Sounds like you are doing everything right. If he still naps is it also a struggle? Maybe time for the Doctors? Could his ears be bothering him? When he lays down it would make an ear issue feel worst.
This is my 2nd request of this nature....and am hoping for some new strategies as I have tried EVERYTHING with no success :( I am on the verge of tears due to complete exhaustion as I sit here and type this....
My 2 and a half year old son has not slept through the night in over a month, and refuses to even go to sleep on a nightly basis. This involves major tantrums for hours, getting out of his bed AND crib, and is absolutley exhausting. He is also waking at night now as well. He has always been an excellent sleeper and all of a sudden, there is nothing we can do to get him to sleep. He eventually cries himself to sleep after hours of hubby and I going in and putting him back to bed. We have tried the supernanny technique, leaving his door open, using a gate, a night light, moving back his bedtime, staying with him until he falls asleep which can take hours, putting him back in his crib (still screamed so we stopped this and are sticking to the toddler bed). We have always had a very structured bedtime routine with no problems from when he was born up until 2 months ago. There is nothing I can think of that has changed, unless he is "sensing" the new babies arrival?? We both work full time, I am 8 months pregnant...and physically and mentally I am exhausted! And I know its only going to get worse when the baby comes.
Sounds like you are doing everything right. If he still naps is it also a struggle? Maybe time for the Doctors? Could his ears be bothering him? When he lays down it would make an ear issue feel worst.
My son is the same age and also won't sleep thru the night. We go in to his room rock him for a minute or two and then put him back in bed. We also put on classical music which seems to help him relax. We use this same technique for putting him to bed. It isn't a total fix since my son still wakes up every night but at least it is only once a night. I hope something can help for you.
PAIN can be a culprit in sleep issues -- check for acid reflux and heartburn, teething pain, ear pain and throat pain. Lying down and falling asleep and staying asleep is impossible when there is pain.
An underdeveloped nervous system can be a factor. Knowing where your body is in space is called proprioception. Individuals who have an underdeveloped sense of proprioception use their vision to tell them where they are as a compensation. When they shut their eyes, they may feel as if they are falling. Children with a poor sense of proprioception tend to sleep soundly when they're NEXT to someone, because they know where they are -- they use the other person as a reference point for where they are in the bed w/ their eyes closed. For an older child, a body pillow sometimes works. He's young to have soft pillows in the bed with him -- I'm not sure if I'd try a big stuffed animal, either, at that age, but there might be a "lovie" that you can find that is safe for that age for him to hug, throw a leg over, back up to, in bed, to help him know where he is. Do your homework in terms of safety.
I'm sorry you and your husband are so exhausted. From reading your post you said you have tried everything and he's been doing this for 2 months. Maybe you haven't tried something long enough. Maybe pick something and be consistant with it. How long did you do the Supernanny approach? We did a version of it and it worked with both of my boys. Although it took my younger son a lot longer. It was an exhausting 2 weeks. There were a few times that if my husband wouldn't have convinced to me keep trying I would have given up. Another suggestion is the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child". I used this book a lot when the boys were little. It's a really good book. I hope you can figure out something that works for you guys. good luck.
As I read your post, I was smirking the whooole way through. when my first son was born, i would brag about how he never took the bottle at night and slept the whooole night through! Up until around 8 months, it's as if the crib was his worst enemy, so from 8 months to 10 months, he slept next to us, no big deal, it's not like he got in the way of my husband and i, he is a baby and he has needs. At 10 months, we opened up his bed to a big boy bed, yes, 10 months! He loved it! he fell off once, but it wasn't that high and we had pillows on teh floor, and the nice thing about it was i got to sleep next to him if he was ever sick or just needed some comfort. He is now almost 2 1/2, and he loves his bed, but there will be periods where, a week here and there, he will want to sleep next to us....
We have to remember every child is different, and every child has different needs, i believe in just giving your child that tender loving care they want when they NEED something because they are children after all.
I was also pregnant when he turned 1, and now have an 8 month old and a 2 year old, and our bed by 7 am sometimes is full capacity! And just like another mom said, this too shall pass, it may take years, but when they are 10, 11 years old, they wont want to leave their room! lol, so enjoy it now, these are moments that shouldn't be frustrating, but fun, good luck! try the big boy bed!
