Updated: Oct 11, 2020
Jessica came to me – I really hope you can help me! It is about my 2 boys, 3.5 and 1 (16m). My eldest Frankie was sleeping 7-7 until he turned 2 and he could climb out of his cot, we had no choice at this point but to take the sides off the cot and brave the cot bed so that he didn’t fall.
Since then this has completely unraveled his sleep – with every cry and scream and request resulting in him leaving his room and more often than not eventually ending in our bed between 4 am-6 am (half of the time I didn’t even know he was there!) Napping can help him settle sometimes at bedtime but I have no idea when he should or shouldn’t be napping without completely messing with his routine and him ending up awake until midnight only to start his day at 4 am. We are completely exhausted with Frankie wandering and also the panic that he is waking out youngest – plus the upset from Bobby (16m).
My youngest Bobby never has two nights the same, it is so hard to have any routine with him. Recently he has been waking around 3 am and screaming the house down until he gets his milk – he won’t let me pick him up at this point either (it just seems to be milk that settles him). He naps absolutely fine in the day yet always needs rocking to go down at bedtime. I am unable to let him have any alone time in an attempt to settle down as it then wakes Frankie who is such a light sleeper at the moment.
I am so low and isolate with this – it is an awful predicament between them both I really don’t know how to get myself out of it!
Please, Please help – from an exhausted single mother!
Frankie and Bobby needed some structure to their day to ensure they were getting enough daytime sleep, to lead to good restorative sleep overnight.
Bobby had been on 2 naps a day at 9:00-10:30 and 1:15-2:00, so when he started to then transition down to one nap, it became really tricky to get this happening much later in the day than 10:30 am without him getting too overtired. The problem was that this nap was now happening too early in the day, meaning that come bedtime at 7 pm Bobby was extremely overtired, having been awake from 12:30/1 pm.
Frankie was having random naps or no nap at all, I advise that you keep 1 nap a day going until they are at least 3.
Over tiredness in a toddler looks like hyperactivity. That's because over tiredness is the build-up of cortisol, a hormone similar to adrenaline that triggers the "fight or flight" response in our bodies and it will seem like your toddler has had a shot of coffee right before bedtime.
This is why overtired babies and toddlers struggle to settle to sleep - their body is literally fighting sleep with everything they have! This is what was causing Bobby & Frankie’s behavior at bedtime - they simply were unable to go to sleep because of the over tiredness, so they ‘play up’ in true toddler style. This over tiredness was also responsible for them waking in the middle of the night and part of the cause of his early morning wake too.
Once Jessica implemented my Sleep Course, by putting the boys on the same nap schedule, she could make sure her boy's awake windows were perfect for their age and make some easy changes in their sleep environment to help their settling and sleep. Her boys were able to start settling with minimal to no help from her, which means that everyone in this family is now well rested and happy! A little bit of routine can make a big difference!