Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Looking for bedtime solutions

I once read on another blog that after you make it through your child's first year, you never give your child's sleep another thought. Either that parent was extraordinarily lucky or we're abnormal, because sleep is just about all we do talk about here (well, and the futility of potty training).

I've come to terms with the idea that Jack is not a big sleeper. He sleeps fine, just not very much. Most nights he's slumbering by 8 or 8:30, and he wakes up for the day between 6-6:30. That doesn't leave us much time to ourselves, but we take what we can get. The real problem is getting him to sleep, a task which Hans undertakes most nights. About 1/2 the time Jack does fall asleep on his own (eventually and after some power struggles), either when Hans is reading to him or by himself once Hans leaves his room. But the rest of the time is not fun: Jack gets out of bed, runs to his door, opens it, and runs out to find us. And, oh how he laughs.

I pretty much avoid specific-topic parenting books, but I'm wondering if we need a little sleep guidance here. We've tried a bit of a technique I saw once on Nanny 911 (back when I thought the experts had the answers), wherein the parent continually places the runaway child back in bed, as many times as it takes until the child gives up and goes to sleep. It hasn't worked and I surmised it was because we didn't keep it up until he surrendered, but last night I tried it until Jack became totally hysterical, so it doesn't seem like a good option for us.

I guess that leaves us, on those nights when Jack won't settle down on his own, in a familiar position of reading with him until he falls asleep, which we did just about every night from the time he started teething until Jack got his big boy bed last year. Maybe we're lucky it took Jack this long to discover he doesn't have to stay in bed at bedtime. But we sure would like things to be a lot more mellow. How does everyone else get their toddlers to sleep?


Caroline said...

"I once read on another blog that after you make it through your child's first year, you never give your child's sleep another thought."

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

If you find anything out, please let us know!

Tammy said...

As a mom of an almost 4 year old I would like to tell you it gets better - but it doesn't.

we read to Chayse and then lay with her in the dark until she goes to sleep - thus the other night I went to bed at 8:30

She also is having nightly screaming issues so yup no one in our house sleeps through the night.

Doesn't that give you hope ;) hehehe

Russell said...

Ouch. Yes, please let us know if anything works. Our schedule is a lot like yours. Bed around seven and they get up around seven, but usually wake a little after six. Bed and sleep do not seem to have much correlation. On a good day, the three year old falls asleep not too long after eight.

Last night, after a day that included a long car ride, a short nap, and a 2 1/2 mile walk, our 3 & 4 year old finally went to sleep after 10pm. The hollering and crashing is indescribable.

julie @ the calm before the stork said...

Embarrassed to comment after being so roundly laughed at by Caroline, but in my own defense, it was my friend Sarah talking, and she said it was that sleep dominates your conversations for about a year.

Never giving it another thought? Probably not. Being able to eventually find other topics of conversation interesting, one day, I can hope... Right now, your post is on my favorite topic.

Hi Jane! I finally made it over here. Been so grateful for your comments on my blog lo these last 8 months. It's about time, huh?

Your toddler-pop-up story feels like a preview for us. I'm sure as soon as Jonah can, he will. Right now, he's on the second round this morning of I'm going to leave him in the crib for half an hour and he'll surely fall asleep, right?

Not yee-ee-et.

Jane Huber said...


Your friend's comment just struck a nerve, and I wanted to get some honest thoughts about getting the little one to sleep.

I think I've come to a "take what you need and gracefully ignore the rest" point with advice.

But I'm also somewhat glad that I'm not the only one struggling....

Sounds to me like you and Jonah are doing great! Too bad Oakland is a bridge away; I think the 2 of us could have quite a bit to talk about (books, editing, publishing, scars....).

Thanks for your comment!