At 2 1/2 he understands a great deal more than you realize. Mine were just shy of two when the next sibling came along and they both became so out of sorts during the last trimester. We made a BIG move to a BIG Kid everything before the baby came. They understand (we did this three times now) that they are going to be a big brother/sister and they aren't sure what that means. They got a new bed, they got to set it up how they wanted. They got to pick out the books that we would read in "their" new big kid bed and we developed an entirely new bedtime routine around this new big kid theme. They got to put special things in the room for the new baby and they understood that the baby would be playing with all of their old "baby" toys and dolls.
I would suggest trying something along those lines. If he's still in a crib, try moving to a toddler bed. If cost doesn't allow that, then take the crib away and put his mattress on the floor and decorate it with animals and such. He now associates his bed with something horrible (the screamfest that he goes through every night) and my kids would never return to the crib once it became associated with that. If he helps you get ready for the new baby, they begin to understand that there is another addition on the way. That he will sleep in a crib. That he will eat in a high chair, play in a bouncy/swing, etc. Once they understand what's going on, they calm right down and jump on board. We've battled it several times now and I have to say that at least now we see the signs of the big change coming and when they're ready, their is no going back. We still have to discretely use a gate at their door and baby proofing a kids room is no fun, but they quickly jump on board with the whole scheme and you'll kick yourself for not trying it earlier.
I second the ear infection thought the previous poster suggested. My son got his first and only ear infection around the same age and the only way I knew it was he refused to lay down and would scream forever. He was not sleeping at all-same exact situation. And he had no other symptoms. Have it checked out, you never know!
Have you checked him for a ear infection? Or maybe he's getting his molars in?
What has helped us is my parents come down and stay with us once in a while and it lets us sleep through the night (Grandma get's up with daughter).
We just went through the same thing. Actually she's still getting up. It started right before baby #2 was born, and he is now 4 months old. I'm hoping once the baby moves into his own room she'll sleep through the night. Not much advice, just hang in there. It can't stay the new normal forever. I feel your pain.
Just read the other responses. Alot of people suggest letting him sleep with you. We put a sleeping mat on the floor by our bed because she kicks too much and then none of us sleep.
I have been there, but luckily it went away a lot faster for us. One thing that was part of our problem was our nap schedule. My 3 year old didn't need quite so much nap time, so at night he was wired. We found that if we woke him up after 1- 1 1/2 hours he'd be more tired at bedtime and fall asleep quicker. Also we let him pick out special sheets to sleep on. The teething thing may be a factor too. Perhaps some motrin an hour before bed time might help. Also you guys may want to hand him off to Grandma or someone for a night so you can get some sleep and start over feeling better! Good Luck!
My best suggestion is that you do everything you can to make sure he knows the new baby's arrival will change the family, but not how much you love him. Try to get him to help you prepare for baby and even talk to your tummy. It sounds nuts, perhaps a little, but if he feels included with everything, especially surrounding the new baby, he may calm down. He is also at that age when night terrors start and it is unfortunately a phase that is hard. Just make sure that you calmly and silently put him back in bed each time he gets up. No extra attention, just put him back and walk out.
Your son is also at the age where you can show him on a clock what bedtime looks like and tell him that Mr. Clock says it's bedtime; that way you're not the bad guy, Mr. Clock is. This sounds silly, but it does work.
If your son still takes naps, try earlier or shorter naps but don't cut them out entirely. I read somewhere that sleep begets sleep and that if a child is over tired there is some kind of a hormonal chemical which can actually hinder a child going to bed.
