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Patricia Wintermuth
Worked at The Man
Attended Stanford Graduate School of Business
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Who wants to weigh in on toddler bedtime drama?

My 2+ year old has fought bedtime in various ways 1. Usually it's a solid 20-30 minutes of stalling, avoidance, protesting during the bedtime routine (books, PJs, potty, brush teeth, 1 more book, bed) followed by 10-15 minutes of protest crying in her crib. She then usually starts chatting happily with her lovey and singing to herself until she falls asleep, so I know this is about the protest.

Recently, her pre-bedtime resistance has gotten worse, to the point where it's hard to get her into PJs or up stairs without physically (gently) forcing her to change her clothes, carry upstairs, etc. I don't want to escalate the power struggle, nor "force" her to put on PJs & sleep-sack. That said...calm conversational approaches like empowering her throughout the routine, acknowledging her frustration, etc, don't seem to be making a dent on the behavior.

Any ideas or strategies out there? Or is it "Viva La Resistance" until she gets older?

Rebecca Trump's profile photoPatricia Wintermuth's profile photoAmy Wheeless's profile photoLaura Coffin Mendez's profile photo
We have had great success with timers - we use a "duck quack" and it's mostly become part of the routine. One of the things we do that I think helps is we use it for our own stuff too - so if we're cooking, or if I set a timer to remind me to move laundry to the dryer, I use the same timer so he sees EVERYBODY has to listen to the duck. We also try to make going upstairs fun - so maybe we'll race up the stairs to the bathroom or his dad will do a piggyback ride.

We were taking away stories for not listening but have found we get better results with the stories as the reward - so he earns one book for brushing teeth/going potty without drama and another for putting on pullups/PJs. He also only gets to pick out the fun (superhero) PJs if he has been behaving. We do potty/teeth/pullups/PJs/books/nursing (soon to end hopefully)/song in bed.
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Okay sleep wizards...thoughts on capping naps?

Our 1 y.o. has begun needing an hour + of gymnastics in her crib before falling asleep at night. And generally she is also taking a longer time to fall asleep at naptime (20-45 mins.) While she's been teething a bit that doesn't tend to throw her off all that much, so I think the culprit here is not having enough wake time in between sleep times. I'll admit to being very reluctant to cap her naps. (Maybe it's just mommy's PTSD from months of 30 minute napping? Different topic!)

Her naps vary from 1 1/2 hours each to 2 1/2 hours. Usually closer to 90 minutes. Her nighttime sleep seems to be netting out around 9+ hours.

Wakeup between 7-730 (occasionally closer to 8)
Morning nap- down at 930, but often awake until 10:15 or later
Wake up between 1130-12
Afternoon nap - down at 230, often awake until 3 or even 330. 
Wake up around 430 or 5. We wake her at 5 if she isn't up yet.
Bedtime 830, but often awake until 930-10, but sometimes as late at 11 :( 

She seems to average about 9-10 hours at night, and 3 - 4 hours of napping during the day.

She cries a lot when being put to bed but once in her crib she doesn't cry, she just hacks around and plays, fairly actively. She seems on the tired side by 830-9pm, but she clearly isn't tired enough to fall asleep.

Do I cap her naps to extend wake times during the day? Or just go with the flow and follow sleep cues, since she's pretty happy and rarely fussy, despite wanting to stay up waaaay past mommy's bedtime?
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Is this the 8-month sleep regression (she asks as she drools on herself while typing)? And if so is there anything I can do?

LO has been waking up every ~45 minutes all night long and is inconsolable unless held. Before a few days ago she would wake up a few times on a typical night and would usually go back to sleep with a paci replacement or a pat, maybe a little rocking. As of three nights ago she screams and cries unless picked up and often it takes two or three rocking sessions to get her back to sleep...for the next 40 minutes until we do it again.
I've tried letting her cry after the first check/pat and she'll cry over an hour with no let up. And she's rolling all over the crib in frustration. At that point I try holding/rocking again and it works but...she needs to be put down nearly asleep or asleep and 45 minutes later she's up again. She does this from bedtime (730-8) until 3 or 4 am, maybe 7 wake ups?

She sleeps in her crib and was never much of a swing sleeper. It's being held vs rocking that she clearly wants.
I don't think she is teething or sick and the only other change made recently was to move her to a two nap schedule during the day but she seems to have adjusted well to that along with a bedtime around 8-830 (earlier if she's tired).
She "sleeps" 8:30pm-7:30am plus two naps at 9:30 and 2. And until the past three days could be put down drowsy. Now...not so much at night.

Do I tough it out and hope this doesn't last weeks? I don't want to create bad habits but we both need to get more sleep than a couple hours in the morning. I read Alexis' post on regressions and I think that's where we are but I'm at a loss as to what to do. All ideas welcomed!

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Thanks Laura - She hasn't had any cold symptoms but I thought maybe she was batting at her ear so the thought crossed my mind as well. But she seems better today and the behavior stopped so just keeping an eye on her.
I think Alexis is right so we're working on changing the bedtime routine. (You'd think after reading all her awesome posts - many of them twice - I'd have figured it out sooner?!? Slow mommy brain...)
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Anyone else have a toddler who takes forever to put herself to sleep? Should I mess with earlier bedtimes?

