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Sleep training, preschooler version

This preschooler is
too busy for sleep!
First off, wow. I'm now referring to Gracelyn, not as a toddler, but as a preschooler. YIKES!

Secondly, I feel like all I'm doing lately is wallowing in a pit of sleep troubles. Jemma is on the right track, at least for bedtime and nights. Gracelyn, on the other hand, is turning into a sleep-less monster.

We took Gracelyn's paci away a few weeks before her surgery this past fall. Yes, I know, that was a bit too late! We had our reasons. But now, part of me is tempted to give it back (well, maybe not). But when she had it, we NEVER had trouble with her going to sleep. We read books, gave her a paci, her blanket and kitty, and she was out. Maybe it had something to do with low hemoglobin levels, but whatever, it wasn't a battle every bedtime!

Now I'm not sure what to do. Ideas I've found online all involve bribing of sorts...rewards for going to bed. I don't think I like that idea, but I don't know what else to do. Another mom told me she took all her daughter's toys away, and then threatened to take away her bed. I'd hate to have to follow-through with that!

Last night, Gracelyn was in bed by 8:30. At 11, she was still awake. And I wanted to be asleep! Naps are another struggle. I'm tired of it.

What has worked for your preschoolers who fight a drawn-out bedtime battle?


  1. You know what we do, which I wouldn't recommend, but if it has to be done, then so be it. :) I won't post it here.
    Gustav has no toys in his room... just his bed. I would try that first, I guess. He also has a tiny keychain flashlight that he takes to bed with him, which usually keeps him in bed because he can point it all around the room from under the covers. It's the kind that he has to push the button at all times in order for the light to stay on, so there's no chance of the light being on all night.

  2. We took all the toys and books out of Selah's room. That makes me really sad and frustrated, because basically it is a room with beds and the stuff is all over the rest of our house. It helps though! She has learned to stay in her room and be quiet. She may not go to sleep right away, but she is at least resting. She has also chosen to sleep on the floor directly under her nightlight.

  3. Sydney has been a good sleeper so we really haven't had many issues, there have been phases, but usually short lived. I don't know if this is the issue you have, but she would go to bed at her normal time and then call us in there like every 5 minutes until like 11 (at least it felt that bad). Usually she would need to go potty, which I didn't want to refuse because she was still learning how to stay dry at night, or said she was scared, or needed something else. Sometimes I would be like I can't imagine what she'll need next, but she came up with something! My dad suggested giving her a chore or something unfavorable to do like picking up her room if she wanted to get out of bed.

    Another friend of mine had success giving her daughter a little fake flower in a pot, and she would be able to call her parents once for something after she went to bed. If she called them, then she would have to give up her flower for that night and that seemed to work for them.

    The best thing for us has been having a routine. I know all the baby books say that but we weren't always good with it, and I think bedtime came as a surprise for her some nights even though it was always at the same time. So now like half an hour before bed we'll start getting ready, read books, whatever, and that's made a difference for her.

    Before I end this book, I remember one mom I talked with when Sydney was little telling me her three kids slept through the night at 18 months, 24 months, and 30 months, respectively. So I know it seems like a death sentence now, hopefully looking back, it will seem like such a short phase in life.

    PS. Good job with Jemma, I still have an almost 13 month old who wakes up at least twice a night. *sigh*

  4. i think i was like gracelyn as a kid (good news: i turned out ok). my parents had a TERRIBLE time getting me to stay in bed at night. so, my grandpa started making cassette tapes for me to listen to at bedtime -- telling me stories, singing me songs, etc. (yeah... i just dated myself). since i mainly wanted to be up and out of my room to socialize, the tapes did the trick for me. they were interesting, soothing, and got me to keep my little butt in bed. i often made it to "side 2" of the tape, but rarely had to start it over because he'd have talked me to sleep.

    i don't know what the modern-day equivalent of that could be for ms. gracelyn, but maybe she just needs something interesting like that to make her want to stay in there, and to make her feel like she's not alone at night. :)

    (PS -- when i have kids, you are more then welcome to throw any and all advice i ever offer right back in my face. 'cause right now, i actually have no idea what i'm talking about.) :)

  5. I think it is just another phase that they go through at this age. Landen is in the same place. There is no way I am stripping his room bare. He needs to learn to deal with that temptation. We have consequences for getting out of bed and playing with toys. It is improving greatly...has lasted about two months. Nate went through the same phase and grew out of it. Also, I have noticed that shortened naps help...sometimes I skip nap time all together and bedtime is much smoother!
    I think that you are at two difficult stages with both girls, but this will pass. Hang in there!

  6. Sophia takes a flashlight to bed and has a night light. We leave the living room light on and that makes her room a little brighter. After our bedtime routine, she picks a few books to take to bed with her and she looks at them until she's tired. Some nights she's still in there "reading" when I'm getting ready for bed, other nights she's out without touching her books. She does the same at nap time. If she gets out of bed, she doesn't get her books. It's not perfect, but for now, it works for her.


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