Help... Need Sleep

Thursday, October 12, 2006 7 Comments A+ a-

Ok, that’s it… I’m throwing in the towel… I’m raising the white flag… I give in… I give up… Uncle… I really can’t think of any other way to say that I’m at my wits end. I need help, I’m begging for it actually and I really hope that someone will offer something that is actually going to work.

Here’s the situation, we are having issues keeping Devyn in her bed all night long. She’ll go down just fine and she sleeps like a baby. However, without fail, she wakes up every night between 1:00 and 3:00 in the morning, wanting to climb into bed with Mommy and Daddy. Most nights we are too tired or sleepy to argue and will pull her between the two of us and try to go back to sleep. I’m not saying this as an excuse or to try to justify this move, just as an explanation. We even switched her from a toddler bed, low to the ground, and easy to get out of, to a twin size bed. We did this mainly so Jon and I can take turns lying with her on the twin bed when she wakes up. This still hasn’t helped…

With the upcoming arrival of a new baby, we really feel that we need to nip this in the bud as soon as possible. That is why I’m turning to you, the veterans of this parent-world, in hopes that you’ll have an idea that we haven’t tried yet. FYI, while I’m sure there will be a few (or many) suggestions of crying-it-out, I probably won’t be using them. Please feel free to share those success stories, as I know it’s worked for some families and maybe someone else will be able to use the ideas. I just know that crying-it-out won’t work for this mommy, daddy, and child; it’s just not within our family make-up and I’m not very comfortable with the idea. So thank you in advance for the ideas, you have no idea how much I’m looking forward to reading them.

One Hopeful-for-Help, Most-Thankful-for-Ideas, Dying-for-Uninterrupted-Sleep Mom

I’m a coffee drinking, book reading, laundry procrastinating, husband and children loving, mess of a woman who believes that chips and salsa can fix anything. We have chickens running around the backyard, a mountain of dishes in the sink, and on any given morning, I have at least 10 school forms that need my signature or initials. It’s a crazy life {I prefer to call it controlled chaos}, but its ours.

7 comments

Write comments
Sarah
AUTHOR
6:10 PM delete

Okay, you asked for it, so here's my advice, take it or leave it. Go back to the crib and yes, let Devyn do some crying it out! This has obviously become a habit and I think you would know if it was the result of nightmares and she needed comfort. And crying it out does not have to mean leaving her in there without checking in and offering comforting words and kisses, just comfort, reassure, then leave again. She'll figure it out eventually that she needs to go back to sleep in her bed and that getting out is not an option. Remember, children cry when they're mad even more than when they are sad. At this point, she's running the show, and of course she's going to be mad when she finds that she's not in charge. If you don't want to do the crib again, consider the close the door technic. (this obviously only works if there is a door:). I think in this method, you tell the child that you will leave the door open only if they stay in bed, if they come out, you will put them back in bed and if they try to get out, you will close the door, and hold it closed, again until they get back in bed. The lesson, if I want the door open, I have to stay in bed. I'm sure you can find lots of advice online about it, but my biggest push is to be the parents and don't let her run the show. You are establishing the respect she needs to have for you in many scenarios in the future.
Love and good luck!, Sarah

Reply
avatar
9:52 PM delete

Boy, do I feel your pain! All of our kids have done this (except the youngest, who is still in a crib - I keep them in a crib as long as I can, for this very reason!). We've tried a lot of different things over the years. Sometimes it's a genuine fear that wakes them up; other times it's a habit. For our son it was a combination of both - I think he came into our room every night the year he was 3. I was determined to walk him back every time, but I eventually got TOO TIRED, and just put a sleeping bag on the floor (on Daddy's side!) and said, "You can come in, but don't wake me up!" He eventually got over it.

Our five year old is our offender now. We had a whole summer of not dealing with it (she DID wake me up and it was always about an hour before I had to get up anyway, so I'd lie there and fume!), even though I put the sleeping bag out for her, too. I finally made her a chart and gave her stickers for every night she could stay in her bed. At the end of the chart she got to pick out new sheets. We would talk about it at other times during the day and at bedtime to reinforce the idea. I know others that have used different reward systems (the younger they are the trickier it is for them to "get" a reward, though, but Devyn would probably figure it out). Sometimes the big bed is too big and kids don't feel as "safe" as they do in an enclosed crib. A safety rail, netting or other way of making it feel more enclosed sometimes helps.

I had a lot of night-time fears as a kid, so I don't think anything "in the moment" is very effective. However, they CAN do it. It is just not an overnight process to undo a habit...and in the meantime, you do need some sleep, so you have to make some choices - the lesser of the many evils. Probably not the magic formula you were hoping for, sorry.