I know it's tough, hang in there and know that you're not alone. Most of us have been through this at one time or another. Keep thinking it will be better and it will be. Just because you have another on the way doesn't mean it has to get worse. Once the new one arrives you can have your son help with him/her by bringing diapers or wipes or burp cloths, etc.
try talking to him to see if it if fear that is keeping him from sleep, night terrors or even just monsters, if it is fear try "monster spray" any spray will do explain to him it will keep the bad away and spray the entryway to his room or the bed or where ever he feels it needs to be sprayed to keep the bad away, when my son went through a phase on not wanting to go to sleep (around your son's age) I found that suggestion on here and it helped, the mom that origonally posted it used hairspray and made a new "label" for the can so the child wouldn't recognize it........GOOD LUCK
I am sure you have tried everything. Be persistent. It is not an easy task. Suggestion: Try encouraging him to be the big brother. Put him in a regular bed; use a bed rail or pillows on the floor if necessary. Stress to him that he must show the baby how to be a big brother and this is the first step. Also, involve him in helping you get ready for the baby. He is "big" now and can help. Good Luck.
Is it possible that he is teething? I have found with my own kids that if there is anything hurting or bothering them, it may not effect them during the day when they are busy and moving around. But once they start quieting down for bed, it drives them nuts! Maybe try some motrin before he goes to bed. (Also is it possible there is any other physical issues that could be effecting his sleep, ear infection, diaper rash? It may be worth a trip to the pediatrician to rule out any physical reasons!)
If there is no underlying physical issues, maybe it is time for a whole new approach! You say that you're putting him back in his crib? Maybe it is time for a toddler or big boy bed! "Pull the rug out from under the little buzzard" as Kevin Lehman says in child psychology books! Then choose one bedtime technique and stick with it! (Is it possible that there have been so many different things tried that he is confused?) Whether you are a "cry it out" kind of parent,a SuperNanny technique parent, or a co-sleeping kind of parent... whatever you are comfortable with it needs to be consistant!! If a child gets different boundries as to what is acceptable, it becomes confusing and frustrating and upsetting for the child and therefore effects their behavior.
Personally for my first 3 kids I was a SuperNanny technique kind of parent, especially when they made the transition from their crib to their "big" bed. It took anywhere from 1-3 weeks (depending on the kid, and how consistant WE were:-) to get them into a routine. But I'm going to be honest, with my 4th we've turned to "cry it out" with the help of a baby gate.
Another thing to think about is maybe his eating habits? Is he eating/drinking fructose corn syrup, sugar, juice, white breads, processed foods, caffine? They have little bodies and it doesn't take much of "bad" food to effect their little systems! Also is it possible that he has any kind of food allergies?
Maybe also concider his sleeping habits? Is he napping late in the day? Is he awake and active for at least 3-4 hours before he goes to bed again? Maybe talk to the day care about what he is doing there?
I typically don't like to answer "child behavior" issues on Mamasource because children can be such complex creatures.. especially at 2 when they can't tell you with their words why they are not behaving!! It is really important to take a step back and look at what is happening to and around the child through his eyes to understand where their behavior may be coming from!
I'm sorry this is so long. I hope you might have been able to find something useful to help you in this situation.
Best of luck!
This may help protein before bed, magnesium and calcium. you can crush the supplements and put them in apple sauce or yogurt. You can look up which foods have more of each nutrient. just don't give him sugar before bed. EXERCISE,EXERCISE, EXERCISE. He maybe mentally tired but not physically tired, don't carry him make him walk, is he sleeping at daycare? don't let him take a nap anymore(he can color, do a puzzle etc.)Get a mini trampoline and have him bounce and bounce.Play tickle monster with him and run around the house... you may have a high energy kid who needs to expel it. The trampoline worked great with my son who would not sleep also. Good luck
Has his diet changed? Sugar even from juice can be troublesome. BUT since he used to go to bed fine, he could be stressing about the baby. I know I will get some negative comments on this part...my #1 daughter (who is 31 now) was like a rubber band when it came time to go to bed, and it started about the time I was due with #2 daughter. It was a battle of the wills and exhausting! We had a king size bed so we brought her in with us...When #2 and then #3 arrived we had a bassinette, one one blankets on the floor, one in the bed or two in the bed...whatevber, we got our sleep and were cozy doing it. When #3 was big enough I put all three in a double bed across the long way...very cute, they loved it and slept like a pile of puppies. It worked for us and I didn't care what anyone else thought about it.
