Fighting Sleep

bed time struggles - Celeste

I have always bragged about how awesome my toddler sleeps, even as a tiny baby. Now, it has come back to bite me in the you-know-what! About a week and a half ago, things changed. I am not sure where my happy little human went, but she is an absolute MONSTER come bed time. We cannot even say the word “bed” or “sleep” anymore without her completely losing her mind. She literally backs herself into a corner and kicks and screams. I swear we are living with the exorcist!

We started off trying the “cry it out” method with her, but we were defeated. She ended up fighting sleep until almost 1am. We are NOT into spanking our children, but we even tried that (I use the word spanking very lightly). That did not work; in fact, she looked at us like we were idiots! We tried ignoring her, and she screamed louder. We tried letting her sleep with us (another thing we were completely against), and she fought that too. Lastly, I tried putting the baby gate in her doorway and hoping she would just stay in her room and sleep…. She rammed it so hard, she BROKE the wood!!! At this point, we figured out that it is obviously a cry for attention and we could not keep living this way.

Her nights of terror have caused me to go crazy, my husband to go crazy, her to go crazy, and for us to go crazy on each other. We realized very quickly that something had to give. We could not keep having sleepless nights and constant battles in our home. After a lot of discussions between my husband and I and reading tips and tricks online, we decided to try a new approach. We came to the conclusion, that feeding into her tantrums is not helping the situation at all. We also feel that she is only this small for a short period of her life, and we need to enjoy her while we can. Here is what we are doing, and it seems to be working:

  • Turn off all “kids shows” around 7:00 and start winding down. It takes a bit for her to settle down from singing and dancing!
  •  DO NOT MENTION “NIGHT NIGHT” or “BED”! We just brush her teeth like normal, and pretend like it is not bedtime!
  • Read a bedtime story But we don’t call it bedtime! 🙂
  • I hold her in my arms, and rock her back and forth until she falls asleep. I do this in the living room, even though we have a rocking chair in her room. If I even go near her room, she flips out.
  • I wait about 30 minutes after she falls asleep to put her in her bed. Partially for the snuggles, and partially because I want to really make sure she is out!

I chose to write about this topic this week because I have realized that rituals and what people call the “norm” are not for everyone! Her tantrums have honestly taught me a lesson. So what if she does not go to bed on her own at 1 ½ years old…. So what if we have to tip toe around anything having to do with “bedtime” in order to keep her happy. She is only this small for a small percentage of her life, and I want to enjoy every minute! Now, I am not saying that it is ok for her to throw fits and get what she wants. However, if she is calm and goes to sleep in my arms without a fight, I am ok with it. Soon, she will outgrow snuggles, and be independent. I want to cherish every single moment I can. Right now, bedtime is our time to bond, and I am all over it!!!

Feeling so blessed!

The Scrambling Stepmom

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  • Mommy Crusader

    I think you hit on the key to solving every child rearing problem — knowing what your child needs and doing it — even if “they” say it’s not “the” way. Well done, Mom! Thanks for sharing this post.

    • Scrambling Stepmom

      Thank you for your kind words! There are so many days that I question my parenting skills and worry that I’m messing it all up! You’re right, it’s not all about what the books or internet say! Every child is different and has different needs!

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