Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Bedtime Woes

We are entering a new phase in our home, and I don't like it! Megan has always been a good sleeper. She still is, but putting her to bed is becoming an issue.

Megan goes to bed about eight. We have a routine of brushing her teeth, she helps Daddy shut her blinds, pray and then into bed. She is having moments of not wanting to get into bed. The moments are becoming more frequent.

Over the weekend we had an issue with nap. She refused to go down. We tried to put her in her crib and she was crying and saying no and just carrying on. We were trying all the tricks and nothing was working. I ended up caving and put her on the couch for nap. She went right to sleep.

The last two nights we have had the same drama. This time we did not remove her from the crib. We did the let her cry it out thing. It was breaking my heart! I was ready to go get her but Chuck keep telling me that if we did then she would continue to throw a fit knowing we would come and get her. I know that he is correct, but still this Mama did not like it.

We are wondering if she needs to be moved out of the crib. We can remove the front and it becomes a toddler bed. She is now 26 months and I know in my head that it is probably time. Telling my heart it is time is another thing. Megan will be my only child and having her leave the crib means I have to let my baby go! I know that sounds crazy.

Do you think that moving her out of the crib will help? Any suggestions? Oh, and please be kind.


  1. In one way, she may be ready to leave the crib, but just remember...
    if she won't obey you with less freedom, its not likely she will obey you with more freedom.
    You may use the big girl bed idea as a "reward"... for a few weeks, consider looking at beds, linens, etc and talk to her about what it would be like to have a "big girl" bed. On the other hand, remind her, "big girls" are obedient girls... I'm sure you already do this, but start teaching her Ephesians 6:1. Also, remind her an unhappy heart is not rewarded....
    Finally...if no one had told me this...I would not have known...children communicate with crying, but they can also manipulate with crying. Sometimes we want crying to stop because we don't want to listen to it or we don't want to believe that they can actually sin! But they can and they do. And just like the Father loves us through our sins, we love them through theirs...but we must show discipline tempered with grace as well...
    Make sure there isn't something scaring her about going in her crib and then go through there.
    I hope that helps...
    I had a horrible parenting day yesterday! I need to follow some of my own advice.

  2. I think you need to get this bedtime routine a little more managed before moving her to a toddler bed because it could bring on new problems.

    As for the sleep issues, does she bring any toys to bed? Sometimes we have to limit or give toys depending on comfort level of son. Also, he started going through a fear stage at about that age. He really was afraid of noises so we would go check them out but he had a hard time communicating that. We had to give him the skills to know how to communicate what was wrong to us.

    Also, we don't say, go to bed or good night. Instead we ask our son to play in his bed quietly or lay still and we tell him we will come back and check on him. It comforts him and he falls asleep knowing we will be back...which we are..but he is asleep by then.

    We personally have never done the cry it out method and have been very successful with comfort but leaving. Being persistent and NEVER letting our son out of bed or picking him up but comforting him with words or back rubs etc. We also NEVER lie down in bed with him (not an issue while in a crib but once they are in a big bed).

    Good luck! I know it can be challenging.

  3. The first thing that came to mind was that she might be ready to be moved to a bed. My daughter got a bed right at 2 yrs old and we haven't looked back (we as in my husband & daughter - I look back all the time since she will be my only child too and it was really hard for me)

    I put a rail up on the new bed for a while thinking she might try to get out instead of sleep but she always just sat at the rail and called for me to get up - just like when she was in her crib. I kept the rail up for about 4-5 months.

    Oh, I also gave the crib to a friend immediately so there was no option (since we wouldn't need it again).

    Good luck to you!! :)

  4. I noticed similar behavior with some of my children around this age. She is smart enough to know that she is missing out on some fun when she goes to bed, thus the resistance.

    Here's what worked for us:
    ~consistent bedtime routine
    ~never giving in to the crying
    ~prayer, prayer, prayer!

    Remember that although this is just a phase, it is important that she obey you without compromise. :)


  5. Hi Wendi - like Leanne mentioned, you may find that with the freedom of the big girl bed comes many more frustrations. We moved Rachel into a twin bed with a side rail so that Samuel could have the crib and it has been very challenging. I just don't think she's able to handle the freedom she has.

    I do let my girls take a book or two into their beds and play soft lullaby music on the CD player - they are only allowed a small nightlight.

    We certainly still have issues in this area - and we do not give in to the crying. Sometimes I wonder if our children are simply testing the waters to see how much they can get away with.

    Leanne really offered very good advice and thoughts on her comment.

    I'm so sorry this is a struggle for your home right now - I know how it can disrupt what used to be a peaceful evening!