Have you tried a crib tent? They also have them for toddler beds. We got one when we had cats so they wouldn't jump in and try to sleep with our son.
Now our cats are gone, but we kept it on because it gives us peace of mind now that he walks and climbs like a monkey!
He's 20 months and he protests going to bed every night, but we zip him in and turn out the light and he usually stops yelling w/in 5-10 minutes.
I also suspect that your son knows that something is going to change in a couple months too. I know my little guy understands more than what he can tell me because he can't talk very well, so I'm sure your little one knows what's going on with your family.
H., we had the same problem with our daughter. I found out from our pediatirician that many children like ours need Benadryl for a few nights it will not harm them but if given about an hour before bed our daughter slept right through the night, it was heaven. It helps get them back on track of a regular sleep pattern...We were even too exhausted to make love we just wanted a good nights sleep. Just call the nurse at your pediatricians and find out the dosage per her weight. A lot of fresh air and wearing her out playing at the park before giving it to her will help as well.
I have 4 kids, ages; 4, 10,18,and 20. My 4 year old is the only one that just had so much energy she needed the Benedryll too. I hope this helps.
retry the supernanny technique it does work.you just have to stick with it. do it night after night. changing methods only confuses the child. consistancy is key. make sure you are doing it properly you have to stop engaging the child. take turns with your husband so it isnt as emotionally draining to just one person. best wishes
I think a lot happens when they are at this age. My son was the same exact way. It gets to be extremely difficult when you are that pregnant too. I don't have any magic answers for you...all I can say is to be a little flexible with the structure. I was always very rigid b/c I didn't want to share a bed with my son and I always enjoy my time alone with my hubby. BUT...sometimes when we would just lay with him for a little while he would calm down so much more. Sometimes I would sit next to his bed and "tickle" his tummy or his face. I think at this age they really start to realize more of their fears...and your pregnancy is just intensifying that for him. My advice would be to do what you can now to get your rest and his rest. It is a phase that he will get through...and it's easier to work on the rigidity of the schedule when he is mature enough to respond to that. I hope that helps. Good luck!!
H. Have you thought about it maybe just being the crib. Maybe he ready for a big boy bed. Check with your daycare to see where he sleeps during the day. I run a daycare and all of my children at about 2 some younger depending on how they do sleep in a mat not in a crib. They love the point that they get to sleep like a big kid and not in a baby bed. It could be this.
Also My son at 1 yr decided he was terrifed of his crib at 1 yr he would not fall sleep in it if he woke up at night he would scream terrible and it would take him forever to fall asleep at 16 months we put him in a toddler bed and the problem went away. If he woke up at night he would just come and get into bed with us. It worked great for us.
woah is he maybe having night terrors. since you are prego, and your hubs can't do it all, is there a family member who can stay to help out so you can get rest. Hopefully its just a phase. sorry i didn't have any good advice. im a first time mommy of a 9 month old and just want to wish you luck. im sure its a horrible phase that will go away. maybe he does sense you impending labor. my friends 2 yr old son did a week before she delivered her second baby.
I know this goes against everything we are taught and I felt guilty doing it in the beginning because every one told be it was "wrong" but...I let my 3 year old sleep with me (us) for about 2 months. She went through the same thing (for different reasons) and I was exhausted! Here is the good news...I just slowly got her back in the habit of sleeping in her own bed when it was HER choice...I gave her rewards when she slept in her bed and a lot of praise about what a big girl she is.
It sounds like your son is just worried about not being the "baby" anymore and that is normal. Just let him sleep with you and you will both get some sleep for now. It isn't a long term solution but sometimes we just need SLEEP! It isn't the end of the world and life will return to "normal" in a few years...yes, I said years :-)
I would also make sure he doesn't have an ear infection or some other PHYSICAL reason that lying down at night hurts him, and then for your sanity just let him sleep where he wants too...again FOR NOW...I am not a radical co sleeper and believe in routine and and consistency of independent sleeping arrangements. Sometimes we just need to do what works for the short terms and we are only human. Hope this helps...
