A.P. asks from Fairfield, CT on November 29, 2008
Sleep Solutions for Boys Sharing a Room
When my daughter was born 2 months ago, my boys (ages 2 & 3-1/2 who share a room) started taking anywhere from 1-2 hours to go to sleep at nap and bed times. I'm sure it's related to the new baby, and wonder if anyone has any suggestions on how to fix it.
They'll sneak toys into their beds and play, scream, yell for me to come up, refuse to lie down, talk to one another, etc. Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of sitting outside of their room to make sure they're good because I'm usually nursing or tending to my 2-month old after putting them down for naps/bed.
I'm realizing that we're most successful at nap times when the youngest goes to sleep before we put the older one to bed, but we can't do that at bed time because of my husband's work hours.
Separating them seems like the most obvious answer, but we need a long-term solution. I'm wondering of there's a way to reinforce positive behavior - maybe a sticker chart? Who knows? We appreciate any and all advice!
J.R. answers from New York on December 02, 2008
I don't know if I have a solution...I was hoping to find one when reading the responses. I have a 2 1/2 and 18 month old sharing a room. They are both still in cribs so getting out of bed isn't a problem but falling asleep is. I put them in about 7:30 and on most nights they don't go to sleep until 9:00 because they are playing and talking. I wouldn't even mind that but the 2 1/2 yr old constantly calls me to cover him etc. The little one hasn't gotten into calling me yet but he wakes up from his brother and I am nervous he will pick up the bad habits. They won't go in the cribs with out each other so I guess I have to just deal. It is hard but if someone comes up with a great idea, please let me know!
S.H. answers from Buffalo on December 02, 2008
Have you tried putting them to bed earlier? Sounds crazy, I know, but it worked for us. Sharing a room is a good bonding experience for siblings -learning to share their "kid space" etc. So, keeping them together, I think anyway, is good for their relationship. If you put them to bed earlier, they can still get in their bedtime misbehavior, which ultimately really isn't hurting anybody - they are bonding & having fun together - and then possibly get to sleep closer to their real bedtime. (Ex. you want them asleep by 9, but they play until 10:30, then go to sleep. Put them to bed at 7 and let them play until they go to sleep, which will hopefully be by 9:30.) While it is hard to compromise with such little guys, you can give them rules. It is ok to look at a book, play quietly in bed with a toy or talk quietly for a short time. No calling for mommy though. Like I said, it worked for us and eventually, the novelty of fun w/o parents at bedtime wore off and they started just going to bed without all the play.
Plus, then if they are going to sleep at a reasonable hour, then you have the can have some down time and get to bed when you need to.
C.B. answers from New York on December 01, 2008
I totally feel your pain. My son was born 4 months ago and my two older girls (ages 4 1/2 and 2) began sleeping in a bed together. They had shared a room but my younger daughter didn't want to sleep in her crib. It worked for a while but slowly bedtime began to be a nightmare. My husband and I tried lots of different solutions and the only thing that has worked has been staggering their bedtimes. (I know this isn't what you wanted to hear) We try to switch it up but usually my 2 yr old goes to bed first and then I sit downstairs and read books with my older one while nursing the baby and then send her up (or walk her up) to bed. She knows there are no cuddles/books, etc in bed because we already did it. I also reinforce with a sticker chart. They each have a chart with 3 rows. 1 for going to bed without fussing, 1 for staying in bed all night and the 3rd for waking up nicely (which includes not waking up the other one in the morning if they are still sleeping) They really enjoy the stickers and I give them lots of praise. I also put a door knob cover on the inside of the door and only use it when the younger one goes to bed. I always make sure it is open before we go to sleep. It has been working well for the most part except for the occasional night when they both just want to be uncooperative but doesn't that happen to everyone? Hope this helps and I wish you all the best.
R.Y. answers from New York on December 01, 2008
Well, I have a two and a half year old and a baby due next month. He has been whiny and clingy since he figured out he will be getting a sibling. There was a point bedtimes were taking an hour and a half! We finally got him moved into a twin bed in his own room. But there are some days the only way to keep him in bed is to threaten to make him sleep in the crib like a baby and not his big boy bed (we did this a few times when it was taking over an hour for him to settle down). Unfortunately it will not work any more if the baby is in our room in a bassinet or the crib. Right now we have the luxury of letting him cry and fuss for a few minutes if necessary.
I think the separate nap times is a good idea. Can you let them go to sleep in separate rooms at bedtime? Maybe they can take turns having story time in your room and having a while to fall asleep there? I knew one family who did this for the youngest (then 18 mo.) and let the 4 year old fall asleep in their shared room. I would then move the one in your room after they get to sleep. I wish I had more ideas for you or one that is less complicated.
A.D. answers from New York on December 04, 2008
Dear A., Congratulations, new baby girl, lovely family. My first 3 were very close. Two boys, 13 mos. apart and my girl came 15 months later. I had a chair in their room and I would bring the baby, nurse her and sing (or hum) to them. They were getting the attention from me and I would not have to get up and down. Very soothing for all of us. No they did not get spoiled. We all looked forward to bedtime... together. I believe we can find ways to not have our children resent a new sibling. Hope this helps. Grandma Mary
D.K. answers from Syracuse on December 01, 2008
Maybe the 31/2 year old feel he doesnt need a nap. Try allowing him to play or color quietly in a room seperate from sleeping brother. Then he will be tired fro bedtime
D.D. answers from New York on December 01, 2008
My daughter had her kids very close together and has had the same challenges. I 2 yr old definately needs a nap but I'm guessing that the 3 1/2 really doesn't need one as much. I'd suggest having a special quiet activity for the 3 1/2 yr old to do during naptime. He'll feel like a big boy having special time and the 2 yr old will get some much needed sleep. My daughter used play dough as the special thing.