The "going to bed" game — The Bump
Toddlers: 24 Months+

The "going to bed" game

We're trying to get 2 1/2 year old DD to fall asleep on her own without us in her room.  
         1.  Lately it has been taking her a really long time to fall asleep and she tried to play with me while I'm in there with her.
               2.  I am due in Dec. with baby #2 and once the new baby is here, I really can't be sitting in her room with her for an hour or more waiting for her to go to                 sleep.

Anyway, we started over the weekend just leaving the room for short periods of time and then coming back in to check on her.  We kept our bedtime routine the same of pjs, cuddling with milk in her sippy cup, using the potty and brushing her teeth, saying goodnight to the dog and daddy, books, songs, then lights out.  We only left the room for a minute at first and then we did 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 4 minutes, etc.  She did pretty well with it.  She would say to us "I want you to stay here" but she did stay in her bed and it didn't take her long to fall asleep.  I think she'd be asleep in 20 minutes total.  

Last night was a whole different story.  She can open the door herself and kept coming out of her room immediately after I left.  I just calmly, without saying a word, led her back to her bed.  She must have done it like 50 times.  After that she started making a game out of it.  She would hold the door open for me as I was bringing her back to bed and say "This is a bus.  Come on in."  That game lasted like 15 minutes.  Then she made a new game and would say "This is my classroom.  Come on in.  I'm the teacher."  Thinking back it really was quite funny.  I don't know where she comes up with this stuff.  Anyway, I never once acknowledged her through all this and would just silently lead her back to her bed.  Every once in awhile I would tell her "It's bedtime."  After an hour, she finally stayed in her bed and when I went back to check on her 2 minutes later, she was asleep.  She hadn't napped and was practically falling asleep during dinner so I know that she was tired.

I told DH we need to put a gate in her doorway so she can't get out.  He doesn't want to do that.  He thinks it will make her scared of being in her room and that it will make this entire process more difficult.  He thinks that she may do this game for a few more nights and then tire of it.  I don't know.  I usually put her to bed but the times he puts her to bed, she does not behave like this for him.
[IMG]http://i54.tinypic.com/152ox13.jpg[/IMG]

Re: The "going to bed" game

  • I would do a gate.  I think a gate is a great option because she can still see you.  And if need be you could easily get to her.  I agree that she will probably tire of the game in a few nights but I think the gate would help to establish that this is not a game. 
  • I'd see how tomorrow goes and then discuss the gate option again with DH (if he's not on board, I don't know if I'd push it). Since she didn't get her nap, it sounds like she was overtired, and that's a recipe for disastrous bedtimes any day.

    Good luck!
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  • I'd give it a few more days. It sounds like she was over-tired and that can make bedtime really challenging.

    Gates never worked for us. The gate upset DD1 a lot. She did much better with just closing her bedroom door and walking out. Also, I never particularly liked the gate because my girls potty trained young and I wanted them to be able to get up and go to the bathroom if they needed to go.

    The one thing that has worked well to get both of my girls to stay in bed is a sticker chart. They get stickers for staying in their rooms at bedtime. When they get a certain number of stickers they get a small reward. We started doing the sticker chart with DD1 when she was almost 3 and have used one periodically for 2 years. We started with DD2 this summer when she was 2.5. I wasn't sure it would work with her, but she has actually done amazingly well.


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  • Do a gate or safety door lock. Not all agree with the lock so do what you feel is best. But your lo is 2.5 and regardless will do anything to stall bedtime. Trust me the game wont get old to them. It will only get old to you. Your lo doesn't need to fall asleep with you there. My son is 2.5 and he goes to bed awake every night. He knows he has to stay in his room no matter what when bed time comes around. I don't care if he plays quietly with his car in his bed, looks at books or sings. The point is it's bed time and he needs to be in bed. Some nights he passes out right at 7:30 and other nights it could be 8+. But he doesn't cry he knows it's bedtime. Hopefully it will be an easy transition if you go the gate route when you decide to try it. 

    Married: 5/09 ~ TTC Since: 10/10 ~ PCOS ~ Progesterone from 10/10 - 2/11 ~ HSG on 3/18 - Clear ~ Started Metformin 1000mg & Clomid 50mg 2/11 ~ Metformin upped to 1500mg 4/6 ~ 6/7 Now going to SG and put on Clomid, Ovidrel, Gonal F, Prometrium, Estrace ~ IUI #1 7/2 = BFP!!!!!! March 6th our little man was born. 

    6/17/13 - Ovidrel, Follistim, Prometrium ~ IUI #1 7/2 = BFP! March 17th our St. Pattys day baby arrived

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  • eyenigheyenigh
    250 Answers 500 Love Its 1000 Comments Third Anniversary
    member
    edited August 2014
    We put knob covers on the doors. He climbed the gate.
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  • If she doesn't do this to your H, why doesn't he put her to bed? Avoid the power struggle altogether by taking mommy out of it!
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