Hey there...I know what you are going through I just wrote a question involving the same bedtime routine last nite. I too was on the verge of tears and I wanted to tear my hair out. My two year old twins would not go to bed and it would end with major temper tantrums. So I took the advice of all the mom who wrote back to my post and compiled everything together. And my kids went to bed with little fuss, no temper tantrums, and actually stayed in their beds tonight. They have been in bed for about a half hour and my house is clean and peaceful. First I gave them a bath. Then once they were out, I turned off all the lights and left only the Christmas lights on. I also turned the tv off and I would not let them watch it. I went on youtube and made a playlist of a bunch a lullabies and classical music and I turned the music on and turned the monitor off. I then rubbed them down with lavender baby oil and gave them each a message for a min or two and got them dressed. I made them help me clean up the living room and put their toys away. I made up a game where they had to find their "tireds". Where I made them stretch, then run in place, and fall to the ground and pretended to sleep. We did this for about 15 min. I've always heard that making kids do exercise of some kind before bed or nap time would make them fall asleep. After the exercise, I read them three or four books then made them some warm milk. We then sat on the couch drinking the milk and we sang to the music. And I read them one more book. We then went to their room and I turned on some lullabies and tucked them in. I talked to them for a few mins about our day and I kissed them. I turned the light down on dim, put up a gate, told them I loved them, and walked away. They stayed in their beds with out fuss. My youngest twin sat up sang some songs by himself and then laid back down. This is the first night in over a month that they went to bed like this. And for the first time in over a month, I am calm and relaxed. And no tears or worries for me right now. I know I wrote a lot, but I hope it helps you. I know it only worked for one night, but I really hope this becomes our routine. We all had a lot of fun doing it too.
Hi H., not to worry. First think only positivly, think of how your son now sleeps calm all throughout the night. No negitive thoughts! Next music soft calm played at night at story time, then off to bed. Change the routeen completely, and no talk of the past not going to sleep. Tell your son there is no crying at bed time, he needs his rest, as well as the rest of the family. Crying is for when he is hurt of scard, he is neither. Move his room around, to be more comfortable. He may be overhearing talk about the new babies arival. If he goes to bed at night, when he wakes in the morning you will be gone. That is scary to any child, at any age. Let him know you will be there when he wakes in the morning. Lay out clothes for tommarrow, plate on table for breakfast, and plan for the next day, backpack by the door, for trip to the park. ( if you do go into laybor at night, have grandma bring your son to the hospital to meet the new baby. Have him shop for a gift to welcome the baby, and something for himself to sleep with, while he waits for the arival of the new baby. Children are so smart, he knows someting is going on, and does not want to miss a thing. As with all stages of a childs growth this to shall pass. Hope this helps you, congradulations on the upcomming addition to the family.
man oh man!! i remember this with my first child and after I exsausted all the sweet sounding books "no cry sleep ect..." i brought out the big guns and used the "Ferber" method. Get the book and sleep soundly a few days later. It's as easy as that. Your toddler needs his parents to teach him how to fall asleep on his own. Put your guilt aside for a few days (this is not easy but you muct stick to your guns!!)and take the time to teach him. It is effective and fast and the family will gain from it. Tried, tested and true. (it's the let them cry and go to them after a few minutes and let it go longer and longer until they fall sleep. this will be a quicker and quicker process each night until you are able to put them down fully awake. It really works!)
does he like books? we had a similar issue with my daughter at that same age. we eventually gave her a stack of books that she could look at before she fell asleep. if she said "i dont want to go to sleep" then id tell her not to go to sleep, just look at her books for awhile. she always fell asleep. also, this might seem counter intuitive, but moving her bedtime earlier helped a lot. i know its frustrating, but youll think of something! good luck!
Hi H. - I am so sorry - you must be absolutely exhausted, with no time to rest during the day. What happens to your son during the day - is he in day care? Could anything be going on there that he isn't happy about - have they noticed a change. Also, is he having a nap there? Could it be that he is sleeping too long during the day and isn't tired at night. My kids had all dropped naps by the time they were two. I know some parents would lynch me for this, but have you tried bringing him into your bed. I know it isn't a great solution, but if he sleeps better it might help him temporarily get over this bump. My middle child was a horrible sleeper and invariably slept in our bed for his first four years. Eventually he stayed in his own bed. He's now 12, it will get better - just hang on in there. At the weekend is there anyway you could sleep at someone else's house just so you can catch up on some shut eye - good luck - Alison
I have an almost 2 and half yr. old and had the same problem. My son would still take naps during the day, very long naps. I cut his naps down to no more than 2 hrs a day and he started sleeping through the night. And of course we had a bedtime routine, I think bath time really helps. Good luck!!!
