R.F. asks from Ladson, SC on May 08, 2007
Bedtime Routine - Ladson,SC
My two year old frequently sleeps with me, 8 days out of the week ;) Being a single parent, it was very easy to let her sleep with Mommy without thinking twice, only now I just can't get her to go to sleep at a decent hour, sometimes up until 11 P.M., when I'm ready to lay down and go to bed. I have tried reading her bedtime stories, which I do every night regardless to foster her learning, as well as, a movie, and when I lay down with her, she wants to play. The movie strategy was NOT good b/c now she expects to be able to watch TV as long as she wishes until she is ready to go to bed. I put her in my bed and leave the room, in hopes for her to go to sleep, but that definately doesn't work b/c she plays in bed until I have to be firm with her and lay down with her struggling with her to understand that I mean shut eye time. I have also tried putting her in her crib but I live in an apartment and she screams as loud as someone is hurting her and I know it keeps my neighbors upstairs awake, or wakes them up. To top it all off, she demands a sippy cup w/ juice or milk, she will not take water, and I struggle with this as well having to get up sometimes 2/3 times a night to refill her sippy so she wont scream out in anger at 3am when I dont. Any ideas on how I could get her on the right track? I feel like I have given in to her so many times at bedtime that this is a lost battle already. What can I do to instill a good bedtime routine in my spoiled toddler? I feel like I can't have paved the road to where I have gotten, now I'm willing to try anything to get her to respect and understand BEDTIME. Please help!!
S.W. answers from Norfolk on May 09, 2007
No one has offered this one. Get her a twin size bed. She might not like the crib because of her sleeping in a big bed. Take her and let her "help" pick it out and the sheets. Yes, she will cry for the first couple of nights. And for the zippy cup, water down the juice slowly.
G.M. answers from Roanoke on May 09, 2007
if she knows that you think you've lost the battle, then you will never win. Decide to be firm...no juice or milk at bed and that's it, she may have water or nothing...Let her scream...a night or two is better than dealing with the getting up throughout the night for the next few years and all the other problems you are setting yourself up for. I let my son play before he goes to bed in his room as long as he's quiet. I have found that if I keep his routine the same every night, going to his room around 8, that he does best. take most of the toys out of her room if possible and put books in instead; this is what i did. Not only will she be learning but she will be relaxing and starting a habit of reading to soothe herself to sleep. i allow my son to leave his small light on unless i hear him hollaring or otherwise causing a racket...he knows then that i will come in and turn the light off. Decide what you are going to do and stick with it. if you allow her to whine and whine until she gets her way out of you it will only get harder and harder to break this...it will not take long to stop this behaviour as long as you are consistent and it will also be a life lesson. good luck!
J.K. answers from Columbia on May 09, 2007
You have to be fim and stand your ground. Children learn their behaviors and unfortunately you are the unlikely source that allowed her act the way she does. Be glad that she has such a strong personality but she's only two and children need structure. I can tell just by reading what you wrote that out of frustration you tend to cave. Be firm with a loving hand and tell your neighbors that you're training her to sleep in her own bed. You'll look better as a parent with tough love than one who lets their children, especially an infant, run all over you. Put her in her room with a night light and reassure her that you're right outside. Have you thought about getting her a build a bear and having her put her bear to sleep? She might be a more willing participant if she's the one "teaching" her bedtime pal the rituals of sleeping on time and in their proper bed. It's worth a shot. Good luck!
K.H. answers from Goldsboro on May 09, 2007
I highly recommend the book "Secrets of The Baby Whisperer for Toddlers" by Tracy Hogg. I am sure you can find it at amazon but the website is
I could give you advice based on this book but it would be much better to read it for yourself. I PROMISE if you follow what she outlines in the book it your child WILL sleep through the night!
B.C. answers from Columbia on May 09, 2007
I have to agree with everyone. She is 2! Your the Mom and you need to let her know that. Set a bedtime routine that's no more than 30 mintues and stick to it. Also make it at the same time everyday. When she gets up just turn her around and walk her back to bed. Tell her it's bedtime the first 2 times but put her right back in bed. After that just walk her back without a word or eye contact. She will cry and fuss but be firm. It wont take long for her to figure out she wont win and go to sleep. If you let her keep this up she will carry it through to other things later and you will regret it. Remember kids feel safe and secure when they know what to expect. So set a plan and stick to it. If you can call a mom friend to help support you the first couple nights so you dont cave in. With my 1st I just called a friend everytime I thought I would give in and she would remind me of the big picture. Good Luck.
