If your kid can't sleep...
What do you do?
Just let them lay in bed and play happily, but in the dark with just white noise?
Medicate them (melatonin for us)?
Or get them back up and try again later?
Maiya's not a good sleeper, but does better for hubby than for me. However, I put her to bed tonight. For a while, when I put her to bed, she just had to cry herself to sleep because she will NOT sleep for me.
It seems as though she still won't sleep for me... But she's not crying. It's been over an hour and she's perfectly happy, laying down, staying in bed, fidgeting a little but not rolling around, not even playing, just occassionally singing to herself.
I am SO torn. I don't want to just let her lay there because I worry it's causing bad habits- I'm an insomniac, and my doctors always tell me to NEVER lay in bed awake, that it just teaches me to lay in bed awake. I don't want to start bad habits in my 2 year old!
But I also don't like jumping to melatonin, that's emergencies only... I don't want my 2 year old dependent on sleep aids, either!
But I don't want to get her back up, either, because that could cause bad habits, plus sleep begets sleep, and if I get her up, she will be awake far too late, and then be over tired tomorrow, and then sleep even worse... And it's just a downward spiral.
Oh, what to do, what to do...
Well, she finally fell asleep! Over an hour late, but she did it on her own, and happily.
But, if anyone wants to comment, I'd love input for next time it happens. Because there WILL be a next time!
I think it's different as an adult. You can start associating lying awake and wanting to go to sleep but not being able to in your bed, but not many kids really WANT to go to sleep in the same way adults do. If you pull a kid out of a crib or a bed because she's awake, it's going to reinforce the fact that if she can stay awake for a while, she can go play somewhere else and won't have to go to sleep at all. At least, that's what it would do for my kids. Whereas being somewhere without much stimulation can eventually become boring (and associated with sleep) enough that sleep might eventually occur.
I got the go-ahead from my pediatrician to give melatonin in a small dose most nights for my difficult sleeper. It's made a world of difference. It hasn't succeeded in keeping him asleep, but it does help him go to sleep. He also only naps a few times a week now, just for an hour.
ETA: I have a couple of relaxation bedtime CDs if you want to borrow them, to try them out. They're designed specifically for kids.
Last edited by 3andMe; 01-26-2013 at 12:32 AM.
Andrew usually goes to sleep pretty good but some nights he doesn't and the rule in the house is he has to stay quiet and in his bed. He usually will grab books and read (he has many night lights or he won't sleep) or sings quietly to himself. It hasn't hurt hi sleep cycle to unwind in his bed his own way. I don't think it would be bad to let her lay in bed.
My daughter is a terrible sleeper (well they both are but it's Paige that does the laying awake thing) she will sometimes just lay there for a couple hours before she finally falls asleep. If she is just laying there content then I just let her and don't bother her. She went through a period though at the beginning of the cold weather where she would be hysterical about going to sleep and would wake up hysterical as well unwilling to go back to sleep. She couldn't stand the feeling of her pajamas or the blankets. I did give her a very low dose of melatonin, this helped immensely . I stopped after about a week and a half and she continued to fall asleep well. I think she had gotten in the habit of just going in to hysterical mode when in was time to go to sleep and the melatonin broke the cycle and started a new habit. Once the new habit seemed routine to her I stopped giving her the melatonin.
How old is she? Is she still napping? Kai had a heck of a time falling asleep, hours like you describe, until he stopped napping.
Thank you! That's really what I needed to hear, makes me feel better about letting her fall asleep on her own...
Originally Posted by 3andMe
Hmm... I guess I could try out those CDs, if you don't mind. We just use a radio, and it works fine when hubby puts her to bed. But anything that might help is worth a shot! Thanks.
Very glad to hear it hasn't hurt is sleep cycle, because that's really what worried me. So thanks for sharing!
Originally Posted by CBROWN
Interesting. Maiya is just now, for the first time, starting to ask for blankets at night. They don't stay on because she rolls like crazy in her sleep, but I'm guessing she doesn't hate the feel if she asks for them. I did have to use melatonin in a similar situation last year. Hopefully she isn't starting a new bad habit! Thank you.
