Did I do somthing wrong? Toddler wont sleep...

InstantNoodles

Junior Member
Nov 29, 2011
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Let me start by saying, that she stopped taking naps when she was two, and her average bedtime is 10pm, with getting up in the morning at around 7:30 or 8am.

As of last month, my three 1/2 year old step daughter has been refusing to sleep when we put her to bed. She is just never tired when we put her down for bed. We let her cry it out in her room, but she will get out of bed and sit by the door and literally just cry or talk to herself and/or hum for *2* or *3* hours before she finally packs it in.

Our routine is brushing of the teeth, books, lullaby and then we shut the door. Now, she has developed a new habbit of delaying bedtime. *RIGHT* before we shut the door, she will need "one more hug" "one more kiss" , then another "one more hug, one more kiss", "I have to go potty", "I need my vitamins", "I am hungry" Literally, everything she can think of. When eventually we have to turn her down, she wails in her room for an hour or so before she finally goes to bed.

Tonight, her mom was putting her to bed when she needed "one more hug, one more kiss" then she needed "one more hug and kiss from seff" (me.) I didnt really want to do it, because she is just delaying bedtime. I go in, hug and kiss her- and was about to shut the door and now "wait, bunny needs a hug and kiss" I tell her "Go to bed." and shut the door and she throws a temper tantrum. The whining only lasted about 30 minutes tonight before she turned in.

Granted my wife isnt very happy about it, she says I should have just given the bunny the kiss and let it be done with- but to me its the fact if we keep caving she is going to keep doing it again tomorrow and the next day, and the next day, and the next.

Any advice? Am I a push over or am I standing fair ground?<EMOJI seq="1f615">:confused:</EMOJI>
 

alter ego

PF Enthusiast
Oct 6, 2011
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the bush, Australia
I dont see the problem with giving her bunny a kiss???
She sounds like she has some anxiety associated with sleep. Personally Id be reassuring her before bed, and sitting with her if she needs it.
Roleplay with toys, and positive reinforcement for going to bed and staying there would be useful.
After about 3yo our kids went into their own rooms, so we made bedtime a positive time, and they know that we will come if they need us, never any tears or stress.
 

bssage

Super Moderator
Oct 20, 2008
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I am interested in what her day is like? Can you describe how she spends a typical day?
 

InstantNoodles

Junior Member
Nov 29, 2011
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Well, since it has gotten colder we topically stay inside more than what we did in the summer. In the summer, a tipical day would be going to the park, taking the dog for a mile walk, going swimming at the local pool.

Now, a typical day is she will get up, play with some toys, go to pre-school, goes shopping, comes home and watches tv, play with some more toys. Dinner, bath, Spanish, books &amp; bed.

I have high suspicion she is hyperactive attention deficit, as she can *not* sit still or focus for more than a few minutes. She will run in circles until she is wheezing and still keep on going. If she watches TV, she will not watch for more than a few minutes before losing interest. I think the only thing that keeps her attention is Garfield. We have tried the vast majority of kid shows to find one that may be challenging and would suite her, but it simply hasn't happened. She seems to be most drawn to shows that shes outgrown.

She is *very* smart. I am not just saying that as a proud step-father either. She does catch on to things, and has an incredible gift of figuring out how things work, and is very good at Spanish, only after a few months at 5-15 minutes a weekday night.

I feel we challenge her enough during the day, she simply just does not poop out at the end of the night.
 

bssage

Super Moderator
Oct 20, 2008
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The reason I ask is that it has been my experience that we often get tunnel vision when it comes to behavior issues. For example: My son has issues if he does not have enough rest. He will get in trouble at home and school ect. My daughter has issues if she does not get enough exercise. This is especially significant in the winter months.

So I would ask has bedtime become more difficult as the weather turned colder.

There are a surprising number of things you can do to help her burn energy. Having her move heavy things (basket of toys,laundry, grocery items, ect) Using stairs instead of elevators/escalators. I liked to hide things around the house, give them clues and have them search. Just be creative.

Also check with the preschool and see what they have in place. I went so far as to talk with DD's school to help burn some energy. Again just be creative.

Right or wrong. I am not a big fan of forcing her into her room. I have had lots of success acknowledging her and calmly escorting her back to her room. So many time's I lost count. Takes lots of time and lots of Patience. But it works well.

I probably have kissed anything she asked. So I agree with the above posters on this item. KISS THE BUNNY

There are also some specific foods which will help calm and allow her to sleep. I know there are other forum members who can advise.

And lastly I am a big fan of "Books on tape/CD's. DS listened to star wars, DS listened to baby Einstein. They were a life saver for us. Also they can be purchased cheaply at any used bookstore.

Ooops second last. Her ADHD symptoms <U>may</U> caused by her poor sleep. I would hold off on that until you are sure that is not a factor

End the end you can only do what works for you. These are just some of the things that worked for me.
 
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parentastic

PF Fiend
Jul 22, 2011
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OP, if your daughter suffers from sleep anxiety (a very common thing at that age) you will increase and reinforce her anxiety when you force her into her room or when you act in a harsh and directive way.

On the other hand you cannot let her get away with leaving her room and joining you anytime she pleases, either.

The solution is:
- Keep her door open
- Let her hear you as you walk in the house, listen to tv, etc. She needs to hear and feel your presence to get reassured
- EACH time she calls for you, RESPOND with a gentle voice, tell her "Shhhh... sleep now my love. I am right here on the other side of the wall, do not worry. Sleep. "
She needs to know that you ARE here, attentive and responsive each time her anxiety causes her to call you; but also that calling won't change her need to go to sleep.
If it gets bad, you can go there and kiss her but don't get her out of her crib and don't stay more than a few seconds.
The idea is to reassure, ALWAYS reassure, but without giving in.

NEVER let a child cry themselves to sleep:
- It causes a negative association with sleeping, which causes more sleep problems later on,
- It creates attachment disorder and reinforce insecure attachment
- It reinforce anxiety
- If you do it long enough, it will "work" because the child will figure out that her distress will simply not be taken care of by her parents, which is BAD because she will learn to hide it inside and develop various self-esteem issues instead.

Hope this helps!
 

bssage

Super Moderator
Oct 20, 2008
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A last little bit from me.

Someday you may fondly look back on the "one more hug", "One more kiss" as one of your best memories.
 

bworthey

PF Regular
Oct 4, 2011
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Louisville, AL
I agree with the poster that said start looking outside just the sleep pattern/problem. I don't have a 3 year old so I can speak from experience. It could be another phase that she doesn't want to sleep - I don't know. Sounds like something else could be bothering her possibly - the change in routines because of the weather could be one thing - has there been any major things going on otherwise? Job change, moving, anything like that?! I think kids are so perceptive about things and we don't even realize! Hope things get better!
 

busywittymom

New member
Jun 17, 2020
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India
Sometimes toddlers don't sleep because they are too tired, and giving them a massage with baby massage oil will help them relax and has good impact on their bone strength too. i have been using the moms co natural massage oil, and it has all the best oils you need for your little one.