DESPERATE!

  • My 3 year old will NOT sleep!. It takes me 3-4 hours sometimes to get him to bed. Can anyone give me ANY good ideas on how to help???????

  • My daughter has issues with this from time to time also.  She will be 4 next month.  The best advice that I can give you is to be firm and consistent.  My daughter is only supposed to get back up if she has to go to the bathroom, but she is constantly testing this.  If you slip once and let him get up for a drink or snack think that he can always get away with it.  If you have a consistent work schedule then it's a good idea to set a consistent bedtime also.  I work 2nd shift so this one has been a challenge for me, but we're working on it.  Good luck and I hope that others have better answers for youConfused

  • Can you explain further? What are you guys doing for 3-4 hours? What time does he go to bed? What have you tried? Has he always been this way? I would love to help if you could just tell me more about it.

  • My daughter used to have similar issues. I'd kill hours laying in bed with her to get her to go to sleep and stay that way. What the underlying issue was that it's what she was used to! I phased out the personal attention little by little. It started on the bed with her. Then I moved to a chair next to the bed. Then moved the chair farther and farther until I was out of the room.

    Though the solution wasn't perfect (she still climbed in bed with me every night when she woke up), it started her on the path to learning how to put herself to sleep without me. When we moved some months later, I made a big deal about her getting her own princess room and how she was such a big girl that she didn't need to be in my bed at all. And it worked!

  • I found a solid bedtime routine was our best strategy. By establishing one and sticking to it our daughter learned when bedtime was and to fall asleep about then. Occasionally things interrupt the routine and she is usually up those nights several times or wakes up so early she is cranky the rest of the day, which is why we try not to let things stop us from putting her to bed at the same time each night. It was not easy to start, she cried many times and fought it for awhile, but soon enough it got easier.

  • I completely agree with StrongDad.  I set a nap time and bed time as soon as my son was born and stuck to it.  It is very difficult, but worth every moment!  There will be some tears, so be prepared.  My son is now 10 years old and his bedtime has not changed much. He is to be in bed at 8:30 PM on school nights and 9:00 on weekends. I've found that even on the weekends he is sleepy at 8:30.. :)

  • We had a solid bedtime. We are a very scheduled family. We don't have the problem anymore, I did end up finding a solution. I cut out naptime all together and he is doing fine. Although schedules are great (our family would fold without them :) ) I have figured out that every child is different and as they grow and change so should the schedules. My son does great without a nap, others may not. My other child HAS to have a nap at exactly 1pm everyday and still goes to sleep at his normal scheduled time every night with no problems.

  • I think we need more information.

    We've all learned that the only thing predictable about young children's sleeping habits is that they can be unpredictable. If you can establish a routine, great. But there will inevitably be the days when the routine is broken (travel, illness, family etc...). We've all learned the hard way that just when you think you figure out your child's habits, they change.

    Without more information, it's hard to say much more. How's he doing these days?

  • I had the same problem with our 3 year old little girl. What I realized was that I was giving her a 2 hour nap every day (from 2-4) and then she wouldn't go to sleep until 11:00 at night. So, I started NOT giving her a nap and then putting her to bed earlier. This worked great! She is in bed every night around 7:30 and she sleeps until 8. She still has Quiet time during the day...but since she isn't "napping", she is tired at 7:30 and goes to sleep instantly. She just didn't need as much sleep as the others. On days when she is cranky, I do still put her down for a nap, but I just realize that she will be up more at night (Everything in life has trade offs!!!). Hope this helps, it just may be time to reevaluate the naps...you may need to cut them down to one hour or cut them out all together...

    Caution: Only do this if you can put her to bed early. Children this age still need 12 hours of sleep. If they arent getting to bed until 9 or later, then you may need to still give them naps....but watch how long they are sleeping.

    Hope this helps, let us know how your little one is doing!

  • There are a few things you can do to help your child sleep better at night. The most important is to make sure you stick to a routine. Children are creatures of habit. Any disturbance in their schedule can throw their sleep cycles off track. When napping during the day, do not allow your child to sleep past 3:00 pm, if going to sleep by 9:00 pm. Arrange naps at the same time every day, again keeping up with consistency. Make sure you keep the environment the same each night. If the child has always slept with a night light on, do not take it away. If the child sleeps better with the room pitch black, then make sure light does not creep inside. Avoid having a TV in the room. Even if it is not turned on, the child will associate it with playing and may become hyperactive. Do not allow the child to watch stimulating shows at least 1 hour prior to bedtime. It is perfectly okay to sit with your child for a few minutes while you sing a lullaby or read a book or two, but stick to a limit. Tell your child that two books is the most you will read. If not, the child may want you to read a whole collection! More importantly, do not sleep in your child’s room or have the child sleep in your room. This may seem like a quick fix, but will only lead to more problems down the road. You did not mention if you had older children. In my practice, a mom had the same problem with her toddler and voiced to me that her son enjoyed spending time with his older brother before bedtime. Turns out, the older son plays violent video games at night, which scares the toddler, causing him to lose sleep. Avoid involving your toddler in any physical activity 2-3 hours prior to bedtime. Some parents believe that physical activity will “tire the child out”, but, in reality, it will only increase energy levels when bedtime rolls around. Avoid sugary beverages, such as juice and soda 4-5 hours before bedtime and avoid giving large quantities of liquid to drink before bed, as this will cause the child to wake during the night to use the bathroom if potty trained, or can lead to bedwetting, which will also disrupt sleep. Make sure the house is quiet. If your toddler hears loud TV, music, or the loud laughter and voices of company downstairs, he/she may want to join the festivities, even if tired or overtired. The more overtired a child becomes, the more difficult it will be to get him/her to settle down and fall asleep. A warm, relaxing bath prior to bedtime finishing with a lavender-scented lotion (as long as this does not irritate your child’s skin), which smell can relax children. In my experience, playing soft classical music on low volume or meditation music can help toddlers relax the same way it helps adults relax. Does your toddler have a favorite stuffed animal or security blanket? Always make sure these items go in bed with your child, as they provide comfort and ease anxiety. Avoid talking about exciting things that will be occurring the next day, such as going to the circus, visiting the zoo, playing at the beach, or visiting grandma and grandpa. This may excite the child and allow the child to focus on these events and not sleeping. If these ideas fail, try skipping an afternoon nap and move bedtime up. If the child does not have any problems and mostly sleeps through the night, then we found our solution! Please be advised that if your child has difficulty breathing while lying down, snores loudly after falling asleep, wakes in the middle of the night screaming, sleepwalks, or is more irritable on a day-to-day basis due to lack of sleep, please follow up with your pediatric healthcare provider. They can offer advice on how to remedy this problem quickly and efficiently and rule out any serious problems. Be patient and know that many parents face sleeping problems with their children. I am glad to see that you are reaching out for advice. If you have additional questions or concerns, I am here and happy to help!