Have you tried moving him out of the crib into a toddler or single bed? If it were me, and this is just me, I'd put that in my room at this point so we could all get some sleep. He's goin' through something and can't verbalize it. I'd just comfort him, even if he had to be in my bed, and get some sleep. it will pass eventually. This huge battle may also be meeting some kind of need in him. I'd talk to him, work out a plan that enforces the big boy-big bed theme close to you - lots of reassurance - then all of you get some sleep. A lot of toddler sleep with their parents, even in their bed or next to it. You have a new baby coming and need to sleep. Go with the flow. When the baby comes, you can all be in your room for as long as necessary. I'd get rid of the crib. That may be a big thing in his mind.
Our daughter displayed many regressive behaviors leading up to the new baby. So his behavior is expected and may continue a few weeks after the baby arrives, as did our daughter's.
It sounds like you need some quiet sanity. Is there a place in your house where you can escape the sound of his screaming? Also try ear plugs and headphones to help block out the noise. I'd say you've tried everything to get him to stop, so don't feel bad that you are not comforting him. This is his way of expressing his fears about how his life is changing. You might see if you can find a good children's counselor who can help him get through this time of uncertainty, someone who does play therapy.
My daughter started to have issues when she noticed the things I couldn't do for her now that I was pregnant. She did worse when my family was around to help me out after the baby arrived. I think she feared that I would no longer be able to care for her. Once I was her sole care giver again the behaviors got better and better. Now she just has the normal 2 year old outbursts. It probably was 6 weeks after the baby was born that she started to get used to everything again.
Best wishes, I know this is really tough. Don't blame yourself or feel guilty that you can't comfort him. This is just a phase, and it might be longer then you can stand, but it WILL get better.
I feel your pain. My 3 1/2 year old still goes through spurts of not sleeping. Usually it lasts a few weeks and then she's fine. We have a usual night time routine of dinner, bath, 30 minutes of tv, 2 books, and bed. She usually wants to take a toy to bed, which we allow because it keps her occupied, or she'll look at some of her books (she doesn't like the dark so we keep the light on in the hallway until she falls asleep.
When we had issues getting her to stay in bed (she'd constantly come out of her room before finally going to sleep), we offered a reward. If myself or my husband stayed w/ her until she went to sleep, she'd wake in the middle of the night looking for us. So, the deal was if she was able to go to bed by herself for 2 weeks, then she could go to the store and pick out a toy. I know it's not always ideal, but desparate times call for desparate measures! She held to the deal and on the 14th day woke up and said "today I get my toy!" She talked about it for 2 weeks and knew exactly what she wanted.
I'm not sure if any of that helps, but I wish you the best of luck and know that this will pass too and your son will get back to his normal self (although at this point it's hard to see!).
H. - I feel for you, you gotta have your sleep!
The only thought I have is perhaps a sugar overload. You say this has happened only in the last month or two - Halloween was 4 weeks ago and, if you are anything like us, you started buying candy well before that. Has your son been eating more candy than he would normally? This could make him hyper, grouchy and less likely to sleep. Think about his diet have there been any changes recently?
Good luck, go sleep at a friends house tonight, just to get some rest.
Hi H.---I would go to www.askDrSears.com immediately and check on his advice. I would bet $ that he and his wife have written a book about sleep. Dr. Sears is a Harvard trained pediatrician and his son, Dr. Jim, is on the ABC show, The Doctors.
I work with Dr. Sears and I would trust his advice implicitly. I'm guessing that whatever you do, it will take some time to redirect your son's behavior. You might also want to keep a food diary as diet has a HUGE impact on everything in the body. I'm sure sleep is no different, especially when there are major changes happening in the house...a new baby. You might also get some kids books for him about what it means to be a big brother to help prepare him.
