HomeToddlersConfused about helping toddler sleep?
Posted in Toddlers on 9th December 2010

Confused about helping toddler sleep?
I’m internally confused about helping my 2 year old fall asleep at night. (Just fall asleep, not the rest of the night.) I know that it is very realistic and healthy for him at this point to want to fall asleep near us and be snuggled down to sleep, and I am happy to snuggle him down at night. But, I’m not happy that about half of the time he needs a good hour to fall asleep. How can I find a balance? I enjoy helping him fall asleep at night and totally get that it’s very age appropriate, but I can’t feel like he actually needs to lay down, reposition, reposition again, drift off, sit up, lay back down, fix his blanket, fluff my pillow, fluff his pillow, snuggle some more, reposition again, and such for an hour before finally falling asleep.

How can I be mindful and respectful of his need to snuggle down at night and still set a limit on “you need to sleep”? I can’t force him to sleep, but can I tell him “leave your blanket alone/stop moving around”? I know it’s reasonable to teach a nursing toddler about nursing-to-sleep manners, but can I teach just a snuggling toddler “snuggling-to-sleep” manners?

Best answer(s):

Answer by retha
My son was the same way, we started turning off everything about 8pm, lites, tv, got in bed, slepp within 10 minutes, I would then get up and continue my day, Boys are just snuggly, and use all kind of excuses for laying still, dark room gets him all the time.

Answer by swirly_swirl_37
i just let my son snuggle with me and watch tv. i find it relaxing. but he is a very calm 2 year old… so my answer prolly doesnt help any…

Answer by sks42683
There is nothing wrong with snuggling at bedtime, but there is no reason for you to stay until your son falls asleep. In fact, it is better that you don’t. That is how children learn to fall asleep by themselves. I disagree that it is healthy and age appropriate for him to need you nearby to go to sleep. Tell your son, “mommy will lay with you for 15 mins., and then you need to go to sleep”. If it helps, set a timer, so you both know when the 15 mins. are up, and then give him a chance to go to sleep on his own. It is not unusual for toddlers to take a long time to fall asleep. That is when they have a chance to think about things, reflect on their day, what they learned, and process everything. My daughter, who is also 2, talks to herself for 30 mins. to an hour after we put her down. Sometimes I hear her singing or playing with her baby doll. It is how she unwinds and relaxes herself. Create a soothing bedtime ritual (for example: take bath, get into pajamas, brush teeth, read a story, sing a lullaby), snuggle for a few minutes, and then let your son put himself to sleep.

Answer by Irritated Lactivist
Sophie went through this for a while. I began to tell her well in advance of the “plan” for the evening. “We are going to take a bath, read books, and go to sleep.”
As we were going through each stage, I’d remind her of what came next, so she didn’t forget and then flip out. As each book was read, I tell her “Three more books, then it’s time to cuddle and go to sleep. Two more books, then bedtime, etc.” It’s been working VERY well! She calmly enjoys bath, then pjs, then reading and cuddling together, and it’s been a while since we had a long, drawn out bedtime hassle, or fussy time when she is in bed. 🙂
Good luck!

Answer by siesteph
wow…reading this ….you confused me..:):)
(?sleep manners?)

we tell our daughter (after we put her to bed) that we are going downstairs to have our after dinner coffee, and she’s fine with that…she knows exactly where we are…and she also knows that if she ‘needs’ us, we are right there for her

Good Luck

Answer by ι вєℓσиg тσ ℓυкαѕ
Tip 1 – Wait until he is tired before taking him up to bed. Some physical activity during the afternoon should make him more ready for sleep at bedtime. Sunlight and fresh air during the day makes sleep come more easily at bedtime.

Tip 2 – Consider letting him run off steam before bedtime, especially if he hasn’t had a very busy day. He can do this by bouncing on the bed, jumping around, being silly… whatever he likes to do. Follow this by quiet time.

Tip 3 – Have a good bedtime routine, with a bath, milk and a story. Spend 5-10 minutes quiet time with him before getting into bed. This will relax him and he’ll again be more ready to sleep.

Tip 4 – If none of these help, consider a later bedtime!

It sounds like he just isn’t quite ready for bed… or some children need to fidget a lot before sleep and that’s just how he is. If you feel he doesn’t NEED to lay down, you’re probably right and he doesn’t! Work on ensuring he’s tired and relaxed!

Answer by Consider the Lilies
I’m impressed that he hangs in there for a whole hour trying to drop off….My daughter will give it a good try for 15-20 minutes and then request a book or a cartoon if she hasn’t fallen asleep by then.

Sometimes they’re just not ready to sleep yet.

I figure, if it was me, I would read or do something on the computer for a bit rather than toss and turn for an hour. So, I give my daughter the same flexibility.

At this age, you don’t have to worry about them stretching their bed time till midnight. Usually another 1/2 hour or 45 minutes is all it takes to get them drowsy enough for bed.

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