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Bedtime help

My daughter is 3 and she STILL throws fitsabout bedtime and STILL wakes up every night.
We have tried EVERYTHING from laying down with her to crying it out, from music to reading books to silence. Her bedtime is constant, although we've tried earlier and later with nothing changed. We do bath time and brushing teeth same time every night. Then we've tried letting her have some say in her routine. We give her books to read, dark room, night light, the list goes on and on! It breaks my heart because we have no idea what to do, the dr says just let her cio every night. All my friends and family have no suggestions that we hven't already tried. It's awful! Please I'm looking for help! We have a newborn so he already keeps us up, this problem started before him and it has gotten worse and I'm sure he's why she's worse now but the problem has never really resolved itself and she's been like this since she was about 1! :(


Asked by marine_wife0520 at 7:14 PM on Feb. 21, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (7)
  • The first couple of nights, she got up once in the night to go potty (this is the first time she's done this on her own ever! she's still in a pull-up at night), and she first yelled to us, but I reminded her in as few words as possible that she had to do it by herself. She did! Then after those nights, she has actually slept through. She went from a wake-up every hour to sleeping through every night in a matter of 4-5 days. I know the solution that works for one child won't necessarily work for another, but I thought I'd share just in case. Good luck to you. I feel for you so much, it's the hardest thing in the world to be sleep-deprived and constantly battling like that. I hope you find some peace and that she does, too.

    Answer by EmilySusan at 1:45 PM on Feb. 22, 2010

  • And she's active most days and it doesn't make a difference in whether she's active or not, too.

    Answer by marine_wife0520 at 7:16 PM on Feb. 21, 2010

  • She is doing it because you are letting her, she is old enough to know that there are consequences for throwing fits, and you need to have a consequence instead of catering to her. She is getting exactly what she wants your attention even if it is negative attention. When she throws a fit she goes in time out, gets a spanking if you do that or whatever kind of punishments you use, and then when she wakes in the middle of the night you ignore her. You need to play music or white noise in your room to help you Dh and the newborn sleep so that she isn't disturbing your sleep. You have to ignore her, giving in at all is giving her what she wants and therefore she will keep doing it.

    Answer by truealaskanmom at 7:26 PM on Feb. 21, 2010

  • At this point I would ensure she gets plenty of exercise during the day and especially late afternoon. Just before the bedtime routine starts try a little bit of oatmeal and / or warm milk. Both have stuff in it to help you sleep. Do the routine you all find works best and then tell her it is time to sleep. Ignore her unless she leaves her room. When she does tell her it is time for bed and put her to bed. Second and all remaining pick her up and put her in bed, no words just do it. This could take hours and she will escalate but don't give in. Keep this up and she will get the hint that this is not the time for nonsense. Keep in mind it will get worse before it gets better, she has gotten her way at night until now.


    Answer by DevilInPigtails at 7:37 PM on Feb. 21, 2010

  • I have a few thoughts.
    1. Have her help with the newborn's bed time routine and talk up how she's a big sister and needs to show her new bro/sis how to go to bed.
    2. If she gets out of bed, just keep putting her back in. If she cries, just let her cry. (It took us a solid month to get the twins to go to bed and stay in bed)
    3. Try a sticker chart. Take pictures of her doing all the bed time steps including going to sleep and then waking up in the morning. Let her put a sticker for each task as it's completed and if she has X number of stickers in the staying in bed all night, she gets a reward.
    4. If she gets up in the middle of the night, let her camp on your floor. Nothing too comfy, just a pillow and blanket. She'll soon realize it's much more comfortable in her bed than on your floor.

    Answer by twinclubmom at 9:05 PM on Feb. 21, 2010

  • My daughter was always a great sleeper, and then had a major phase that sounds like your daughter's. It's SO HARD, I know, because you try everything, but then trying everything, I think, can make it worse, because they have nothing to anchor themselves to... We had always been pretty "all-business" kind of parents but our daughter's sleep-fighting and night waking came right after a sickness and she started expressing new fears, anxieties, so we weren't very consistent in how we handled it. The things we did to try to comfort her made her just want more and more, to the point where she was totally crazy. I finally decided there was NOTHING left to do (she was having a 1-hour tantrum at bedtime PLUS waking every hour) except go to a zero tolerance policy. I psyched myself up for it all day. But to feel okay about it, to feel "fair," I felt like I had to explain to my daughter what I planned to do so she would know what to ...

    Answer by EmilySusan at 1:36 PM on Feb. 22, 2010

  • ... expect. (I mean, she's too old for Ferber). So we talked calmly about the "new rules" over dinner. We then made a poster with them that she helped color. Then before bed, we read them aloud and talked about them one more time. When it came time for bed, I braced myself for some major crying fits. I had planned on holding the door closed if she got out of bed, things like that. BUt you know what? I never had to do it!!! She had a perfect night! Here were our rules:
    1. the LAST thing we say before bed and until morning: "Good night, see you in the morning."
    2. Mom will sit on the stairs outside her room until she's asleep but she cannot talk to me through the door.
    3. She cannot get out of bed unless she needs to go to the potty, get a drink, or blow her nose. If she does these things, she does them by herself, without talking to M & D, and she tucks herself into bed.
    4. M & D promise to keep her safe all night long.

    Answer by EmilySusan at 1:40 PM on Feb. 22, 2010

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