Originally Posted by Ashleen
She is 2 and... 9 months? Almost 10? Eek, where has the time gone... And she has not napped in months, probably since... September? Maybe even August. But yes, she displayed this same behavior then until I dropped naps. Could she possibly need less sleep now, do you think? She needs 13 a day, or at least did. Maybe I should change aim for 12 1/2? Hmm... Thank you!
Originally Posted by Bridget
Not much advice here. I've got a difficult sleeper here too. She's still in my bed. She won't even go in her room. I did find that if she naps it's a longer time before she's ready for bed. Shorter on days where she doesn't. She sleeps 11-12 hours when she does finally sleep though. I actually think her behavior is worse when she doesn't get that sleep. I'd be careful pushing her back to less sleep. Although if you aren't a big sleeper she may just have that gene :/ figuring out sleep around here seems to be the most impossible task of being a parent. It sucks!
If our son is not ready to go to sleep after we've read to him, talked to him, etc, then we just let him stay up to look at books until he falls asleep. the deal we make is that he has to stay in bed, head on his pillow but that he can stay up nutil he dozes. We'll sometimes hear him talking to his stuffed animals, telling them stories, playing out his own invented scenes. Usually, he's asleep in 10-20 minutes max, but occasionally, it's longer. Some warm milk before bed seems to calm him. We have music from his old mobile on, too, and his soft night light.
I may be wrong on this, but I figure that i can't force him to fall asleep. I can do 'lights out' but it seems to me (at least with my kid) that on this sort of night, that would be counter productive in terms of keeping him calm and floating towards sleep.
When it goes too long, it's usually a reminder that we didn't give him an early enough nap and/or that he didn't get enough energy run out of him during the day. If i saw a long-term pattern, I think I might talk to my pediatrician or check into books like Dr. ferber's sleep book to see what those patterns mean (and other causes).
YES!! Oh man, do I agree.
Originally Posted by Babidol
Yeah, I'm worried about that "sleep gene", too. I see a huge change in her behavior if she's even 1/2 hour short on sleep... But I the only signs I've seen that she needs less sleep is that it's harder for her to fall asleep or stay asleep. But since hubby can still put her to sleep fine, my guess is that that's not the case here...
Yup, it sucks!!
Yeah, Maiya knows she has to stay in bed, too. This particular night she really was trying to fall asleep. Even with lights out, she was calm and trying, she just was having a hard time.
Originally Posted by ibisgirldc
There is a very distinct pattern- if I put her to bed, she can't sleep. My husband can put her to bed, and my mom can put her to bed, but I can't. Or at least, I can't and have her fall asleep easily. I'm hoping it's just a phase...
Thank you all for your input!
in a sense, that's a good thing. If she only has trouble sleeping when you put her to bed, then it's not a medical or physical thing. Or a 'gene' thing. It's got something to do with how you do it. (Not meaning that you do something wrong, but she is more attached to you or your step-by-step is different or something else.) She can sleep and usually does sleep well; she just has to figure out how to do it with you as the one to tuck her in. Maybe you need your own routine with her, developed from scratch. At 2, there's plenty of room to rewrite the pattern.
Originally Posted by Krystal5
On staying asleep, you might read ferber on nightwakings, esp if they happen about 60-90 minutes after she falls asleep. Helped us tremendously to understand why that was happening (and what to do about it).
Originally Posted by ibisgirldc
That's very true... Good points. I don't know what I do differently, and the, um, annoying part is that THIS routine is the one *I* developed for her and I from scratch. Somewhere along the way, it stopped working for me, but still works for everyone else.
She actually does really well staying asleep now, thanks goodness!! Though she did wake in the middle of the night last night crying and told me she had a nightmare...
I have exciting news!! I put her to bed again tonight, for the first time since this post. She was really fidgety this time, moving all over, singing, playing... She stayed in bed, but I figured it would take forever for her to fall asleep. Nope!! She was asleep in 20 mins this time. Still longer than for everyone else, but yay! I did things as close to "exactly the same" as I can... Go figure.