S.M. answers from Charlotte on May 09, 2007
Wow you have your hands full. My heart goes out to you for being a single mom. Hats off to you. Keep up the good work. I have a 21/2 yr old and a 4 yr old. Bedtime routine is tough. The way I got my girls down was music. NO movies, b/c that becomes the routine. Sleeping with you is tough also, that is a long overdue habit already formed. Being firm is not being a ""meany". YOu are the adult and she is the child. I have been fortunate that my girls go to bed at 8 or 8:30. We say our prayers and then we give kisses and it goodnight, lights out. I tell them I will see them in the morning. Sippy cups with juice or milk is NOT good. Especially at bedtime. I have seen too many children in my career have to have their teeth pulled because sippie cups rot their teeth. NO LIE! 4 and 5 yr olds all their teeth. Just remember you are NOT alone. THere are other parents with bedtime woes. Routine is the key word and stick to it. Good Luck ssmchargue
K.D. answers from Raleigh on May 09, 2007
R., one thing you have to remember is that she is 2, and YOU are the one in charge. Now is the time to take charge and let her know who is in control or otherwise can you imagine what things might be like when she is 15??? I know that may sound a little out there cause it's just bedtime right?? Well, the earlier you establish your role as a parent the easier it will be for you and her.
So, all you have to do is figure out what you want bedtime to look like, and consider what your little girl likes. Whether it be bathtime, a story, maybe a back rub, whatever. But decide on that, and stick with it. You may have to talk to your neighbors and explain there will be an adjustment period(maybe buy them some ear plugs as a friendly gesture) and ride it out. Since she is used to getting her way for so long there is no question that she is going to protest, scream, cry, yell, whatever. But if you stick to it she will soon find out that Mommy means what she says, and there will be a bedtime routine that both of you can live with.
I have a very strong willed 2 year old daughter, and we go through "battles" every now and then. We just have to decide the best way we know to deal with it (and many time explain choices, and consequences with her) and stick to what we decided. Many times it seems like it isn't working, and we wonder if it will ever work, but 9 out of 10 times if we just hang in there she eventually understands that what we have set down as boundaries are there, and we aren't moving on them, and so she complies. Lord knows, that it takes more work on the front end than giving in, but in the long run it is worth it for you and for her. When she sees Mommy being strong and standing up to her, she will feel safer and more secure for it. I really hope that helps. Let me know what happens!!
A.F. answers from Norfolk on May 09, 2007
Hi R.. My first son is now 13 months and I had trouble with him to sleep in his own bed. I know how easy it is to get into the "you can sleep with mommy" routine. I was pregnant with my second, when I decide this had to stop. Alot of people told me to just let him cry, eventually he will go to sleep. I set up a routine of dinner, bath, calm down time (reading, movie, or just mommy and me time) then off to bed at 8. I did try letting him cry, but went in his room every five minutes to lay him back down, giving him his favorite sippy cup (if he wanted it) say I loved him, and leave. Yes he would start crying again, but he eventually got that mommy was there if he needed me, that he was safe. Sometimes I would hold him and rock him before I put him in his bed, but I then slow took that away. It took almost two weeks of doing this, but he finally sleeps in his own room only waking maybe once or twice a night. He now doesn't want a sippy cup either, if he does wake. If you decide to try this, I will tell you it is very hard to hear your baby cry, but it will pay off in the long run. Because she is a little older, I would try setting and sticking to a nightly routine even if she doesn't like it. Eventually she will understand, like my son did (as I typed earlier) that mommy is there if she really needs you. Also I, too, live in an apartment and my husband hated the fact that I was letting our son cry, but you will have to do what is best for you. If you have good neighbors, they will understand. I never heard complaints from mine. P.S. Try laying with her in her own bed at her bed time, explain its night night time, stay a couple minutes, tell her you are near if you are needed and then leave. I hope this helps. GOOD LUCK!! A. F.
A.G. answers from Greenville on May 09, 2007
Bake your neighbors a batch of cookies and let them know they may hear some screaming over the next week. Its hard to say no, but stand firm, no more juice at night- causes cavities. Once she knows you are taking control she'll back down. Right now its a control issue. We were having some of the same issues.
since she's old enough, is a "big girl" bed an option for you? Take her with you to get a new big girl bed, have her help you pick out her new big girl sheets.
you could also try playing music instead of a movie. Most important is to get into a routine and keep it.
I admire you being a single mother,you have a tough job.
It will hurt your feelings more than hers, but stand firm, and no means no.