Friday, March 11, 2011

Help a Reader Out: Toddler Not Napping

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noblesvillemom said...

Hi Val, my DD has been having trouble with naps and bedtime for about a year. She gave up the second nap at about 13 mths (would just play in her crib for 2 hrs, but not nap), and then by about 16 or 17 mths she started taking a long time (1-2 or more hours) to fall asleep at naptime and at bedtime. Of course, I feel like I've tried a million things and at times, it's gotten better, only to get worse, and so on. Now, she will rarely fall asleep on her own at naptime and if she does, she usually takes 2-3 hrs to fall asleep at bedtime (meaning 9:30-10:30 asleep). For a while, she was taking about 3 or four naps a week (falling asleep on her own),, but about 2 weeks ago she went 6 days straight no nap. By the end of it she was waking in the middle of the night and up for 3 hours before falling back asleep. Waking in the MOTN has been yapping for months, but I don't know how often cuz I am not always awake. After that was happening, I was desperate, so the next day I rocked her to sleep at naptime and she was asleep in 10 min and slept for 2 hours. I have done that about 5 other times in the last week and those days she went to sleep, but the others, not. It's not that she isn't tired, but she'll lay quietly for about 5 min and then start singing, pretending, etc until there is no way she'll go to sleep. I've thought about the sleep rules but didn't know if she's old enough. Any ideas of how to help her self-settle (she's done it for her whole life, but seems to not work now)? Or any other suggestions?
Her schedule: if nap
7:30-8: wake
1-3: nap
7:30-8: bed
9:30-10:30: she actually falls asleep
Schedule:no nap
7:30-8: wake
1: lay for nap, but no sleep. Leave in bed til 3ish
6: in bed and asleep in 5 min

So, any advice would be great.
Thx. Laura

Plowmanators said...

Laura, I really don't know. If she is in bed happy but not going to sleep, I don't know what you could do.

Have you tried going in and telling her to go to sleep?

I can post this as a "help a reader out" question if you would like. Let me know.

noblesvillemom said...

16 comments:

Ellyn said...

Laura,
I haven't been having problems with my son's nap (he's 17 mo.) so I can't give you tried and true tips but my gut reaction was to ask if your daughter is getting enough fresh air and exercise. My son naps crazy long naps if we do a lot of physical activity, especially if we go hiking (he hikes a very long way). The other thing I wondered about is sugary foods for lunch. Could that be effecting sleep? Did your daughter used to sleep well as a baby? Do you do a nice long wind down time before nap? Books? Another thought, my sister in law's daughter stopped sleeping at night and so she moved her to a toddler bed and she started sleeping again instantly.

The Normans said...

How old is she? My son is 25 months, and for at least three months we've had sleep rules, that we go over before sleep, and during play times (when he's pretending his cars are sleeping). The rules are that when his clock is blue (we have a My Tot Clock - LOVE IT) he is to close his eyes, be quiet, and go to sleep. No talking. It took a couple weeks of enforcing those rules (and I would go in to his room and repeat the rules if he was talking). But for a couple months now we don't hear a peep out of him at nap time or during the night. Is he always sleeping? No. But I think now that he's not talking, his ability to sleep is MUCH better. I agree with PP, as well - get lots of AM exercise, and no rough play or running around after lunch. Quiet play, puzzles, coloring. And then a good 15 to 20 minute wind-down before nap time with books.

Good luck!

Amelia said...

My DD went through a phase similar to your naptime troubles at around 18 mos or so. At one point, I wondered if she had simply outgrown naps, but her crankiness proved otherwise. For us, it was just a phase. Soon enough, she grew out of it. I hate the "it's a phase" answer because it seems simplistic - often there are other contributing factors. But for us, if there were other factors, we never discovered them and she "got over it." :-) Sorry you're dealing with sleep troubles! That is the worst!

And btw, since good sleep begets good sleep, I bet once the naptime is "fixed" her night time sleep with fix itsel.f

Mrs. Haid said...

My kid is 19 months and has much less extreme issues with naps. Something that helped calm him - especially at night - was putting back in the crib soother fish aquarium from when he was a baby. Sure, he plays with it some, but he watches the fish too and falls asleep without parent interaction. I also put a water sip cup in his bed because he'd had a cough and would yell for a drink otherwise. I also let him have more than one binky in there as a method of self soothing.

Maybe if you try earlier naps and earlier bed time? Its much easier for us to get our son to nap longer closer to noon than closer to 1:30 for some reason. We also get much better go to bed routines if its closer to 7 than 7:30.

HTH.

Would love an update!

Stephanie said...

Have you tried tweaking her actualy naptime? I know my daughter has always had a "magic window of opportunity." If you missed that window, whether early or late, forget it, she would NOT sleep. But get her laid down in that 10 minute range and she'd be out in 5-10 minutes. And I've found that the older she gets I've had to readjust that time later and later. As a young toddler it was around 12:30, then moved to 12:45 and so on, until now as a 3.5 year old it's about 1:30 or 1:45.