And please be sure your diet is going to support the stress you are going through. Your body is producing massive quantities of free radicals being pregnant. Add in the stress of your sleepless nights, and you've got a lot of nutritional stress added in. Be sure to eat mostly raw fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts. You should be eating a MINIMUM of 15 servings a day right now. Contact me if you would like supporting evidence AND strategies to help you get that much nutrition every day.
Good luck. I look forward to hearing from you. In health, D. ###-###-####
Wow. You must be tired. With our first baby, he went to sleep whenever he crashed. Then I put him in his crib. This was usually about midnight or 1am! So, I understand that they can take a long time to fall asleep. Since I was pregnant (they are 15 mos. apart), this meant I did not have to get up early with him. Win, win situation. So, we started with no routine, sort of opposite of your situation.
Now we have three under 4, and a strict routine for our sanity. There is nothing special about the routine. Dad reads the 3-year-old books, then we brush teeth. The 2-year-old gets place in her crib after being allowed to pick out a special toy from the toy box (any old thing). I brush her teeth. We turn on the Fisher Price light show for her, and close the door. The newborn, we pretty much wait until he gets tired as he's so young. He cries a bit because it would take a third person to tend to him while we get the other two settled.
Since you need your sleep like crazy, you might just have to go to sleep. Turn off all the lights and go to bed. This would mean either having him scream in his crib (after you do the positive bedtime routine), or try a toddler bed and make sure his environment is safe. If he wanders, he wanders. I'm not saying that's ideal, but you will need sleep.
Have you considered teething or other milestones? Has he been working on speech (i.e. more words, stringing together small sentences, etc)? This is also an age where children sometimes develop nightmares, but may not have the verbal skills to express why he is upset. All of these things can affect sleep. Also, I might gently suggest that part of his sleep anxiety currently might be due to being left to cry alone. He could also be in tune with the new baby coming. Have you talked with him about this? How does he feel about it? Can you think of something that might make him feel included and special, and less stressed about the baby coming?
I might also suggest reading Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers. I know some people choose to let their children cry-it-out, but the science behind that is just terrifying.
could he be teething? Acid Reflux?
Can he tell you if something hurts?
I see you are a teacher, is he in daycare? Could you talk about his daycare schedule perhaps he's taking a late nap that needs to be nipped in the bud.
I have children who are difficult to get to sleep...they have weird brain chemistry (ADHD, AUTISM, ASPERGER) we use a natural sleep supplement that is safe to use in small children because it is a compound that our bodies make naturally. It's called Melatonin it comes in both tablet and liquid form. Of course talk to your Dr. before using it, but it is generally considered a better alternative to hours and hours of crying. You start them out on .5-1mg 30 minutes before bed and bump it up each night until they are falling asleep easily keep it at that dosage for about a week then start weaning it down until you are at the lowest dose that will conk them out at a reasonable time. The theory with this method is that it will trigger the brain to make more melatonin as you wean them down.
I am still amazed at myself when my 2 yr old (on 12/4) goes through a "bad-sleep" period . It has happened a small handfull of times in her otherwise great-sleeper little life...but every time it does, I seem to forget what should be obvious to ME (because it has already happened before ;)....and that it ALWAYS ends up being related to pain/discomfort.
In the handful of times we have struggled from days/weeks with getting up several times a night, she has had canker sores (she happens to get bad mouth sores sometimes when she cuts a tooth, and that often is worse for her than the tooth), and other times she has ended up having an ear infection.
I would take your son to the doctor and get his ears checked. I can't tell you how many times (with all three of my kids when they were little) I would take them into the dr. and find that their ears were clear...only to find days/week(s) later it finally showed up. Has he cut all of his 2 yr molars? Those could be causing pain. Does he sleep longer (before waking) with motrin? If so, that could be an indicator of ear/mouth pain. If not, he may have tummy pain from something he is eating and not tolerating well (my 8 yr old daughter found out last year her tummy aches were from a high sensitivity to wheat, dairy and eggs!!)
