't crawling out of it) between 18 month and 2 1/2. She said if you wait longer than that, the child will become very attached to the crib and not want to leave it. I imagine this varies per child, so I'm not sure moving her at her age of 21 months is an issue, however the timing with your other child, your house move, and then moving her to a toddler bed might be an issue.

As for not crying it out, at one point I read and did this method and it worked beautifully. :-) I would sit and pat her back next to her bed or crib. Then after 2/3 nights of that I move just sat there and didn't touch her; then 2/3 nights later, I move the chair about a foot or two away, then 2/3 nights another foot or two.... her room was small so it only took about a week or so to get completely out of the room. Don't spend more than 3 nights though in one spot or else he'll think that's the new norm. And this is not to say, my child didn't cry, but not a lot and I told her I was still there and keeping an eye on her.... tried to comfort her with words.

In your case you have allowed her to get what she wants, so she's naturally going to push you guys to see how much more she can get, even if she doesn't really want the things she's requested. You need to just one night put her in her bed and stay there with her until she falls asleep. Then slowly move out like I mentioned above. She will fight and fight to stay in her bed initially, but maybe you could make a game out of it. For example, my child likes to pretend her bed is a boat and the floor around her is either the ocean or an oil spill (I know, I know... lol). My child also like fairies and I tell her the fairies will only come in her dreams if she's in her bed and closes her eyes and goes to sleep. Find something he likes and convince him his bed is the best place. ;-)

If you attempt this or any sleep training method, just gear yourself up for it and know that your entire evening might be spent getting your child to sleep and that you will be tired in the end. But know this is only temporary for a week or two. That way you won't get frustrated or impatient; you've already set up the expectation that it will take a long time that particular evening and you are going to do it. If it doesn't take long, just take that as a gift for one night while you establish the training.
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Old 04-28-2010, 12:31 PM
 
13,569 posts, read 16,411,735 times
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Thank you all for your input. As to the people who felt it was necessary to remind me that I am the parent, well I am well aware of that. We have zero major discipline issues with our kids outside of the sleep issue with the 21 month old, so we must be doing something right. I know we created the issue ourselves by acquiescing to her demand, but at the time we had a lot going on and it was simply something we didn't have the patience to deal with at that moment. Now that things are settled, we plan to correct our mistake. We have our own ideas, I was just seeing what worked for other people.

We have decided to move the baby into our room for the time being. We have ample room in our bedroom for her to have her own corner and not really disturb us or us disturb her. We considered my sons room, but his room is rather full with a large bunkbed setup and why should the 5 year old have to pay for our mistakes? Starting tonight we are going to use the technique suggested by mrmikeman. We are not opposed to letting her cry a bit as she realizes the new dynamic, we were just against putting her in her room and walking away regardless of what she did. We do ultimately have some sympathy for her as she has had a lot of change in her short life that while ultimately for the better, still can't be easy on her. We plan to give her some time to settle into a good routine before we try to put the baby back in the same room.
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