My only other advice would be, don't give up! She's much too young to give up naps completely. Keep analyzing it, researching it, trying out different things until you get it solved. When my son was born, my daughter went for 6 straight WEEKS of no napping. I was at my wit's end! People kept telling me, "Oh, she's just ready to give them up." But I didn't agree. Finally, I ended up putting her in our bed at naptimes and laying down with her and "forcing" her to lay still, be quiet, close her eyes. And after about 20 minutes or so, she finally zonked out. After a week of doing this with her successfully, I tried letting her go back to her own bed, and voila! Her body had readjusted back to napping and she was good after that. It wasn't perfect, still isn't, she sometimes still doesn't nap 2-3x a week, but if she goes 2 days in a row without, on the 3rd day we nap together. That way she's for sure getting in a couple of good naps a week. I don't always have to do this with her, some weeks are better than others. Oh, and for us, physical activity and fresh air didn't make a bit of difference during that time of no napping. To each their own I guess. :)

Erica Huntington said...

I notice with my daughter that the more pressure I put on the situation the more she tends to ask for potty breaks, play and make noise, instead of sleep. I finally have started telling her that she doesn't have to sleep, but she must be quiet and rest. Then I let her have some special books, blanket and stuffed animals that are only for naptime.

Kelly Ford said...

I may get mommy glares through the computer for this, but i think if it were me, i'd continue rocking for a week or so just to get her back in the habit of actually taking a good solid nap in hopes that it would also help with the nighttime. Especially since you're only having to rock her a very few minutes. Then, after nap is re-established, i'd work on weaning her off of the rocking by sitting with her until she's drowsy (back to the rules we keep with newborns... lay down sleepy but not asleep) and work back from there. Hopefully, this can help her re-establish the napping pattern.
On the upside, be grateful that your LO has such a great imagination. It's taken months of HORRIBLE implementation of room time for my DD (23 months old) to get to where she'll have the least bit of imagination. So, apparently, there are pros/cons to both :-)

Mich said...

I found with my 16 month old, that the ideal nap time to a) fall asleep and b) stay asleep longer i.e. 2 to 3 hrs, was 11:30 or noon at the latest. I was originally trying at 1 pm but it wasn't working for us. I know it seems early, but we give lunch or large snack at 11 am then a snack when he wakes up at about 2 or 2:30. I don't let him sleep more than 3 hours. He's now 2.5 and still on this schedule. He wakes b/w 6:30 and 7:00 in the morning and bed at 8pm. I never rocked to sleep.

Casey said...

Hi
Don't give up... what has usually worked with my 2 daughters is adjusting the times a bit. I have a 3.5 year old and a 13 mo. old. if your little one is down to one nap I would try putting them down around noon or 12:30 and as time goes on you can move it later.

sometimes the naps may be off d/t teething.
it seems too that there may be a window of opportunity that we sometimes miss as said above.

try putting your little one down earlier this may do the trick. :)
best of luck.

noblesvillemom said...

Thanks you so much for all the good ideas and the encouragement. It is so great to hear what other people have gone through and that their lids made it through :). To answer a few questions, my DD is 29 months old. I definitely try to get her exercise in the AM and usually the PM too. I am also kinda a health nut, so she is eating healthily (with exceptions now and then, of course!) She had no problems STTN as a baby, but was never a really long napper (always shorter on time than the ideal BW baby)
As for an update, I have continued either rocking her to sleep (only at nap time, not at night) or laying her down sleepy and staying in her room and reminding her of the sleep rules. Both have worked, the latter just takes longer and I also have an 11 month old who usually in not napping at that time, so I can only leave him in his crib for IP for so long. I do want to wean away from this soon, but really wanted the naps to be solid first. I think the big thing is finding her ideal waketime "window". Does anyone have suggestions for how long (thanks for the responses so far)? In the last 2 weeks, I wake her at 7:15 (before time change) and, when rocked, she is asleep at 12:40. She takes a 2-2.5 HR nap and then bedtime is between 7:30-8. Then, even with enforcing sleep rules, she falls asleep at 9:30. I've tried later bedtime and she goes to sleep later, I've tried earlier and still 9:30. I know everything is related so I'm just trying to figure this all out together. Thanks again for the suggestions and encouragement!
Laura

Jessica said...

I will echo Kelly Ford's advice to continue rocking. Would Ezzo recommend it? That is questionable, but I am not Gary Ezzo. ;)

When you rock, and your daughter naps, does she still have an issue falling asleep at night? If she doesn't, then I would continue rocking. I rocked my daughter until she wouldn't let me anymore. There are times now, she is almost 3, that she will ask me to rock her "like a baby."

How old is your daughter?

If she has a hard time falling asleep at night whenever she takes a nap, then I would be tempted to either tweak naptime or bedtime. It could be that your daughter is not a 12 hour sleeper when she naps...my daughter is not and has never been. Now, if she does not nap, then she will sleep for 12 hours at night. If your daughter will nap, you need to reduce the nap (1.5 hours or less) and possibly move bedtime back a tad since she is having trouble falling asleep.

Jessica said...

After reading Laura's last post, I would reduce the nap to 1.5 hours.

Our daughter did this not too long ago, she would take a regular nap and then cry for an hour before she fell asleep for the night...after she did that a few times I knew what needed to be done...the nap needed to be reduced. Once we fixed that everything fell back into place.

