Friday, November 13, 2009

You can give a child a bedtime…

We are all sleep deprived, but oddly enough the one suffering the most is Rachel. That girl!

Our goal is to have her be in bed by around 8:30 or 9:00 every night and we really don’t struggle with that goal very often. She’s pretty good about going to bed most of the time. She’s even mostly good about staying in bed. It’s the going to sleep part that she won’t do.

We don’t have bedtime battles for the most part. She just stays awake in her room until 11:00 PM or later and then is usually the first person awake. Sometimes she’ll call us into her room at 5:00 and complain that it’s not dark anymore so bedtime is over. Sometimes she’ll wake up at a more logical hour, but still not a very logical hour for a two-year-old who falls asleep at midnight.

Naptime may or may not happen. She always goes down for a nap but I’m not sure how often she actually falls asleep. I asked her once if she had a good sleep and she said,

“No. I didn’t. I just lied down and I played and then I camed out of my roon.”

So at least she’s honest, but, oh, so very tired!

This morning Andrew went out to have a shower and Rachel ran out of her room to greet him, acting chipper—like she’d been up for hours. She needed to have a bath so they ended up co-showering, which meant that I got to sleep in—I don’t know how I’m going to get to choir at 8:15 on Friday mornings when I don’t get up until 8:30 (after falling asleep (for the first time) at 4:00 then waking up at 6:00 and at 7:45).

Things were fine…until Rachel fell over. Because she fell asleep. While standing up. In the shower.

Andrew started watching her closely after that. She’d start swaying and her eyelids would droop and then her head would bob and then Andrew would wake her up.

The girl is tired!

But what can we do?

You can give a child a bedtime but you can’t make them sleep.


  1. Wow, Nancy. That is quite the 2-yr-old you have. :)

  2. you're right about that! The book I'm reading is "Solve your child's sleep problem" and it's really good so far....if I read anything useful, I'll pass it along.

    In the meantime, good luck!

  3. Kathleen does the same thing - we put her down and regardless of what time she goes down it takes her an hour to fall asleep. So I just leave the hall light on, give her a book or two to read, and don't worry about it. I have a friend who said that a child's bedtime should be when you've had enough of said child. In our house, that's earlier rather than later. Selfish, but true.

  4. Getting kids to sleep is always so difficult. that shower story was quite a good one though.

  5. Jodi Ashworth WarenskiJanuary 9, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    Must be a stage. I have to lie down with Thomas in order for him to go to sleep at a decent time or nap.
    13 November 2009 at 22:16

  6. Her system isn't settling down at night. It may be having a new sibling is just raising her stress level a little--even if it's great, it's different and her life is not the same. I would definitely try having a little talk time--unwinding time with just the two of you at bedtime, and see if it helps.
    14 November 2009 at 05:59

  7. Apparently she is just like her mother :) Sometimes if I'm really tired and not asleep but I really want to be asleep I'll pretend I'm sleeping when Jason comes to bed :) He can drive me crazy with 20 questions and then my mind wakes up and it is hopeless to settle down after that :)
    14 November 2009 at 07:18

  8. @ Becky -- Unfortunately we already do that. Or depends on which way you look at it. I help her say her bedtime prayer, sing her a billion songs, talk about her day, scratch her back, read her stories, rock her...she wasn't a great sleeper before little sister showed up so I'm sure this has just compounded it.
    14 November 2009 at 11:16

  9. So I guess "sleep deprivation" are the words of the day!! Josh didn't sleep through the night until he was 4!!!!!
    14 November 2009 at 16:51

  10. Ooooh...that doesn't sound nice at all...
    14 November 2009 at 16:52

  11. look at her diet - what does she eat? Remember even a peanut butter and jam sandwich would send you into hyper mode - I found that even looking at the "natural" sugars is important - I once bought "Naked Juice" for the kids and I - it claimed "no sugar added 100% natural juices" no added anything but it contained 31 g of sugar per serving!!!!!
    14 November 2009 at 22:35

  12. Nancy - we have the exact same issue with Sarah (our 3 1/2 year old). We have no idea how to help her and the problem has been going on since she learned how to climb out of her crib over a year ago. Her main issue is that she doesn't hold still or stay quiet for more than 10 seconds. She wiggles, talks & sings to her dolls and if she has a book, ... See Morethen she "reads" it to herself. Only in recent weeks has she been good about actually staying in her room, but for MONTHS she couldn't even do that. Luckily, she does sleep in later (probably only because it's dark here until almost 7am). She's up with the sun every morning and spends anywhere from 1 hour (minimum) to 3 hours falling asleep at night. When she does fall asleep for a nap it's almost impossible to wake her because she is so exhuasted (I won't let her sleep past 3:30, in an effort to get her to sleep at night).

    ANY ideas would be great! Her preschool teacher suggested that her magnesium levels might be low, so we're making sure that she is getting a good vitamin supplement (just started) and hoping that helps a little. We're also watching the sugar.
    15 November 2009 at 06:0

  13. Yes, I will let you know if we find anything that actually works. Last night was better...but I still don't know how long it took Rachel to fall asleep--all I know is that her room was quiet because I confiscated the rattle she had hidden under her pillow (she has been shaking that the last few nights). She stays up and plays with her dolls, too, and I'd take them away except I don't think it would help her fall asleep because she usually falls asleep with one or more in her arms.

    Good luck with that! (And let me know if the magnesium works...)
    15 November 2009 at 11:33

  14. I don't know if this is old news or not, I'm just sort of getting caught up here. Anyway, when my second son was 2, we finally took him to a pediatric sleep therapist because we couldn't figure out how to help him get the sleep he needed. He was diagnosed with Restless Leg Syndrome. Fortunately, for him the "cure" for him is nothing more than an... See More iron supplement. For some reason we haven't discovered yet, his body is unable to bind iron to his blood, so unless he gets a supplement every day, his legs twitch and keep him awake at night. But with the supplement, he sleeps 12 hours straight! His personality completely changed once he started sleeping--he became far more agreeable. And so did I, because I was getting more sleep too. Anyway, I only mention this because people kept telling me over and over it was just a stage, or nothing was wrong, or just deal with it because that's life. But I knew there was something wrong, and I kept pestering the pediatrician until we got the referral to the sleep therapist. One visit and a blood test, and problem solved. Months and months of suffering over, just like that! If your gut tells you that it's not just a stage, and there is probably a solution out there, then listen to that instinct!
    28 November 2009 at 22:11

  15. Interesting...we'll look into that if things don't start getting better soon (ie. when we move back to North America). Rachel's never been a great sleeper. Miriam is a month and is sleeping six or seven hour stretches. Rachel still can't sleep for that long and she's TWO!
    28 November 2009 at 23:44

  16. My mom had restless leg syndrome and it went away after she stopped eating corn, soy, and sugar. Apparently she was allergic. Before that, she had to sit on her legs to get them to go to sleep so she could. Not fun. Good luck.
    29 November 2009 at 04:2

  17. Alisa - thanks for sharing that!
    30 November 2009 at 07:17