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Pop-Up: Sleep Support Live Q&A

Arielle D.
ARIELLE D.
Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant
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Join our Tinyhood sleep consultant, Arielle Driscoll, for a one hour live Q&A. Arielle will be here to answer all of your questions about naps, night wakings, and more!

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ARIELLE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
2 year old won't fall asleep alone
REBEKAH, PARENT OF 4 YEAR OLD, 19 MONTH OLD

For the past 3 months, we've gotten into a terrible pattern of having to sit with our 2YO until he falls asleep in his crib. Lately, he has become restless during this time (throwing off blankets and then wanting them on again, dropping his pacifiers out and then crying, or just flipping over and over for more than an hour). He only really does this for me (much better for sitters and my husband). I'm becoming very resentful and sometimes outright angry at this behavior, plus we have another baby on the way. CIO hasn't worked. Advice???

Arielle
ARIELLE

Hi Rebekah,

How far into 2 is he?

Arielle

REBEKAH

He was 2 in June.

Arielle
ARIELLE

Ok. Can you tell me what his schedule looks like? When does he nap and for how long? When are you attempting to put him to bed? Does he wake in the night at all? When does he wake for the day?

REBEKAH

He wakes between 6-6:30am. He naps typically from about 1-3 (fine at daycare, similar behavior at home) and we try to start his bedtime routine around 7:30pm. Most nights he's asleep by 8:15pm. He usually sleeps through, though sometimes has a bad dream. I usually ask my husband to console him, because he'll go right back to sleep for him, whereas he wants me to sit in his room.

Arielle
ARIELLE

Ok - what does his bedtime routine look like?

REBEKAH

Bath/toothbrush, Diaper/Pjs, 2 books, then in the crib

Arielle
ARIELLE

A few more questions - sorry, sleep never exists in isolation so I just need to make sure I have the full picture.

1 - How far along are you? Does he know that you are expecting another baby?

2 - What happens if you attempt to leave him?

3 - Have you tried any in between methods? Meaning instead of just shutting the door and leaving him, have you tried brief checks on him?

4 - How do you think he would do with a routine chart with stickers?

Arielle
ARIELLE

One more - how did he fall asleep before this habit began? On his own or did he require you?

REBEKAH

No worries - I appreciate your time!
1. 12 weeks - I think he sort of gets it, but this was happening before we knew.
2. He stands up in his crib and screams.
3. Kind of - if I've been waiting for a long time or he's misbehaving I'll warn him that I'm going to leave and do, but have come back after a few minutes bc of the amount of screaming. Sometimes he'll then go to sleep faster if I've had to leave.
4. He might like that. He's otherwise a good kid who wants to please and is very verbal for his age.

REBEKAH

He was fine falling asleep on his own at home until recently. It started on a vacation where we laid with him bc it was a new place and there were other children sleeping, so he couldn't cry.

REBEKAH

Ever since, he's demanded it. 🤦🏻‍♀️

Arielle
ARIELLE

It's very common at his age for this to happen. Toddler his age begin to test limits. As parents, it can really throw us for a loop because the behavior is so out of character that we sort of resort to "something must be wrong and I must need to change everything." Trust me - I've been there! The thing with toddlers is that they actually need just the opposite. When they test limits, they're actually looking for you to hold the line with them, to keep the boundaries clear and consistent. Because it has been going on for so long now, he knows that if he does X you will now do X. He has trained you! ;)

What you now need to do is reset those limits and boundaries with him. He needs to learn that you simply cannot sit with him every night at bedtime. There are a few ways to go about handling this but given that you've already been staying in his room until he falls asleep, my gut instinct is telling me that you should probably move to a firmer method. I would recommend using progressive checks with him. I would also recommend trying to create a routine chart. You would put each of the steps of his bedtime routine on the chart AND "went to bed without protesting" as part of the routine. In the morning, if he completes that task, he gets a sticker and LOTS of positive reinforcement from you.

Given that he's so verbal, I would also have a conversation with him and explain to him that you can't stay in his room until he falls asleep. Tell him that it's important for him to go to sleep on his own and that mommy will be right outside. Reassure him but make sure he knows the boundaries, too. Then, begin the progressive check process. It may take a few nights but in my experience, toddlers learn pretty quickly. Let me know if you need the progressive check timing schedule. :)

REBEKAH

Thanks Arielle. I will try this and would love the schedule.

Arielle
ARIELLE


Progressive Waiting Schedule

The timing that you see below will be the times you would wait between check-ins. The times get progressively longer for each session and each day to help your children learn to fall asleep unassisted. The longer you are able to leave them, the more time you are able to give them to learn on their own.

NIGHT 1 – 3 minutes/5 minutes/10 minutes/10 minutes (etc)

NIGHT 2 – 5 minutes/10 minutes/12 minutes/12 minutes (etc)

NIGHT 3 – 10 minutes/12 minutes/15 minutes/15 minutes (etc)

NIGHT 4 – 12 minutes/15 minutes/17 minutes/17 minutes (etc)

NIGHT 5 – 15 minutes/17 minutes/20 minutes/20 minutes (etc)

NIGHT 6 – 17 minutes/20 minutes/25 minutes/25 minutes (etc)

NIGHT 7 – 20 minutes/25 minutes/30 minutes/30 minutes (etc)

REBEKAH

Thanks. What do I do when I check in? Do I say anything?

Arielle
ARIELLE

When you go in for a check, you may opt for two different approaches:

1. Make your visit brief with a quick, quiet “it’s sleepy time” and maybe a hand on the belly or pat on the back, then leave the room until your next check.

OR

2. You may offer a little comfort during your check. Note: the more comforting offered, the longer the process will take.

What kind of comfort can you offer?

a. A kiss or rub on the forehead
b. Patting the bum, starting out quickly and slowing as baby calms
c. Rubbing the back in a circular motion, starting out quickly and slowing as baby calms
d. A hug (from the side of the crib)

REBEKAH

Ok great. Thanks again.

Arielle
ARIELLE

You're welcome! If you want to chat with me more as you go along you can certainly subscribe to Tinyhood and we can do that. I wish you the best!

ARIELLE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
13 month old - later bedtime and earlier wakeups
MEGHAN, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD, 17 MONTH OLD

Hi - thanks for participating!

My 13 month old currently sleeps:

6:30 wake-up (getting earlier - sometimes it's 6:15am)
9 -11am
2:30-4pm (have requested that our nanny cap this at 3:45pm)
7pm bedtime (getting later! She just rolls around and doesn't fall asleep until 8:30pm.)

Any recommendations/ tips?

I'd love to get bedtimes back to 7pm... and get her back to waking up at 7am.

Arielle
ARIELLE

How far into 13 months is she?

MEGHAN

Turned 13 month two days ago :)

Arielle
ARIELLE

Ok - I would start by capping her naps more. I would cap the first nap at 90 minutes and I would start the second nap no later than 2 and have her up no later than 3:30, with bedtime 4 hours after she wakes from her second nap.