Adding exercise is a great idea too. Exercise and reduce the nap...that is what I would do.

Great Googely Moogely said...

this is something that no one has brought up but was relevant to me and my situation. My 2.5yr old has been doing the exact thing your daughter is doing: taking several hours to fall asleep. We tried tweaking the hours he napped and slept. We tried corrections. We took everything off his bed. We tried it with his door open and closed. We sat next to him. We sat in the room with him. We sat outside the door and corrected him every time he sat up in the bed or got out of the bed. We made him run around before bed, we tried doing low stim activities before bed. NOTHING was working and I was about to lose my mind. Anne Marie Ezzo and the other GFI board came to my church and I talked with them about this situation. One lady asked if we were doing "couch time". I told her not consistently. She asked if any major changes had happend recently? (move to another city, divorce/separation, a death in the family or a new baby??) and we had just had our second son AND my husband was working from home full time. Big changes for a two year old even though the rest of us had transitioned peacefully. She told me to do "couch time" twice a day for two weeks and then once a day after the two week trial. The reason being that children pick up on big changes in our lives. If they don't feel secure (especially a 1st born) they can lay awake either worrying or thinking that they "won't miss out on anything" if they don't fall asleep. My 2 yr old is very perceptive and I think he was anxious about all the new changes and just couldn't turn his brain off. We make a big deal about mommy and daddy doing couch time while they have blanket time. He sees us being affectionate and loving with one other and he feels secure that his world is not going to turn upside down. This might not be the case for you or for most kids having sleep problems, but it has helped us a lot.

Another thing my friend did with her son is have him come to her through out the day and lay next to her with his eyes closed and hands folded. She did this a few times a day only for 5-10 minutes a piece. Her thought was that no matter where they are, she can tell hin to lay down and be still and he should do that. Now he is compliant any time she tells him to lay down no matter if they are in public, at a friends house or their own house. We are working on this as well. I can't force my son to actually fall asleep BUT I can train him to be still and self controlled....which will probably help lead to sleep. :)

Amber said...

I realize that this has been quite a long time ago, but I am going through a similar situation with my 20 month old son. He recently had his first ear infection that lasted 3 weeks and took trying 3 different antibiotics to cure. By the end of it he had stopped napping completely. I took him back to the Dr and they confirmed that he was healthy, they also check to make sure is 2 yr molars were not coming it. The Dr's assesment was that the change was behavioral and would take retraing to get him back on schedule. Prior to this he has been taking a 2 hr nap from 1-3 and sleeping from 7p-7a. Now he flips out when you put him down for a nap. I tried letting him cry it out for 5 days, but he just screamed for a solid hr or more. I was gone for the weekend after, but he did the same for my husband (I thought me being gone would make a difference). I have tried rocking him to sleep for the past 2 days (which I have NEVER done before). He did sleep for about 45 mins each time, but still woke up crying. I could tell he was trying to get comfortable, plus he was just sweaty from being up against me, and he ended up waking himself completely up. Today I tried rocking him to sleep then putting him down in the crib, but he woke up instantly and has now been crying in the crib for 37 mins.
In addition, his night sleep is of course being affected. He is waking us as much as and hour and a half early, screaming crying. One of us has been going in to his room, giving him some new toys to play with and telling him that we love him, but he has to stay in his crib until 7. He continues to scream and cry until we go get him.
I am out of ideas, weary and desperate.

Amber said...

I realize that this has been quite a long time ago, but I am going through a similar situation with my 20 month old son. He recently had his first ear infection that lasted 3 weeks and took trying 3 different antibiotics to cure. By the end of it he had stopped napping completely. I took him back to the Dr and they confirmed that he was healthy, they also check to make sure is 2 yr molars were not coming it. The Dr's assesment was that the change was behavioral and would take retraing to get him back on schedule. Prior to this he has been taking a 2 hr nap from 1-3 and sleeping from 7p-7a. Now he flips out when you put him down for a nap. I tried letting him cry it out for 5 days, but he just screamed for a solid hr or more. I was gone for the weekend after, but he did the same for my husband (I thought me being gone would make a difference). I have tried rocking him to sleep for the past 2 days (which I have NEVER done before). He did sleep for about 45 mins each time, but still woke up crying. I could tell he was trying to get comfortable, plus he was just sweaty from being up against me, and he ended up waking himself completely up. Today I tried rocking him to sleep then putting him down in the crib, but he woke up instantly and has now been crying in the crib for 37 mins.
In addition, his night sleep is of course being affected. He is waking us as much as and hour and a half early, screaming crying. One of us has been going in to his room, giving him some new toys to play with and telling him that we love him, but he has to stay in his crib until 7. He continues to scream and cry until we go get him.
I am out of ideas, weary and desperate.

Plowmanators said...

Amber I haven't been in your situation and I think people with real experience on issues have the best advice. You might want to try the google group and see if someone there has experience to draw from.

One thing you might try is to do the thing where you sit in the room by the crib but ignore the baby. Then you slowly move further toward the door over days. I think that might be a super nanny thing?

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