If you check him out for ears, mouth and (if you have a doctor who will do it with blood test) food sensitivities an d it all checks out as normal---and he is still not sleeping---it may be a strong-willed-normal-2/half yr old habit that you need to brerak for him. We had to let our little girl cry it out 2 nights ago because there was no good reason for her to be getting up several times (just had her ears re-checked from old ear infection, no mouth sores, no tummy ache---she actually talks to us now which is great---and no other discomforts...). She is now sleeping throught the night again. And if you do determine he is in no pain/discomfort, you are going to want to let him cry it out before the baby arrives.
One last thought, you may try to figure out if his pj's are bothering him or something about his bed?
I hope you can figure it out soon!
I so feel for you. I had similar sleep issues but my son would vomit if we let him cry. I was told to for the first two nights sit at his bed and put my hand on his back. Then slowly move out of the room each night. So the next night be 2 feet away from the bed until he goes to sleep and eventually work your way out of the room. Another suggestion is to give him something with your scent on it. Sleep with a blanket and give it to him. There is a program through Oakland Family Services called Fussy baby. They work with you on this type of stuff. It's free too. This is where I got these strategies. Good luck :)
I feel tired just reading your post, you must be sleep walking all day! I know there is a sleep organisation here in Australia where you can pay for someone to come to your house for 3 nights. Night 1: they observe your routine Night 2: They take charge and get your child to bed according to their methods and Night 3: They watch and guide as you get your own child to sleep. I would be calling these people ASAP. Google baby sleep consultants maybe? Good luck!
My daughter did not sleep consistently through the night until she was about 4. Originally it stemmed from the flap between her esophagus and her stomach not fully developed until she was 6 months old. Then I thought it was out of habit that she would wake us up during the night. However what I realized is that she snored and her snoring was waking her up.
Once I gave her a supplement to help with her immune system, one week later she was sleeping through the night 99% of the time. I know this may seem unrealistic, but it really did happen that way and in that amount of time. I remember as I was sleep deprived.
So your 2 year old may be apprehensive about the new baby coming, but how his immune system? How often does he get sick? And with both of you working maybe he just needs to feel more secure? There is a sound machine that plays different soothing sounds and music. Have you heard of it? That may help too. Also, in his daycare maybe the naptime could be reduced.
Hope this information helps. It is not good for anyone to be sleep deprived.
It looks like you got quite a bit of great advice. A lot of the same things I was thinking of. A routine before bed...even if it takes a half an hour to do. Snuggle time, music, books before bed. Maybe he is just craving some extra one on one time....especially with baby #2 on the way.
Sometimes it is a matter of finding a way to "work with" your kid, instead of working against them. But, I know it is hard to find that balance.
I have three kids and two of them have gone in and out of bad sleep phases. This too shall pass! It is hard to remember that when you are so exhausted, I know. Right now my 21 month old has learned to get out of his crib...so it is in and out a lot! He is actually more stubborn than my first child, which I didn't think was possible. Two days ago, I spent 2-1/2 hours trying to get him to take a nap and he ended up sleeping for 30 minutes. No fun:(
But, I try and stay calm and relaxed, because I notice that when I do that, nap time and night time are more succesful. Sometimes I will let him have a toy in his crib with him, that helps him at least stay in bed and eventually fall asleep. Usually it is something that plays music or makes noise. Luckily my 3 year old will still fall asleep to a mini piano;)
When he is getting out of bed though, I find it better to just stand outside his door and put him back in his bed as soon as he gets out, so he gets the message right away that I won't back down.
Good luck. I know how frustrating 8 month pregnant can be. Add in work and a 2-1/2 year old that won't sleep and you get a lot of tears and going crazy!
You sound like a strong person, so stick with it and you will get through this!
Know that I am praying for you.
My daughter is 5... she went through a phase of not wanting to go to bed. For us what worked was no big stimulation after about 5pm if I want to get her to bed by 7:30. She needs time to wind down. So we read books, she has a bath, we color... low stimulation and then when it is time to get into the bedtime routine it is easier for her to adjust. I found that she still has problems if we are going 100 miles an hour and then I start the bedtime routine.