Reply
avatar
KC
AUTHOR
9:52 PM delete

There is a good book out by Elizabeth Pantly called the No Cry Sleep Solution, you might want to check that out. I'm with you No CIO in my house either. And all 4 of my kids have slepted in bed with us at one point in time or an other. While my older 3 were younger DH worked nights so it was very easy to just tell them to climb on up in bed with me when they came in in the middle of the night. but when he started working days it got uncomfy. We did the sleeping bags on the floor deal. I don't see a problem with the kids coming in to sleep with mom and dad as long as it isn't totally messing up your sleep to the point of not function well the next day. the sleeping bag on the floor did wonders, they would just come in with there pillow and lay down I wouldn't wake up at all and they felt close to us.
I wouldn't worry that this will go on forever as she get's older she will stay put at night, it's good for her to know she can come to you whenever for whatever no matter what. Like i said all of my kids did this and only one who still is sleeping with me is my 17 month old, once in a blue moon my 4 year old will still do it but it's not all that often.
OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH... I forgot about this, we did it with my oldest when she was about 4 or 5. The Sleep Fairy. I made up these tickets saying thank you for sleeping in your own bed all night long, Love the sleep fairy. So before waking her up in the morning if she stayed in her bed all night long the sleep fairy would put a note for her under her pillow. She loved that. it worked well for a bit and made her happy, but i think she started sleeping in her bed just because of her age more so then the sleep fairy, because we didn't use the sleep fairy with #2 or #3 and they all pretty much staying in there bed at night all around the same age.

best of luck to you.

Reply
avatar
org junkie
AUTHOR
12:13 PM delete

Hi! I think its all about consistency....every time she comes into your room you must take her back to her bed no matter what. She needs to know that she will NOT win this battle. When you get her back to her room don't lay down with her because that rewards the behaviour. Simply place her back into bed and walk away...the less words the better. I hope this helps and you don't know find me jumping in here intrusive. Just wanted to help. Congrats on your pregnancy. Laura

Reply
avatar
andi
AUTHOR
10:55 PM delete

I'm with kc- "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" is an awesome book. We used many of the tips from that book in our struggle to get our daughter to sleep! I think there is even a new version of the book out now called "The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers", but I'm not positive. I had a really really hard time letting my daughter Audrey cry herself to sleep, and she also co-slept with us for quite awhile.

In the end what finally ended up working was what I call "moderated" crying- where I let her cry a little bit at a time with lots of checking on her and hugs and kisses and "I love you's", combined with some other tips from the book. It was really hard for me because I was pretty anti letting her cry at all, but now she sleeps so well in her own bed, so I feel like it was worth it.

Good luck to you guys! Keep us posted on what ends up working for you.

P.S. Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog :)

Reply
avatar
Anonymous
AUTHOR
8:38 AM delete

Sweets,

I always think about how it was, long before our monster homes, with walls that seperate us, to how it use to be. The homes were so small that the children did not have to feel the seperation from the parents - until they were ready for it! We are God's creatures and we long to be close to one another. I think of how it feels when my husband can't share the bed with me - it is lonely! Why do we stress about making them stay in their own rooms if they are not comfortable with it?? Force them to cry it out? Is it control? We need one another - why makes a child any different.
I say pull out the sleeping bag!
Love you girlie,
Colleen

Reply
avatar
Joy
AUTHOR
7:30 AM delete

I really don't have any advice, but maybe just encouragement that others have the same issue? Here's our sleep struggles and probably way more info than you wanted but here goes anyway...

With our first, JD, we really tried. We discussed while pregnant that our bed is our haven and we will not allow the children there (except early morning snuggles). So unless it was after say 5am, I put him back to bed, and yes, let him cry. I hated that! It's really hard to listen to your baby cry! But he did eventually sleep through the night... for awhile anyway...

Enter baby #2, Matt, when JD was only 21 months, AND my husband was deployed. This was a hard, hard time for us all. I had enough to deal with just keeping them alive, so I had to bend some rules. One was the crying it out. I couldn't handle it alone. So Matt didn't sleep through the night until he was almost a year old (when I quit nursing), BUT he didn't like to cuddle when he was sleeping so he did sleep in his own crib. Which left my bed (without husband) wide open for JD! So while I (almost) always insisted that he went to sleep in his own bed, he would end up in my bed at some point in the night. And I really did enjoy the cuddling time with him! Of course when hubby came home it was a hard transition time and he still did sleep with us often. Actually until he shared a room with Matt, I don't think he slept through the night. Maybe that was the extra company or maybe he was just old enough by then. Anyway, he does pretty well now (he's 4). Normally only waking if he has bad dreams.

When Moriah was born, Matt was 20 months and JD was 3. Of course the baby woke alot and the boys sometimes slept, sometimes didn't, but at least my husband was there to share the load in the middle of the night. Now she has been sleeping through the night for a couple months (since we quit nursing). I have no illusions that it will continue, but I highly enjoy it now!

Matt however is still waking at least once if not several times. (he's almost 3) He does have many nightmares, which he cries and tells me about in the middle of the night. It breaks my heart! I often end up in his bed (he has a double bed) or he ends up in ours. And again I really enjoy the cuddling time with him! So I'm sure I am ruining him, but they are only little for so long and I really want to enjoy them now...

Mainly our rule now is that all children start the night in their own beds, so that we have alone time before we go to bed. And we do put them to bed fairly early.

I've read all the books and can tell you what you are "suppose" to do, but there's just the reality of life around this house. Maybe it's just an example of what not to do :)

Reply
avatar