Change in Sleep Patterns???

Updated on November 20, 2007
T.M. asks from Tampa, FL
6 answers

Hello All.
My 19 mth old daughter has started at new thing at night. She use to go down for her nap and bedtime without a problem at all. Now, everytime I put her down she cries. Her bedtime has gotten to be a little later (9:30pm-only because she screams if I put her in sooner). She does cry some when she goes down then. But now she has started waking up b/w 10:30-11:30pm screaming. I try rocking w/ her. She calms down but as soon as I put her in the crib she screams. So, we've started bringing her into the living room and letting her sit for sometimes 10 min. She sometimes falls asleep w/in 2 min. once she hits the couch! I've been wanting to put her in a big-girl bed (she's a very tall child) but now she's started getting up like this so now I'm not sure!?!? She will also wake up b/w 2-4am and I've been letting her cry. It's never usually longer than 5min.
This was a child that started sleeping through the night at a very young age-that's why this is all so new!!
Are we creating this by bringing her to the couch?

Thank you!

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answers from Sarasota on


Every kid is different but I would really recommend pushing her bedtime WAY back. Most kids at the age (my son is 21 months) need 12-13 a day, and they will actually get more and more animated and excited the sleepier they are. We moved my son's bedtime to 7pm and he now sleeps solid until 7am and still take a 2 hour nap. Now, you only want to move the bed tiem back in 15 min increments but I really think it will help. I would also recommend waiting on the big kid bed until she is old enough to understand the concept of staying in there until mommy comes to get her. just a thought. My son had TERRIBLE sleeping problems after starting out so well (also sleeping through at a young age) but once he figured out that if he cried we would come and get him - we were in trouble. Our little ones are smart and they know that if they cry we will get them and they can hang out with us. But what they really need is their sleep. I would REALLY consider pushing that bedtime back - studies have shown that kids that go to bed earlier actually sleep longer. I would also not go get her unless you know that she is hurt or sick. She is just crying because she misses you and wants to hang on the couch. :-) good luck.



answers from Orlando on

Could she be experiencing night terrors? It happens around age 1 or older. They are scarey because you want to offer comfort but they don't seem to see or hear you. They have a glazed look in their eyes or they can't seem to look at you. All you can do is be near her to make sure she doesn't hurt herself. If it is night terrors, she will outgrow them and they shouldn't be too frequent. Question: does she watch t.v.? Children under age 2 should not watch t.v. at all. At 2, it's recommended that they get 1/2 hour p/day at the most. T.V. before bedtime seems harmless, even Barney. But it is actually not a passive activity. The imaging causes the brain to work in a very unusual way and it actually stimulates the mind. Do a control test. No t.v. for four days and take notes on how she sleeps. Then go back to your old routine (if that included t.v.) and take notes on her sleep pattern. Still not sure? Do it again. Also, try to keep atmosphere around her quiet and dark. When she awakens, hold her but don't put her into a different atmosphere. You may actually contribute to a negative sleeping pattern that you may come to regret later down the road---unable to go back to sleep by herself and/or running to your bed.

Don't overlook possible changes in her health, painful gums, belly problems. Always ask the pediatrician for an assessment to be sure. Take note of her bowel movements, maybe she's experiencing painful gas?

As for the big girl bed, age 2 is appropriate. Make sure her crib mattress is on the lowest level now. If she starts to climb out, however, you may need to go to a big girl bed. Getting out of bed is a habit that most 3 year-olds start. If she has a positive experience with the big girl bed at age 2, then getting out of bed may not become a major issue, but you will have to deal with it.



answers from Tampa on

First of all, 9:30 is way too late for a child that age. Most sleep books advise no later than 8 pm. My 17 month old daughter is in her crib by 7:30 pm and sleeps until 6:30 am. I definitely would not take her out of her room at all. Taking her out of her bedroom causes confusion about where to sleep.
Two really good sleep books are Good Night, Sleep Tight by Kim West and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Weissbluth. I would read at least one of those.
Good Luck!



answers from Jacksonville on

I have to aggree with the previous responses. This is a new stage for her. She is learning more independance and testing her limits. Definetly put her to bed earlier. This willnot be easy the first 4-5 nights. Your are going to have abattle on your hands for a little bit. But it will really pay off in the end. I suggest a bedtime of 7:30-8:00 and do not take her out of her room. Use the crying out method and start checking on her every 3 minutes then increase it by 1 minute until you are going in every 15 minutes. Again this may take up to a week. Just remember she need a good night's sleep to function well. My daughter is going through this now. We are trying to get her to sleep thrugh the night. She is down to only getting up once. She will cry fo about 3-5 minutes before going to sleep at night. She is learning to go to sleep on her own. The best to you.



answers from Orlando on

From everything I've heard and from other Mom's, it's not a good idea to remove the child from the room. And definitely not sleep with you. I would never do that. But that is just me. Not sure if the bedtime is an issue either since it is late.

But just to let you know what we do and works for my child, I will explain. My son is 2 years 2 months old and I converted him into a toddler bed just after 2 years old. It took some getting used to by him for a few weeks. He would get out of bed and play. Sometimes fall asleep on the floor. But eventually he made his way back to his bed. And he has never been one to really nap and skipped his morning nap early. I put him to bed for his nap around 2:30 PM. I'd like it to be earlier, but he just isn't tired enough. And we always go through the same routine of putting him to bed. And then we put him to bed at night around 8 PM. I set the rules early on in that he'd have to cry it out in his crib. He quickly learned that was not going to get him anywhere. I'd let him cry 20-30 minutes and then try to sooth him when he was younger in his bedroom. Most of the time it worked. And we've always played music for him when we leave the room. So just giving you a bit of insight into our world. Good luck!



answers from Tampa on

Hi, our rule is once you get into your crib that's it - no getting out. Even if our son, 2.5 years, wakes up we don't lift him out of the crib. We'll rub his back, hug him, sing, talk, etc. to get him back to being drowsy but we don't lift him up. And we leave him in his crib drowsy but not asleep so he has learned to soothe himself back to sleep.

Its a very tough thing to do, but don't take her out of her crib after she's there. She's learned what to do to get her way (ie: more time with mommy & daddy). You are playing into her hand. She has to learn how to get herself to sleep. Its not mean, its teaching your daughter how to be an independent, healthy child, which is what you ultimately want.

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