Our three year old, Haley, will not sleep. We are exhausted and have tried everything. We have to fight her to stay in bed every night. She will get out of her bed 7-15 times between 8:00-10:00. We have tried strict routine, shutting her in her room(doctor suggested, but she can now open the door), bribery. If she lays on the couch with me and falls asleep, I can then carry her to bed, but she only stays a sleep for a couple hours at the most. Then she comes screaming through the entire house waking up our 11 year old and 9 month old and us. We then put her back in bed, with a huge fight, this continues all night long. We have even tried melatonin with the doctors ok, didn't work at all. The only time she will sleep most of the night(and still not all night) is when she is in bed with us. I do not want to start (continue ) this habit. I really feel she may have some kind of medical problem?????? She only gets a few hours of sleep a night, and so do we. Does anyone have any advice at all???? Our entire house would greatly appreciate it!!!! Oh and we have tried skipping nap time at daycare too, doesn't make a bit of difference.
Check out two books. First read, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Dr. Mark Weissbluth. Then read, "How to Get the Best From Your Children" by Jo Frost. It sounds like she needs to LEARN to sleep first of all, and once she gets the hang of that, any remaining problems will likely be behavior/discipline related. Good luck to you! When you decide what you're going to do, stick with it and give it a couple weeks to take its magical effect. Patience and persistence are the key to parenting!
Does she just have one nap time at daycare? Is it later in the afternoon? What do they do to get her to sleep there? I wonder if it could be moved to an earlier time. This may sound silly, but you may try moving bedtime back...she may be so tired she gets a psuedo-second wind. And if she has a new sibling, it may just be part of that transition.
If she needs to be with you (which is what it sounds like), try laying in her bed with her...if you fit. Calm her down in whatever way works when she sleeps on the couch with you. Eventually sit in a chair next to her, soothing her the same way. Start moving the chair away a little further each night until you're sitting outside the door. Always have a magazine or book to read and if you need to get up to do something leave the book there so she knows you're coming back.
Kaiya's idea works well for some kids, and I hope it is that way for you and would definitely suggest trying it first. However, if she is anything like the 3 year old I care for, then this may not work at all.
You may want to put a gate on her room that is child proof. This way, you don't shut the door so she doesn't feel like she is being shut away, but she is kept in the room. She may throw a huge fit for several nights, but you need to stand firm and not cave or she will learn that they work. Be very sweet to her at bedtime....read a book, hugs and kisses, make sure she has her favorite stuffed animal or comfort object to hold if she is scared and then place her in her bed.
She will definitely spend at least a few nights crying at her gate. She has learned in the past that this works, so it is only normal for her to think that it will work again, but you need to make sure not to cave to it.
You need to make sure that she is not hurting herself, so you can check in every 5 minutes to make sure she is okay, and if you want to put her back in her bed, first with saying, "mommy loves you, you need to stay in your bed" and then after that without saying a word, then you can do that (though don't expect for her not to get out over and over the first few nights you do this).
Eventually, the amount of time she will throw these fits for will get smaller and smaller, as she learns that they will not get her what she wants.
Make sure to thank her for this. Say something like, "Thank you so much for stopping your fit last night. You are such a good girl." Reward her for fitless nights with stickers on a calendar and make incentives for getting several stickers in a week, or in a row, or in a month...etc...
It is really hard to break a bad habit. You have to make sure that you are consistent and that you and everyone else is on the same page of what you are doing and it will pay off. You should start to see signs of it slowing by the end of the first week or so.
Change things up as it is fit for you and your child, but always keep in mind that what you do is what you are teaching her is acceptable. If going in your room isn't acceptable, then don't let her. If throwing a fit to get her way isn't acceptable, then don't give her her way for it.
Skipping naptime is the absolute last thing that you should do. Tiredness breeds tiredness. If she isn't getting her nap in, she will be worse at night, not better.
Best of luck to you!
Last edited by relocatednyc; 09-11-2008 at 11:54 PM.
We used the baby gate on the door with our daughter and it worked miracles. She didn't like it at first and then asked for it at both bed and nap times. Now we only put it up if she keeps getting out of bed and it solves the problem right then and there. She knows she can't get out so she just gives up. Good luck.