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.

Dealing with sleep troubles

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?

6 Responses to Dealing With Sleep Troubles

  1. ginger says:

    Ugh…Charlotte never has slept and to be honest I have been jealous of your well sleeping kids…but in general both girls now sleep well…Charlotte had some big troubles starting this year, we learned there was huge anxiety with school and that we were doing too much. She said one night, “I wish I could get my brain to turn off” this was an indication to me that she had too much going on. She just couldn’t settle down and had nightmares. We started solving the issue by first eliminating one of her after school activities. Next, we got to the business of her school anxiety…It has been work and lots of tears. I would start to see if something is “girl” issue related.

  2. Daria says:

    Honestly my kids have been easy on me. My youngest is not wanting to sleep in her bed, but she will fall asleep there if we read together and leave the light on and then I go in and turn it off later. She does climb in bed with me in the middle of the night, but I’m ok with it for now. As long as she seems rested the next day I”m not going to stress too much about it. Granted the other 2 had to stay in their beds because a new baby was coming and I didn’t want to risk them climbing onto the baby.

    I guess there are some perks of being the youngest. :)

  3. Laura says:

    It has been a while but we had 1 good sleeper and 1 not. We tried everything. The book Happy Sleep, Healthy Child by Weissbluth was the only source that offered solutions for us that worked. Now as teens, I can’t get them out of bed. Wonder if there’s a solution for that! ;)

  4. Like others have said, we also found the root of the issue was anxiety. We were unable to find any strategies that worked until we dealt with that.

    I was wondering, though, if you could set up a very short-term goal for your daughter. Like, 2 (or 3) nights in a row, if she could stay in her bed all night, she gets a special treat, like a manicure with mom or a trip to a movie theater or whatever is a big-girl reward for her.

    This is how my parents got me to stop sucking my thumb (the thing I wanted most was a board game/word game — total nerd!).

  5. Vicki L. says:

    I have a lot of issues with sleep and they are mostly my fault, kinda. My son was horrible (but he had apnea so bad he stopped breathing 90 times an hour), and by the time my daughter came we just fixed my son’s issues and I was paranoid.
    A couple of things are helping us. First, one that surprised me was that my daughter’s pediatrician told her to bring her in a calendar of stickers of when she slept in her own bed. I have begged and pleaded but for some reason my daughter cares about this.
    Also, if she does come in our room she has to sleep in her sleeping bag on the floor.
    I carry her back to bed if she crawls in bed. PITA yes, but better than getting kicked in the back all night long

    If you find something that works let me know would ya?

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