Our 16-mo has always been a night owl, but after months of a consistent schedule, she continues to take over an hour most nights to settle down to sleep after bedtime routine + being put in her crib. Not much crying, just playing for hours in her crib.

Wakeup: between 7-8am
One nap: down at 1230, asleep between 1245-130. Nap is between 90 mins & 2.5 hours.
Bedtime routine @ 8pm, in the crib by 8:30pm...but usually plays quietly for an hour to 90 minutes+, falling asleep between 930-10pm. Sometimes even as late as 10:30.

She has always been a late-to-bed kid, despite multiple efforts to move bedtime up, including capping naps. Last week she has started sleeping later in the mornings (twice to 9am!) so I'm debating putting her to bed earlier, maybe at 8pm. But since she seems to stay awake until 930-10pm almost every night I'm not sure that does anything other than extend her awake time in the crib.

Thoughts? She's very energetic and active right up until we settle her down at night, and shows no signs of fatigue or fussiness in the evenings. I'm wondering if moving the bedtime up helps or just means she'll be awake in her crib for even longer at night.

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Yep, six is what I'd try.
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Patricia Wintermuth

Success Stories  - 
After a merciless stint in the land of 7-8 wakeups per night, we have arrived in good Sleepsville! Woot!

Alexis correctly diagnosed the sleep association - we thought that our pacifier + rocking + putting down drowsy was working out fine (hahahaha), until it suddenly wasn't...and rocking all night long became necessary. So we dropped (most of) those bedtime crutches, and did CIO and it was so much easier than all the crying-filled nights that preceeded it. SO MUCH EASIER

Night one - maybe 15-20 minutes of fussing and crying. And maybe 10-15 mins each of the following two nights. We had two wakeups of an hour of crying in MOTN over the course of three days and that was it. 

Now our 8 1/2 month old goes down with some fussing but not much. We put her down fully awake, no rocking, no music - just sleepsac and white noise. Confession: We do let her have the paci and leave a couple spares in the crib, but if she wakes up, she has to find one and put it back in on her own - we don't come in to help. And she seems fine with that.

A month ago we had a 40-minute (max) daytime catnapper and a frequent night waker - and in a little over two weeks she transitioned to 2 good scheduled naps and an 8:30pm--7:30am night sleeper. Woot!

Thank you +Alexis Dubief  and sleep peeps!!
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Excellent news - congratulations!
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Okay peeps, need some advice on sleep training, specifically scheduling.

Our LO (just shy of 8 months) has always been prone to short naps and night wakings. She can fall asleep awake and usually goes down pretty well at naptime and bedtime (dark room, in sleep sack, in crib). She sleeps anywhere from 9-11 hours at night, and naps range from 30 minutes to about 2 hours (although most are closer to 45 mins to an hour). But she often wakes up two, three, sometimes four times at night. And while she usually goes back down with just a check + paci replacement, it's time to get her to self-soothe more and wake up less.

I'm pretty sure the problem is that she doesn't have a firm sleep schedule. We initially tried "by the clock" at 4 months but at the time she was a terrible sleeper/napper and ended up exhausted and miserable all the time. So we resorted to following her cues versus scheduling, and until recently that's the only way we could be sure she got anywhere near enough sleep. But that means all her sleep times have some variance. Sometimes she wakes up at 700am, sometimes closer to 830am. Naps generally follow the 9am/1pm/5pm timing but their start and end times vary wildly - based on the timing & length of the nap before. And then of course her bedtime can range wildly too, between 800 and 1030pm, depending on when her last nap occured. 

I'd like to try scheduling by the clock but want to do it right. My hypothesis is: wake her up at a consistent time each morning (730am), and be sure to put her down for naps at the same time each day, and a consistent bedtime (thinking 830pm). 

I'm thinking:
Wakeup 730am
Nap 1 - 930am
Nap 2 - 130pm or 2pm
Nap 3 ??
Bedtime - 830pm

Thoughts? Do I even need a nap 3? (She takes one now but I think it is pushing her bedtime out too late.) And if she takes one do I wake her up by 530 to be sure we can maintain consistent bedtime?
Do I maintain the nap schedule ridigly even if she isn't tired and ends up not sleeping for a nap or two? (Guessing yes)

Any advice appreciated! 

and...Happy holidays to those of you celebrating :)
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Thank you +Alexis Dubief ! Four days in and things are going well. She wakes up and goes down easily, and her naptimes (930 and 2) are now stretching to 90 mins-2 hours. Sometimes she still wakes up at the 35 minute mark but we put her back down and (so far) she sleeps more.

She's visibly tired during the last 4 hour stretch so we may start creeping her bedtime up a bit earlier to see if that helps.

She's also still having 2 or 3 night wakings but usually goes back to sleep after some light soothing so hopefully as she adjust to the schedule those will work themselves out too. Progress!
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