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Old 06-30-2011, 03:02 PM   #1
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3 year old WON'T stay in bed! Help please! WE need sleep! (long)

My 3 yo DD has refused to stay in her crib since she started climbing out about a month ago. I know this is a long time for her to still be using the crib instead of a bed, but she is small and always seemed comfortable in it. Now that she's figured out or decided to climb out, we just leave the gate down. But, she will NOT stay in bed. I do a whole nightime routine with her...bath, pjs, stories, snack, toothbrushing, rocking with lullabies just like always, except now after her nightime kisses in bed, she comes out of her room...5 minutes later and keeps coming out repeatedly. I finally give up and go into her room, rock her again and then put her in her crib and lay on the floor until she falls asleep. This is usually about midnight that she finally goes to sleep. Then, she's up the next day at 8:15-8:30AM and takes an afternoon nap for a few hours.

I've tried dropping her nap, but I'm so exhausted that I need a nap then. My 1 year old still wakes up several times at night.

Do I wake her up earlier in the morning? Not much has changed about her night time routine, but that she won't go to sleep. I start stories about 8:30/9PM and put her in bed about 9:45/10PM. I know that's late, but I have teens that don't settle in until a little later and I know she would have trouble sleeping with the movement in the house, if I tried to put her to bed earlier.

Anyway, my possible solutions seem to be to drop her nap or wake her up earlier in the morning, but I think a 3 year old needs around 12 hours of sleep a day. (10-8...10 hours, plus the 2 hour nap). She has dark circles under her eyes in the morning and seems visibly tired, so I don't think she's getting enough sleep. But, she won't stay in bed at night. I'm stumped. I really she is purposely keeping herself awake at night, wiggling, talking, climbing out of her crib, etc. She doesn't seem scared, just not wanting to settle into sleep.

Is 3 and a half a transitional age? Will this phase passe? I'm looking for advice from people who have been there.

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Old 06-30-2011, 03:09 PM   #2
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Re: 3 year old WON'T stay in bed! Help please! WE need sleep! (long)

Both of my kids stopped napping after 2.5. I tried to get them to nap but they wouldn't. Bed time has always been 7pm and they get up between 6-7am. I'm not sure what to tell you since you have teens in your house but each time she gets out you need to take her back. By giving up and letting her have her way you are reinforcing that if she keeps trying you will give in. It will be a hard few nights but she will figure out that you are not going to give in. She will get bored and go to sleep.
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Old 06-30-2011, 03:19 PM   #3
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My 3 year old still takes a nap. He is a totally cranky butt when he doesn't and ends up going to bed an hour earlier. He naps for 1 hour at the most. He goes to bed (is actually asleep) by 8 and wakes up at about 6:30. So he gets about 11.5 hours of sleep.

I would say limit the nap to an hour and stay in her room until she is asleep, but don't rock her. The no cry toddler solutions book has lots of great ideas on how to keep goodness in their beds all night.

Also it might be time for a big girl bed.
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Old 06-30-2011, 03:24 PM   #4
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100x of walking our ds#1 back to his bed. Over two weeks. Lol. We remained emotionless. And eventually the novelty wore off. He was in a twin at 18 months and at 4.5, he never gets up unless it's legit.
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Old 06-30-2011, 03:35 PM   #5
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Re: 3 year old WON'T stay in bed! Help please! WE need sleep! (long)

Our 3yo gets up a few times after lights out. But we allow the potty use & firmly state "it's bedtime now, see you in the morning!" and put him back in bed & close his door. At a certain age, we all put ourselves to sleep(or need to learn how). If she wants rocking, I would do it before lights out so she knows the difference. I also wouldn't stay in her room.

I wouldn't cut her nap out altogether, but try shortening it for a week & see how she does. Or try waking her up a bit earlier for a week.
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Old 06-30-2011, 06:41 PM   #6
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Re: 3 year old WON'T stay in bed! Help please! WE need sleep! (long)

Thanks mamas! Good advice! I am in the process of shortening naps, making them earlier and waking her a little earlier in the AM. I'm hoping tonight goes more smoothly, although I don't have high hopes. Another issue is that I usually put my 18 month old to bed after my 3 yo, so she won't wake him up. But, recently he hasn't been asleep before she started coming out of her room. Which means he is in the room with both of us. A big party. Bad idea, but I didn't want to leave him in his crib crying in the other room and DH has to sleep because of work the next day.
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Old 07-01-2011, 03:13 PM   #7
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Re: 3 year old WON'T stay in bed! Help please! WE need sleep! (long)

Well I don't know if you'll like my advice, but its what we did with my DD. My son never had issues with getting out of bed, but boy did DD!! Its a little excerp from Dr. Weisbluth's book.

When you put your child to bed, remind him he can't get out of bed, then say, "I love you. It's time to sleep. If you get out of bed tonight, I'm going to put you back in bed, but I'm not going to talk to you when I do it."


Then, anytime your child leaves his bed during the night, return him to bed without saying a word. This can be challenging, but engaging your child by talking with him, even if you're expressing your disapproval, rewards your child with attention and gives him incentive to repeat the behavior.

I worked amazingly well for us! ETA-This happened probably 30-40 times the first night and maybe 10 the second. By the 4th night she was staying in bed all night
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Old 07-01-2011, 03:16 PM   #8
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Re: 3 year old WON'T stay in bed! Help please! WE need sleep! (long)

We bought ds a Cloud B turtle. And it keeps him occupied until he falls asleep.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS.../chrisficti-20
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Old 07-02-2011, 08:05 AM   #9
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Re: 3 year old WON'T stay in bed! Help please! WE need sleep! (long)

When we moved DS to a big bed a couple of months ago he kept getting up, I think it was that he had this new found freedom and was not sure what to do with it, it was as if all of his boundaries had been removed (sort of like your DD now knowing she can just get up out of bed) and we bought the toddler wake up clock(much to much $$ for what it is) but I wish I had spent the $$ to get the my tot clock.

Now he understands that it is not time to get up until the bunny is awake, he is now 3 and still naps 2+ hours a day and the bunny works for that too.
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Old 07-03-2011, 03:18 PM   #10
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Re: 3 year old WON'T stay in bed! Help please! WE need sleep! (long)

My DD has had long-term problems with sleeping. The thing that I have found that makes the biggest difference in the number of times DD gets out of bed before falling asleep is... the time I give her dinner. If I don't give her dinner by 6:30, then we can't get the bedtime routine (bath, brush hair and teeth, potty, bedtime story) started soon enough that she's in bed by 8. If she goes to bed later than 8, we really struggle to keep her in bed.

Another thing that has helped is sitting with her while she gets settled in to sleep. I keep a dim light on and read or knit, and if she tries to talk to me or play, I tell her that it's time to sleep and if she doesn't lay down, I'm turning off the light and leaving. That usually gets her to be quiet. I stay in there for 20 minutes to half an hour, but DH can get away with just spending 10 minutes with her (don't know why she lets HIM off easy!)

I've tried bribery-- if you stay in your bed all night, you get a prize, but that only worked until the novelty of getting a prize wore off.
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