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bedtime horrors


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I posted a while back as my toddler went through a phase of not going down v easily - that phase passed and now seems like a walk in the park compared to the current phase we're battling. He's nearly 2, and for the last 3-4 weeks has been increasingly difficult to put down at night. This happens regardless of slight variations in bedtime/naptimes etc. The minute we put him in his cot he starts yelling, and from there it's usually an hour of shrieking before he goes to sleep. I hasten to add, that's not an hour of us leaving him!

We have tried various approaches - staying in there with him to soothe him - v difficult as even once seemingly asleep is v canny at waking up as me or OH slinks out of the door; going in at regular intervals to reassure him; adminstering cuddles and reassurance; not picking up but just patting on back; leaving for longer intervals and going up every 10-15 mins. Nothing works and it's getting worse. I'm fairly convinced it's separation anxiety/fear of being left alone, rather than fear of the dark as nightlights/door open with hall light on have not made a difference. Rather oddly, we had a hiatus of this whilst in Scotland recently - perhaps because he was ill while we were there and so more tired than normal.

Help! I can't work out what we could be doing differently, it's massively disrupting everyone and most importantly it's heartbreaking to hear him so upset. He's definitely not currently ill, nor is he going down hungry/too hot etc. I suppose the answer might be that one of us really needs to be in there with him till he goes to sleep (and stays asleep) every night, but that seems hard to achieve and not teaching him to sleep on his own - but perhaps that's too harsh on a not quite 2 year old? Argh, so hard to know what's right. He's been a pretty good sleeper overall up to now.

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We having been having lots of renewed sleep horrors with our just-turned 2 year old, including these types of bedtime antics. Could he be due his big 2-year molar teeth? I think these have been the cause of our woes as our little guy goes down much better on the days we give him some pain relief.

The only other thing I'm wondering is if I need to start shortening his nap? He still sleeps 2 hours after lunch and would sleep longer if I let him, but maybe this is now too long for a 2 year old and causing him to fight bedtime? I'm scared to lose that time in the day though, so haven't started messing with it yet!

We've been doing basically gradual withdrawal type strategies as described above, and also starting bedtime a bit earlier to make sure he has lots of time to wind down, read a number of stories, talk about his day, etc.

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yep I'm wondering similar things alieh, and also trying similar strategies. But we've had the same problem even on days when (by default) nap has been much shorter (of course am then way more frazzled dealing with a prolonged bedtime battle!).

have had a look at baby whisperer forum and def going to try gradual retreat more concertedly now. And yep pre emptive pain relief sounds good - have tried calpol but will try nurofen as that's always helped him with teething more. I do also suspect his ongoing ear issues might be part of the problem (though currently not ill he's missing the grommets which solved his last sleep problems...).

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My nearly 2 year old has been difficult going down for the past 4 or 5 months since he moved into a room with his older brother (who is a breeze). It's not that he is screaming & hysterical, just that he doesn't seem tired and is rather chatty. I think you could say he resists sleep and it was taking an hour to hour and half for him to drop off.

Over the past month i've tried reducing his nap time from 2hours to about 1.5, which didn't have a huge impact, however i then tried changing the nap time so that i put him down earlier (about 12.30) and get him up earlier (2) and this seems to have made a huge difference.

I guess he is now properly tired when going to bed and drops off within 15 mins. I'm sure its more to do with the gap between when he wakes from his nap and when he goes to bed rather than the length of nap itself.

Good luck


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