The Bedtime Battle

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I guess I spoke too soon when I said yesterday that Ezra was the fussy, teething one in the house.  He might still be the teething one, but L picked up some bug and last night was a bit rough - we were up with her more than we slept, I feel.  Max finally laid in her bed with her, and I woke up (who knows how much later!) to him coming back to bed.  She just felt miserable and is pretty congested.  She slept in until 0845, which for her is pretty much unheard of these days.  And I just convinced her to lay on the couch, while I made lunch, and she fell asleep.  Poor tired, sick babe.  At least she is in pretty good spirits. 

So, I have a babe sleeping on the couch, and another taking the longest morning nap ever - I'll take it - a few quiet moments for mama are always, always appreciated.  But I didn't want to just go on and on about my sick babes - we have a bit of a dilemma, and are trying a few things, but I wanted some input/advice/suggestions/etc from anybody who might have any.  You see, when we moved L into her "big girl bed" last November, she did really well staying in bed.  We would put her to bed, leave the room, and not hear a peep from her until morning.  But in the last month, things have changed.  She climbs out of her bed over and over and over again, sometimes going into the hallway, sometimes going into the guest room to play with the kitty, sometimes going in our room, or even coming downstairs again.  Over the last few weeks, it has gotten worse and worse - the other night, she got out of bed at least 8 times, and I was exasperated and tired and didn't know what to do with her.  

Each time she does it, I take her back to her bed and lay her down, and tell her to stay in her bed.  I say goodnight and leave.  And within a few minutes, she is usually back out.  I don't know if it has to do with potty-training and the knowledge that she shouldn't go in her diaper, but sometimes as she relaxes to sleep, she does.  Or if she is just testing her boundaries.  I have no idea.  I have asked her why she is getting out of bed, and a few times it's because she needs to go potty, or has already gone in her diaper, but otherwise, there is no response.  I do know that I feel like bedtime has become a battle, and each night, I have to prepare myself, as I am starting to dread bedtime and what follows.  

I know that this isn't that huge of a deal, in the scheme of things, and I also know that eventually she will learn to stay in bed, as long as we continue being consistent, but I didn't know if anyone could offer any additional insight or tips or experiences.  Or even see any holes that we might be missing. Anything would be much appreciated!  

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  1. At least its peaceful. LOL! With Gabe it really was a battle. Kicks and screams and tantrums. It's much better now but we had to institute some extremely strict discipline before he was able to stay in bed by himself.

  2. Geez that's frustrating! I wish I had some advice, but I haven't encountered that yet.

  3. Kaylee,
    I actually work for an preschool program now and we just had this discussion with some parents. It's not uncommon, especially if there is a change in routine (i.e. toilet training) that the child won't stay in bed and will continue to get up throughout the night, even if they had had no issues before. One of the suggestions that a parent had was the "weening process." Start off with her in her room when she goes to sleep. Play music or let her look at book if you need to, but stay in the bedroom with her. Don't talk to her or acknowledge her. If she gets up and leaves the room. Pick her up and put her back to bed like you have been doing but don't say anything except: "It's time to go to sleep." After a week or two, move to the door. Stay in the doorway so that she can see you if she wants, but still don't talk to her or acknowledge her. After a week or two of that move into the hallway and do the same thing. (This way if she does get up she'll be "caught" right away and you can put her back to bed like you have been doing.) The mom I spoke to said she would just read a book while she did this so it turned into "her time." She said it was a long process but that it worked and she hasn't had problems since. One other thing- if you're concerned that L is worried about wetting herself, reassure her that it's okay and she'll learn how to control it over time. When she does have a night without wetting herself you can reward her with stickers or something. (I know some parents believe that that's "bribing" but hey- if it works...) I don't know if that helps. It's just an idea. Good Luck!- Sam

  4. Try putting a gate in her seems mean, but bedtime is bedtime, and she needs to understand that. The good thing about the gate, is that she can still see out her door into the hallway, and its not as scary as having the door closed. If shes potty training, make sure she doesn't have much to drink after dinner, have her go potty right before bed, and if she has an accident in her diaper during the night, don't get upset, just clean it up quietly (no talking), tuck her back in, and go back to bed. The main worry is that by getting up, somehow she'll hurt herself...but if she cant get out of her room, the worst she can do is play, or cry, until she tires herself out and falls asleep on the floor:)
    Also, does she have a toddler bed? From my experience, regular beds are better(no rails.) Even though there's the potential risk of her falling out, she wont hurt herself, and if you're worried about that, put a few "friends" around her, or pillows on the floor on either side of the bed. Being in a big bed will also make it harder for her to get down. Most kids can climb off the big bed, but very few can get back up without help...unless they are monkey children:) Good luck! This is a tough one...I hope you and the little person inside you get some sleep very soon! :)

  5. I have to say that I have dealt with the same exact situations with both older boys...put them in a toddler bed, they did great for a few months and then all of a sudden they wouldn't stay in bed...literally at the door before I had it shut. For Logan it was the deployment had started and for Austin...who knows. Both were right before or right at two when we started it too. I have actually learned since then through some research that developmentally they aren't ready to be in a bed till closer to three. Is El three yet ? For both boys I had to pit them back in their cribs. I thought it would hurt them developmentally, hut instead of constantly disciplining or getting frustrated with them, we just set boundries. It usually only took 3-5 months for them to get it and they were back in the toddler bed. We did this even while they were sharing rooms at a young age. We even tried the whole don't say a word and put them back in bed, or sitting by the door and it didn't work for us. Now, don't get me wrong they still get out of bed, but not like they used to! Just remember, do what works for your family!!! Good to get different ideas though! Hope your kiddos feel better too!



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