As parents we all know that once you feel like you have mastered one parenting issue, another arises. We also know that sometimes challenges come from places that were previously challenge-free. In our house right now we’re dealing with sleep troubles that we did not previously experience. Both of my girls slept like champions as babies. They were both sleeping through the night before they were 12 weeks old. On average, bedtime was around 7:30 pm and they would sleep straight through the night until 6:30 or 7:00 the next morning. My 18 month-old, Delaney, is still a great sleeper. We put her in bed every night and she easily and quickly falls asleep and doesn’t wake until morning.
My oldest, on the other hand, has changed things up since those early years of putting her into her bed, saying good-nights, and tucking her in for the night. Now we are going through several phases. Phases of waking through the night, and calling to us from her room. She has also been coming into our room at night and ultimately climbing into bed with us. And most recently, she’s had a very long phase of not staying in her bed. Now, bedtimes that used to take mere minutes – from tuck-in to sleep- takes at least 30 minutes and sometimes up to 2 hours or more.
We’ve tried letting her read until she falls asleep or letting her leave her bedside table lamp on. We’ve tried taking valued toys or privileges away if she gets out of bed. We’ve tried playing calm music. Add on the attempts at back scratching, extended cuddles, offering rewards, and mom or dad sitting in her room until she falls asleep and we’ve reached the point where we’re running out of ideas and patience. There has to be a solution for our big kid that will actually keep her in bed.
So I’m looking to you and your parenting expertise for advice. Since a lot of kids of all ages have trouble at bedtime, I’m sure comments will help other parents out too.
What tips or tricks do you use to get your kids into bed and keep them there at bedtime?