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2 Bumps

Overtird 3YO: meltdown to sleep or placate in front of the TV?

So tonight, my son had his second major over-tired, incoherent, can't stand, wailing and thrashing (though not as bad as the first time). He gets worse if he's touched, spoken to or if you try to accommodate any random request. First time he went almost an hour (I was stunned by the endurance) before he finally settled and passed out. My strategy was to keep all lights in his room out except a night light and I sit and make sure he 1-doesn't hurt himself 2-stays in/on his bed. Anyhow, tonight, he was over 50 minutes, but starting to have longer pauses and sucking on his forearm (his rare self-soother). He was almost asleep. Well, Daddy got tired of listening to him, plucked him out of bed and on the sofa in front of a show he likes. Son stopped immediately (didn't work last time I tried). Then, Daddy proceeds to tell me I'm torturing our son by letting him cry like that. I told him that he was just about asleep and he was fine, just exhausted and unable to cope. I told him that HE was being tortured and took the easy way out by plunking him in front of the TV.

The poor kid was exhausted and almost asleep. He's asleep now, but he didn't doze in front of his show and he's asleep 45 minutes later than he otherwise would have been. It is rare that he sleeps in and he's trying to not nap any more.

I guess I just knew too many young kids that NEVER fell asleep in their own beds and I don't want him to 'need' TV. I despise the idea of TV in a child's room, but we happen to have a spare:/

My son was an always an awesome sleeper, just tougher now that he's got more a mind of his own (i.e. he doesn't want to miss anything) AND he's trying to ditch his naps. His bedtime has always been 9:30-10:30, which is later than I'd like, but Daddy gets home from work at 6 ... I think if my son is going to stop naps altogether, he should go to bed by 7:30-8:30 (he usually sleeps in 'til 7-8). AND I think he should fall asleep in his own bed, even if he is over-tired.

It makes me feel like a bitch, but I think it is healthier. For what it's worth, Daddy always falls asleep to the TV and over half the time I have to turn the darn thing off, frequently at 3am.

For the record, Daddy and I hardly talk, let alone discuss parenting issues. A big problem, I know, but it is what it is ...

Am I being too much of a hardass by letting my son meltdown to sleep?

Actually, last time my son was coherent for a few minutes from completion of meltdown to head on the pillow. AND the night following the first meltdown, he almost did it again, but seemed to gather his senses, lay down and close his eyes instead. That was a few weeks ago, I've been better about getting him into bed before meltdown point in the meantime.

Answer Question

Asked by JZ10FPM at 9:01 PM on Mar. 6, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 19 (7,989 Credits)
Answers (5)
  • I think you might be over analysing after long hard day ! Your little guy was so tired, you did the best thing you could think of. Don't be hard on yourself. Likewise don't be hard on DH, you guys won't always agree on situations & thats ok.
    I wouldn't worry about him developing a 'need' for TV from one night, I would definitely stick to an earlier bedtime if he skips a nap, & that will be tough luck to Daddy. Just how he is tonight is the reason why he can't wait til 9.30 -10.00pm for bed. Not only that, when do you ever get alone time.
    Still to the new bedtime, just let tonight pass as a crappy day, & start tomorrow with a new face. Also I found that when we stopped naps, it was sometimes tricky around 5pm as they are tired & you don't want them to nap then. Have dinner planned for him early, books & quiet play, then off to bed, It is hard for us adults to switch off the TV and go to sleep, even harder for little people

    Answer by myheartx4 at 9:08 PM on Mar. 6, 2011

  • I'm with dad. I have never let my kids cry. I just can't stand it.

    Answer by mompam at 9:31 PM on Mar. 6, 2011

  • Ok. My husband works until 6, 6:30, 7:00 any randon night. At first I tried to wait for him to do dinner and whatever, but the night time battle just became too much. I finally just started doing it the way that was going to work best for me and my children. We eat supper no later than 6:30. Baths start at 7. Then it is a book, brush teeth, and lights out by 8-8:30. The TV does not come on during that time. I did this routine each and every night for months and wouldnt' you daughter's sleep habits improved dramatically. She now falls asleep, in her bed, alone, which is a huge accomplishment for her. My son was only almost two when we started this so he adjusted quickly and does great. You know that sleeping in front of the TV is not ok. Stick to a bedtime routine and tell your hubby to either get on board or be "busy" while you get it started and established. Good luck to you!

    Answer by khedy at 12:04 AM on Mar. 7, 2011

  • First of all you are not a hardass! It's all about finding what works for your little guy. A routine is always a good thing for him and you. Finding what works is sometimes the hard part. Here are some suggestions to try that might help: set up a bed time routine and establish a certain time to start it. (7:30-8:00 would be a good time to start ) include daddy with the routine as well (since he doesn't get home until 6:00). Make it fun but not too exciting. Playing cars or building blocks or whatever light play you and your son would enjoy together. Then serve a "special snack" have a few ideas and let him pick. Then to the bathroom to wash up and brush teeth. Lastly have him pick out 3 or so books and read to him. (I would suggest to inform him earlier in the day about the "new routine" and make it sound like it's something to look forward to). Maybe avoid the tv after dinner as well. I wish you the best of luck!

    Answer by macombmom3232 at 1:15 AM on Mar. 7, 2011

  • Thanks, moms. We have a pretty decent routine, it just goes to crap on days like this. I did move dinner time to 6-6:30, then he can play with Daddy, he gets his medications, we brush teeth, read stories then lights out. However, Daddy was at neighbors' watching a hockey game ... last time he didn't come home for dinner. So, since Daddy didn't try to get him to nap (I had to go out for an hour or 2 and I think they watched TV the whole time) and he was so tired, I thought we'd eat dinner earlier and have bedtime earlier. I figured it would work b/c it is dark early yet ... Daddy came home when I got DS out of the shower (and he was already near-meltdown). Of course, DS perked up a bit, but was still acting very tired, so I proceeded with bedtime, only got through 3 pages of book 1 (which he usually loves) when he started the melt-down:( DS has some wicked endurance, which is where the disagreement lies. :(

    Comment by JZ10FPM (original poster) at 8:54 AM on Mar. 7, 2011

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