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  1. #1
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    Default 2 1/2 year old worse sleeper than 6 month old!

    My 2 1/2 year old is absolutely exhausting us, and I don't know what to do.

    He's never been the best or the worst sleeper, but from his first birthday until a couple of months ago, he has generally slept through from 8 pm until 6 am.

    We moved him into a new room and a single bed in Oct, a couple of months after his little brother was born. (Before that, he had slept in a cot in the room beside ours). He went willingly into the new room, and for the first couple of months it was all fine... until we had family come to stay for a week over Christmas and blow it all out of the water.

    Their 3 1/2 year old DS was "nominally" sleeping in the room with DS1. He wsn't used to a closed door, so we let them leave it open at night. Now our DS1 gets upset if it's closed when he's going to bed, or any time throughout the night, when previously we'd been able to simply close the door on the way out each evening and that was largely that for the night.

    At bedtime, their DS tends to wander out a few times each evening before finally going to sleep. Our DS1 started to copy this, but we have largely resolved that problem. It's an occasional annoyance, but not a major issue.

    Their DS also has a habit of getting up mid-way through the night and heading into his parents' room and finishing the night in their bed (a habit he developed because his dad is in the armed forces, and seldom home, so it's usually just him and his mum). Our DS1 obviously had a lightbulb moment when he noticed this, and suddenly realised that there wasn't actually anything stopping him from getting out of bed at will.

    So, we now have the problem of DS1 waking at least once a night, and often several times, wandering through the house to our room, and banging on the door until one of us gets up to deal with him. (When it started after Christmas, he had been opening our door and running straight in, until we started locking it).

    Sometimes he will go straight back to bed and let you tuck him in and leave. But usually, what follows is a painful hour (or two) of repeating the process, him appearing to be asleep for 5 minutes but then getting straught back up again, demands that we stay in his room, demands to sit on the couch, etc.

    This is absolutely killing us, and my DH in particular seems just utterly exhausted and fast reaching the point of losing it. We have our 6 month old in a cot in our room and he's still waking for feeds a couple of times a night. Plus, he often gets woken by DS1's banging on the door and crying on the monitor. I try to deal with it myself as much as possible, but because we frequently end up with both boys awake, it's often just not possible. DH is in a really busy period at work lots of deadlines in the next couple of months. (Pre-kids he spent most evenings and a large part of many weekends just trying to catch up on work). It's not the kind of job where you can just say "work less" - it's kind of all or nothing. And with me on maternity leave and my employer having retrenched lots of people and looking decidedly shakey over the last two years, he feels the weight of being the income earner. He feels like he's just getting tireder and tireder and hence getting less done at work, which is all becoming a vicious cycle. Neither of us is getting any opportunity for exercise at the moment either, so that's probably exaccerbating our tiredness levels.

    As to what's causing DS1 to wake up - I don't know! He won't communicate what the issue (if any) is, despite being a great talker - I think it may have become a habit to stir, then instead of self-settling, go and wake up everyone else instead. His wake-ups are occasionally accompanied by crying, but not always.

    As to what to do about it - I don't know! Letting him sleep with us is not an option - he is a thrashy, annoying sleeper, our bed isn't huge, and DH would never accept it anyway.

    We dropped his day sleep a few weeks ago and that has helped at bedtime, but he still wakes up for stupid periods of time at night.

    I suspect there may be some jealousy/ feeling excluded involved, so am planning to move DS2's cot into the room beside ours this weekend. I can't really do much about the fact that DS2's night feeds take precedence to trying to soothe DS1 back to sleep (often to DS1's chagrin).

    The only other thing I can think to do is maybe to put a lock on DS1's bedroom door. (I've avoided it until now because I don't like the concept of locking kids in, but am fast reaching the point of resorting to it).

    Has anyone got some insights into changing this behaviour? No-one in this house is getting the sleep that they need (DS1 included). "Acceptance" is not an option!

    ETA: We live on the opposite side of the country to all family, so no opportunity to ask for respite help.
    Last edited by Gentoo; 19-02-2016 at 09:51.

  2. #2
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    Both my older kids went thru wanting to sleep with us from 2-3ish yo. They grew out of it themselves.

    Can you put a mattress on the floor for him? I find the idea of locking doors very distressing. We have an open door policy in our house.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rose&Aurelia&Hannah View Post
    Both my older kids went thru wanting to sleep with us from 2-3ish yo. They grew out of it themselves.

    Can you put a mattress on the floor for him? I find the idea of locking doors very distressing. We have an open door policy in our house.
    We have an open doors in our house. DS does not get up more often but he feels safer.

    I also have no issue if DS comes into bed. I agree a mattress on the floor may help.

    If you do not want him to do that then you will just need to continue putting him to bed every time he gets up.

