Let me start from the beginning. I have a two year old daughter. From birth she has never slept in a room by herself. As an infant she slept in her father and I's room. As she got older she slept in a crib in our room, her grandmothers room, her grand fathers room, or my nephews room. I lived in Ohio with her father for all but one year of her life. During that year I lived back in pennsylvania helping my father because he had gotten sick. So my daughter was going from ohio with her dad/ my boyfriend to Pennsylvania with me once a month. She would spend a month with me and a month with him. Finally my father got well and beat the cancer he had been fighting so I moved back to Ohio and my boyfriend and I got an apartment of our own. Our daughter has her own room now. And just about every night since we moved in she has woken up screaming for her dad or mom and crying. We thought it may have been the dark so we started to leave the hall light on at night after we put her to bed before we went to bed. But she continued to wake up. So our next thought was that she was getting hot because she is always sweating so we put a fan blowing the ac into her room and that didn't help either. She still wakes up and every morning around the same time she crawls in bed with us. She says shes scared and climbs in between us. I am at a loss. I never had issues getting my nephew to sleep by himself in his own room when I was taking care of him. We are waking up at least two times in a night because she woke up screaming and crying. Then we are woke up every morning when she climbs in our bed. We are open to any suggestions.
so what would you suggest I do? I am open to anything. I know that us putting her to bed is not the best way to do it. She is in a toddler bed because she climbs out of a crib. And she does not want to stay in her bed if we leave her in her room. I am up for anything.
The goal here is to get her to the point where she consistently falls asleep, all on her own. You could do this cold-turkey, lock her in and cry it out, but I think that would be very difficult and maybe even cruel at this age. So I'm going to suggest a somewhat-gentler approach. It will take longer, but it will work if you stick with it.
The idea is to gradually become less intimate and less snuggly at bedtime. You didn't tell me exactly what your current bedtime routine is, but let's assume that what's going on now is that you lie in bed together, snuggled close, until she falls asleep. Here's example steps to follow to gradually withdraw. Take the next step about every 5 days, or as soon as she's comfortable on the current step. When she wakes later at night (which she will continue to do through most of this process) do NOT go all the way back to step zero—resume doing exactly what you were doing at bedtime.
(exactly what you're doing now) snuggle together in bed
stay in bed with her with bodies touching, but less snuggly
stay in bed, but not touching
sit next to bed with your body draped next to hers
sit next to bed in a chair, looking at her
sit next to bed, looking away
sit next to bed, looking at a book
move the chair 1 foot away from her bed, looking at a book
move the chair 3 feet away from her bed"026.
etc"026. keep moving the chair further away every 5 days or so until you're in her doorway, and then out into the hall, and then finally so far out into the hall that she can't see you. That'll probably be 6 or so more steps, but that's how you do it.
So: very gradually move away, and if she wants you closer, just calmly stand your ground and do not go backwards. You can make each step as teeny as you like—but each step must be to increase your emotional and physical distance.
Once she is falling asleep without your emotional and physical presence, she will stay asleep all night.
At the same time, be sure to offer encouragements and tangible rewards. She can earn stickers the next morning for a good night (meaning she fell back asleep when you resumed the same step you were at during bedtime.) After 3 stickers, ice cream! After 8 stickers, a trip to the dollar store!
It will take time, but keep in mind she's been practicing her current sleep routine for over 2 years, and it isn't easy to make new habits. You can do this if you stick with the plan.
thank you very much. I will try that. we currently sit on the floor next to her bed but we do not pay attention to her falling asleep we do other things to keep us occupied at that time. If we pay any attention to her she will not even attempt to go to sleep. In the morning when she crawls out of her bed and into ours she climbs in and snuggles with us. That is a good plan. We thought about a gate at our door or hers but then again we do not want her to feel like she is trapped in there. Her room is supposed to be a nice place. She finally has one of her own. We do not want her to be afraid of it. We are just loosing much sleep with the nightmares and all. I really appreciate it. We both thank you and will let you know how it goes.
The opinions expressed in WebMD Communities are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Communities are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.
Do not consider Communities as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.