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How can I help my son settle at night?

He is almost 20 months and at night will only sleep touching me and lately even with that he is restless. I know it's stress bc our lives have changed dramatically. But I need him to sleep! I won't let him cry bc I don't think he needs added stress. Nap he sleeps good but never for long enough. But at nap he is in the room alone. This is just at bedtime.

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Asked by Anonymous at 1:07 PM on Dec. 10, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

Answers (7)
  • Get him a blanket or toy to hold onto so you can get some sleep, too. You won't let him cry? He is never going to learn to self soothe. So good luck.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:08 PM on Dec. 10, 2009

  • OP- he has a toy, a blanket, and a paci. And he self soothes just fine except at night and only then just recently. At nap time he will fuss for a few minutes then go to sleep. But at night he I am not with him he screams and screams.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:11 PM on Dec. 10, 2009

  • I had the same problem with my son, hes 18 months. We just bought him a toddler bed, and I rock him to sleep, then put him in his bed, and he sleeps all night now. Im proud of him, cause he usually wakes up at least twice a night. Just try different things out. You could lay with him until he falls asleep, then quietly leave. My mom said we would never let her leave either at bedtiem, so she recorded herself singing, and played the tape while we slept. You could try that. GL, and hope everything starts going better for you guys :)

    Answer by Jessica1991 at 1:11 PM on Dec. 10, 2009

  • OP- thanks Jessica. I have tried leaving once he was asleep but he wakes up within 10 minutes. He does listen to the radio but maybe I will try recording my voice! We are finally in a good place but I know it will take some time for him to adjust.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:17 PM on Dec. 10, 2009

  • Whatever you opt to do, be consistent. It'll take a little work but you can help him through this. Develop a routine - routines equal security. In our house we start with a warm bath. When the kids were little we'd follow that up the application of baby powder or some sort of baby lotion. The we cuddle up together and read a few books. Give your son his comfort items. Don't lay down with him. Sit next to him. Rub his back. Light touch is fine. You want to start weaning him off needing that contact. The goal is to get him to sleep without needing your touch. You can sing to him. You can whisper reassuringly. Just don't lay down and cuddle at that point. When he's asleep - leave. If he wakes up, return and repeat the process. Be consistent. When you can get him to sleep (and staying asleep) with this method, then remove the back rub or light touch. You can verbalize your comfort but no touch. (cont next post.)

    Answer by ldmrmom at 1:26 PM on Dec. 10, 2009

  • (cont) it'll take time but he'll get it. When you can get him to sleep (and staying asleep) with you sitting next to him and singing/talking in soft tones, then move to the next step. Follow your night routine, then tuck him in and stay a few steps away from his bed. You can verbally reassure him but no touch and don't be on the bed. From that successful milestone then move farther away from the bed until you're in the hall. Eventually you're going to move to a point where you are not singing or talking unless he calls out for you and you want to reassure him. The idea is to let him know you're still near by without him needing to hear it and see it constantly. It *is* a process, but it's worth it.

    I'm sorry for whatever upheaval you've both been through. It's never easy to face stressful situations as an adult. It's hard when you're the adult trying to help a young child through it.

    Answer by ldmrmom at 1:29 PM on Dec. 10, 2009

  • Well, I know you need him to sleep and I know you need your sleep but whatever you are going through is very hard on him, then it might just take time. Just try to be patient and understanding!!

    Answer by maxsmom11807 at 3:24 PM on Dec. 10, 2009

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