  4. #4
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    I'm the same as rose. All my kids went through periods of wakefulness between 18 months and 3. Often every night. We just co slept to deal with it. DH slept in whatever bed the child came from while I stayed in the same room as the baby. Eventually it stopped. And if it got too much we put a mattress on the child's floor and slept in their rooms to get to them before they got up. Started shushing them before they woke properly and usually within a few nights they were sleeping through again.

    It will pass. But in my experience it's really normal for kids of all ages to go through periods of wakefulness.

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to Sonja For This Useful Post:

    Rose&Aurelia&Hannah  (19-02-2016)

  6. #5
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    And yep never shut doors in our place either. If any of the kids have a nightmare I need to know they can get out and get to us.

  7. #6
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    He isn't teething is he?

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by twinklify View Post
    He isn't teething is he?

    Nope, he's had a full set of teeth for almost a year!

  9. #8
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    I've been going through similar phase with my ds1 who is just over 2 and again we have no idea why. We've always put him to bed at night, story, kiss and close the door on way out. He's always awake when we leave and never had any issues, slept 7-7. Then recently he started crying a couple of seconds after the door closes. We went in, he lies back down but as soon as we leave and door closes same happens. At first we were trying to be accommodating, leaving door open, a few times lay down next to him etc but that just seemed to make things worse with him taking longer to eventually settle, not wanting to go down for naps etc. So we resorted to sleep training with controlled crying and within 3 nights it resolved. It's happened a couple of times over the last few months and each time once we did a few days of training he went back to normal.
    Like you we have another baby who is now 8 months and I'm sure it started from jealousy or him seeing us go in to baby when he's crying etc. I know sleep training is not popular for a lot of people but my ds2 is now in his own room and wakes multiple times a night so having to worry about also going in and out of ds1 room and spending up to an hour settling him in the middle of the night was not something we wanted. As I said things were also getting worse for us with him expecting us to lie with him etc. Very unusual for him as he doesn't like cuddles, has never co slept with us beyond 6 months so it wasn't a situation I wanted to be in. Now he's back to sleeping 12 hours through the night, no crying or fuss when going down for a nap or at night. However he is still in a cot as he hasn't escaped yet and I appreciate that this makes things a lot easier.

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    Gentoo  (19-02-2016)

  11. #9
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    This was/is our eldest. She slept easily and solidly from about 8 months until 2 yrs 2 months when she went into her bed. She would sleep 7pm to 6/7am every night until she went into her big bed. Then it all went downhill.

    She needs to be helped to sleep, she woke several times a night, sometimes after being asleep 5 minutes, other times after an hour or 2 asleep. Some night she was awake at 9pm after going to sleep at 7pm.

    No amount of return to bed, bribery, rewards charts, punishments etc worked. This week has been a good week, where she has slept through 4/6 nights so far - last night she came in at 3 am after a bad dream, but then I took her back to bed and she slept until 6:30. There is no change to our routine or life this week, she is just sleeping better naturally (I cringe writing this as I don't want to jinx us!). She has also started putting herself to sleep again, it's just taken almost 2 years.

    I am a big believer in this stuff being somewhat out of our control. She has slept in the room next to us, we have put a mattress on the floor, she is now sharing a room with her little sister (who happily sleeps through). Nothing changed her frequency of wakes. I can't offer much advice but to say that he won't forever be waking up. I know it doesn't help, but I also don't think there's a magic cure. I get very jealous of people that say their kids never get out of their beds!

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    Gentoo  (19-02-2016),nh2489  (19-02-2016)

  13. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by moto View Post
    This was/is our eldest. She slept easily and solidly from about 8 months until 2 yrs 2 months when she went into her bed. She would sleep 7pm to 6/7am every night until she went into her big bed. Then it all went downhill.

    She needs to be helped to sleep, she woke several times a night, sometimes after being asleep 5 minutes, other times after an hour or 2 asleep. Some night she was awake at 9pm after going to sleep at 7pm.

    No amount of return to bed, bribery, rewards charts, punishments etc worked. This week has been a good week, where she has slept through 4/6 nights so far - last night she came in at 3 am after a bad dream, but then I took her back to bed and she slept until 6:30. There is no change to our routine or life this week, she is just sleeping better naturally (I cringe writing this as I don't want to jinx us!). She has also started putting herself to sleep again, it's just taken almost 2 years.

    I am a big believer in this stuff being somewhat out of our control. She has slept in the room next to us, we have put a mattress on the floor, she is now sharing a room with her little sister (who happily sleeps through). Nothing changed her frequency of wakes. I can't offer much advice but to say that he won't forever be waking up. I know it doesn't help, but I also don't think there's a magic cure. I get very jealous of people that say their kids never get out of their beds!
    This is exactly why I'm so scared to move my ds1 into big bed! If it's not broken don't fix it in my opinion! I'm just waiting for the day when we hear a big crash and find him sprawled on the floor after successfully climbing out of his cot 😬


 

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