Toddler Sleep Issues – Need Help!

A friend of mine is stumped (and stressed!).  She went through a divorce about a year ago and now she has twin, 4 1/2 year old girls who will not sleep in their own beds.  Every night, they come into her room and want to sleep in her bed – with or without her!  She has tried taking them back into their room and reassuring them that they’ll be ok but this has not worked.

Any suggestions?

I am going completely crazy right now as the Twinkies have decided to re-institute past sleeping issues?! They are 4.5 yr old twins, and just don’t want to sleep in their room! Usually, one is worse than the other (or if it’s not one, it’s the other – hopefully that made sense). When they were sick the past few times (uhhh… MONTHS!) I did let them sleep with me and now they only want to sleep in my bed. I don’t even have to be in it! Although, it always starts with them asking me to stay in their room or wanting to sleep with me. And how do you explain WHY they can’t sleep with me? They will go to bed and fall asleep in their room, but it’s just a matter of time before I hear the pitter pat of their tiny little feet and my door swings open. Last night, Lily literally came in every 5 mins, starting at 10:30PM (Bedtime is always 7:30-8PM) until 2:30AM, when I finally put her in my bed and went to sleep in the guest bedroom – never a peep after that. Of course Ava woke up and
realized Lily was in my room and then she needed to get in bed with her. And sometimes the tantrums when I refuse are so bad that I fear my neighbors are going to call the cops as they scream “MOMMIE” for an hour (obviously, we have VERY thin walls here!). My room is DARK, I need to keep a light on in the hallway/door open for their room??? I cannot believe it because I have always been against allowing kids in the bed and I don’t know if I have just unraveled all these years of good practices or if something else is going on with them. The screaming, crying, begging just breaks my heart and I usually end up crying as well. I don’t yell, I just very calmly try to walk them back to their beds, assure them how much I love them and that I am right across the hall. Times are very stressful right now as I am unemployed single mom but I try NOT to show any fear or anxious emotion around them. Their dad has been gone for almost two years so I don’t think it has anything to do with that?
Plus, he and I have an awesome relationship and co-parent very effectively. Comments????

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Nightlight Trick

Last week, I went to CT to help my friend get her 14 week old to sleep better at night (we actually got him to sleep through the night (from 10:30pm – 7:15am) on my third night there!  Go us!  It got me thinking about how important it is to establish good sleep habits early on – to help your child sleep well and fall to sleep on their own.  However, it made me start to wonder how to continuously reinforce these fundamentals once a child leaves the crib and enters a “big kid bed”.

Although we’re still a year away from this happening, a friend told me about a neat little trick that works for them.  Place a nightlight in your child’s room and attach it to a timer.  Set the timer to turn on at bedtime and turn off at the time your child is allowed to leave their room in the morning (for us it would be at 7 am – when we normally go in and get her).  When the light is off, your child knows it’s ok to go and get mommy and daddy.  Apparently, this eliminates middle of the night interruptions with your toddler jumping into bed with you.   It seems as though it would work well…but if anyone tries this, I’d be interested in hearing whether or not it does in fact work.