  6. Just my two cents worth:
    Megan spent much of her first year of life in an orphanage. I'm sure she cried herself to sleep many nights. Bonding and trust issues are the most important things an infant and toddler have to deal with, and it seems that she has certainly bonded with you. She might have some fears, or abandonment issues surfacing though.

    Has anything changed in your routine in the past few days? Is she cutting teeth?
    It seems that a sudden change in a toddler's bedtime routine might indicate some insecurity.

    I would suggest going into her room patting her on the back, and staying for a few minutes, and telling her that she is okay and that you love her, but it is time to sleep. That you will be in the next room. If she keeps on crying, reassure her that she is okay and that you are nearby. I would not go in more than twice, and I would not take her out of bed.

    Since she hasn't had a problem going to sleep in the past, I don't think she is being manipulative. She probably needs reassurance.

  7. We have been having some bedtime troubles here to with both girls. But I did give in to the baby and took her out of her crib to rock her. She has been cutting 4 teeth and I just felt she needed some cuddle time. However; it's not something that happens on a regualr basis here.

    Our older daughter has recently wanted to sleep in a baby bed again after being in a big girl bed for months.

    It really sounds to me that Megan is ready to move out of the crib. But I wouldn't go buy her a new bed, I just take the side rail off of the crib and see how it goes. She might not handle all the freedom. But this very same thing happened to some friends of ours and once they made the crib into a toddler bed all their bedtime issues stopped. Just something to consider.

    I hope things getting better.

  8. I hope you don't mind me butting in here.

    I thought my children looked uncomfortable in cribs by aged two and they certainly slept better in a bed at that age.

    I would suggest you have a chat with her saying how you think maybe she is ready for a big girl bed.
    Get her to help you set it up, fetch the linens, make the bed etc,put her nightwear on the bed too.

    Get a small night light. Ask her which soft toy would like to try out her new bed with her tonight and which story book she would like to read to the toy. Lay both on the bed ready & waiting!
    Use this time to sort through any clothes/toys she may have outgrown re-inforcing how grown up she is etc.

    At bed time , after kisses etc and her usual bedtime routine leave her in bed with the book and the toy. Returning her to bed each time she strays!
    I did this with all my boys. I emptied the day of my chores so I could re-arrange the room in a relaxed way not in a rush.
    As for the actual night time - We used to let the children cry but return to reassure and comfort straightaway the first time of crying and then every 10 mins after that. I know this is very frequent but with this degree of love and re-assurance the bedtime routine was sorted after three nights - but those three nights were hard! So rest in the day. Make sure you and hubby are singing the same tune re the rules lol!
    I know it is hard to let go of your baby but trust me she will always be your baby - lol. My 21 year old will always be my baby in my heart! And you know each new phase brings so many many rewards. In fact I always thought I liked the present stage the best until the next one arrived!
    Sorry I have gone on & on.
    It always helped me to think it was bedtime all over the world at some point in 24 hours and there were many of us sleep training our children!

  9. There is always that balance as mothers that we seek between standing tough against the manipulation, and yet being compassionate to our little ones. You don't know me, but I couldn't help but respond to your plea for help. I hope I don't step on any toes. I can tell you that as an "older" mother to five, that each one is different, and no one knows yours, like you do. Only you can tell if she is really in distress, or if she simply doesn't like bedtime. Make bedtime as pleasant as possible, like Monica suggested, a soft nightlight, books, maybe a special toy, favorite blankets...whatever works for her. For my youngest who never liked to rock or snuggle, I made up a little story about her favorite bed buddy (stuffed animal) that needed her and liked to snuggle her neck.. she knew it was pretend, but still loves the story even now at 4 1/2. My oldest, who had no siblings until he was 4 1/2 (now he is 20) actually liked to be rocked to sleep until about 3, and I loved it, so it was no problem. I would give my right arm to have those days back, and you will too in 20 years! After that we simply layed next to him until he fell asleep. It was such a sweet time to hear the whispers about the day. you will gain insight that you otherwise would miss. When #2 came along, it just wasn't an issue anymore. He loved having a brother to share a room with. I am all for not letting our children control us, we should be in control always, but I hated the crying to sleep thing as toddlers. They can't always express their fears. Instead of asking how can I get this child to comply to what I want, ask yourself what can I do that will help us both through this time, that we might both actually benefit from. Also, make sure she's really tired, then the rocking or playing, or lying with or whatever you choose to do won't be much of a sacrifice at all. I promise, if you decide to use the time to get closer, you will never look back and wish you had let her cry. Just my two cents.


Thank you for visiting. I appreciate you taking the time to leave me a comment. I hope you enjoyed your visit and will return again!