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Old 12-27-2012, 09:05 PM   #1
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3 year old discipline and sleep problems

Our daughter just turned three a few weeks ago. Pretty much from about that time, she has started a few bad habits.

1. She has begun to lie awake in bed, moving about and playing. It now takes us up to 2 sometimes 3 hours just to get her to sleep. We have always been a co sleeping family and, generally we all go to bed together. However, DH and I can't do this anymore. We're losing sleep because of it. We've gotten so frustrated that we're both raising our voices at her, making threats (that we generally follow up on), and just recently banished her to her bed which has always been next to ours though she's slept in it a grand total of 5 times. We got her a dream light to see if it would give her something to focus on, but it actually seems to have made it worse with the stimulation.

On to #2:
Same time frame. She has been refusing to listen to me or Dh. She will purposely do something she knows will upset me and come to see my reaction. Eating has been a really hard one. She won't eat. She won't even try what's on her plate. I tell her she had to try everything before she says she doesn't like it but it doesn't work. Tonight I tried having her sit at the table until she was finished. She sat there for a while, then decided to see if she could make a game of getting down and back up again. Finally we just took her to bed, dinner uneaten. (she fell asleep).

That was just an example, but there's more and I feel like I just keep yelling at her rather than actually solving a problem. I need help figuring out what to do!

Extenuating circumstances that are important to note: I am due any day with baby #2. Being this pregnant is definitely inhibiting my ability to play with Ayla. She is excited though and genuinely seems happy to meet the new babe. I have been moving things about the house In preparation. Her stuff has only benefitted however with better organization.

Ok thanks for reading the book! I'd appreciate any help. :-)
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:13 PM   #2
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Re: 3 year old discipline and sleep problems

Sounds like a typical, tyrannical three year old showing their independence and possibly acting out to get your attention now that she senses big changes are coming soon.

Be patient with her
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:28 PM   #3
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Ah patience, where do I find that again
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:34 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by xtin View Post
Sounds like a typical, tyrannical three year old showing their independence and possibly acting out to get your attention now that she senses big changes are coming soon.

Be patient with her
This. Mine are 3.5 and almost 2. I can tell you DD1 ate like a starving maniac as a 2 year old and my current 2 year old eats everything too, but around the time DD1 turned 3 she backed off on her appetite big time. I really have to watch afternoon snacking if I want her to eat. If you insist on her trying it, then you have to be firm about not giving her anything else until she does. She may also enjoy helping with meal planning so there's something she likes at every meal. Does she still nap? DD1 gave up naps at that age (NOTHING would make her nap) and all the sudden the 2 hour bedtime battle disappeared. You may also try a longer pre bed routine including no electronics at all and maybe some massage. Good luck!
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:39 PM   #5
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Re: 3 year old discipline and sleep problems

I have a 2 year old with the same kind of thing going on, and yes the sleeping problem definitely got worse when we had baby 2 recently. But in the end, we decided to not fight her wanting to stay up. So I refused to make a big deal out of it, I ignored her and she got bored because she wasn't getting any attention from me that way. I also read her 3 stories every night to spend some alone time with her and that helps because she really enjoys it, and if she doesn't behave then I take the books out of her room. Hang in there, in the end she is probably testing to see how much attention she can get.

Good luck with #2
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Old 12-27-2012, 10:05 PM   #6
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I have a 2 year old with the same kind of thing going on, and yes the sleeping problem definitely got worse when we had baby 2 recently. But in the end, we decided to not fight her wanting to stay up. So I refused to make a big deal out of it, I ignored her and she got bored because she wasn't getting any attention from me that way. I also read her 3 stories every night to spend some alone time with her and that helps because she really enjoys it, and if she doesn't behave then I take the books out of her room. Hang in there, in the end she is probably testing to see how much attention she can get.

Good luck with #2
Oh, I am sure she is testing to see how much attention she can get! Part of my problem is that I have a hard time ignoring her, so she is getting exactly what she wants. (Bad mommy).
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:43 PM   #7
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We are still napping though I think she'd be ok to give it up once i go back to work. The problem we were having before I went on leave though, was that we'd pick her up and she'd crash out in the car which naturally would put bedtime in jeopardy. Since I've been home I've been fairly strict about nap time no later than 1pm and bed time at 8:30.
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:44 PM   #8
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Oh and I have been really picky with her food throughout the day lately. With all the sweets available this time of year, I insist on her eating something healthy before she gets a treat.
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:40 AM   #9
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My oldest gave up her nap just before 3 and if she did nap, bedtime was torture. It was still a balancing act trying to keep her awake in the car etc, during that transition, but it made bedtime much smoother (we moved the time of that up a bit) and she had no ill effects. And we coslept too. She did move to a bed beside us after baby came. As to the behavior, I'd agree with the others. Excited about baby, testing limits, and being 3. 3 was MUCH worse than 2 for my oldest. It's just so hard when you're so pregnant and exhausted and anxious yourself. Hang in there!
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:06 AM   #10
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Re: 3 year old discipline and sleep problems

Is it possible for her to go to bed earlier? In our house, 8:30 would be way late for a little one. Our DD went from being a great sleeper to a horrible sleeper around 18 mos. We discovered that if we kept her up past 7:00- 7:30, she seemed to miss a window of sleep and then took forever to get to sleep. And, still, at 9, she has a sleep window and struggles to sleep if we keep her up late.

As for the other behaviour, yes, I would say it is entirely normal. Although hard, we try to ignore anything that is not damaging or major rule breaking. With the dinner, once she got down, she would be done, plate gone.

Two-three is the time where they test their independence and see what they can do (I don't want to say "get away with" because that implies maliciousness). It is a time where parents have to discuss and decide what is important to the family, and find an approach that is consistent. That and a bucketload of patience.
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