Take the 2-minute tour ×
Parenting Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for parents, grandparents, nannies and others with a parenting role. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have a 2.5 year old daughter. She sleeps great once she's asleep. We do the nightly routine and put her to bed. She gets into bed after story time and cuddles her stuffed animals and closes her eyes.

After my wife and I leave the room she will play in bed - sometimes it's kicking the wall, sometimes talking to her stuffed animals, sometimes singing, etc... She may do this for 5 minutes to an hour. Even when we're sure she's tired she will stay up and play.

My wife and I have taken to standing in her room and saying "Shhh" or "Lay still." when she's been going for a while without falling asleep. Usually after 15-30 minutes of this she will fall asleep.

We got the idea of standing in there from people who's kids kept getting out of bed - recommendations were to put them back in bed and sit there quietly without getting upset or emotional.

Are we doing the right thing by staying in there? I'm hesitant to try any kind of bribery like "Go to sleep and you get X in the morning" or "If you don't fall asleep you won't get Y tomorrow" since I'm not sure she'll remember the cause or reason for them the next day.

She doesn't show any signs of being afraid or reluctance to get in bed. She's never climbs out and we don't play in bed. We read stories on a rug near the bed and after hugs and kisses she climbs into bed. Any thoughts or suggestions?

share|improve this question
1  
I like both GdD and Valkyrie's answers. In contrast my son screams, yells, and cries for 5 minutes to an hour before falling asleep EVERY night, and for us that is normal. If we go into his room it just delays the crying and keeps him up later. –  Dave Nelson Feb 5 '13 at 15:15
    
Our 7yr old does this, even when she's really really tired. Worse when she's really tired in fact. We find we have two choices: 1. Try and deal with it and fail 2. Just leave her to it. –  John Hunt Feb 19 '13 at 15:06

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

It sounds like she's simply not tired, if she was tired she'd be out like a light. Or she might be too wound up by some sort of activity just before bed. It's also possible that she just likes talking and playing a bit before sleep.

Standing in the room is the least productive thing you can do, it's not going to make her go to sleep, in fact it probably would keep her awake more than anything else. Plus, it's an invasion of her space. If she's kicking the wall go in, tell her to stop, and get out. Better yet, do nothing, as she gets attention if she kicks the wall.

try:

  • having more wind down time between activities and bed-time
  • putting her to bed a bit later - she may not be tired when she goes to bed
  • a glass of warm milk, it's a natural mild sedative
share|improve this answer
    
If I waited to confirm this worked I'd probably forget to select this answer :) I think we're going to try doing the bath earlier in the evening since bathtime seems to get her fired up and then having some more wind-down activities between dinner & bed. The milk won't hurt either! –  Dave Feb 8 '13 at 13:24
    
@Dave, it's unusual that a bath gets a kid fired up, usually the opposite as it is supposed to relax them, but all kids are different. –  GdD Feb 8 '13 at 14:40

My son (22 months) does the same thing. He actually kicks us out of his bedroom when he's ready ("Night night! Night night, Mommy!") and then plays for up to an hour. He always falls asleep in his bed when he's ready to go to sleep, though, and sleeps the night through. Not tired in the morning, and gets a good nap at daycare.

IOW, I wouldn't worry about it. So long as her room is kid-safe so she can play in there and not hurt herself, and she can't roam the house at night after everyone goes to bed, let her play. It might be her own personal way of settling down for a good night's sleep.

Now, if you want her in bed because you don't want her roaming the house, maybe a baby gate at her doorway? For our son, we actually have a wireless IP camera in his room to watch him so we usually just lock his door (he's already shown a remarkable ability to scale baby gates) until he goes to sleep. After he's asleep, we unlock it and leave it closed; he assumes it's still locked and doesn't try to leave.

share|improve this answer

I'd say if your toddler is not upset or calling for you then let them get on with it and go enjoy your evening! El often plays for a while in her room (particularly at naptime) if she isn't tired enough to sleep. You could try making bedtime 30mins later and see if that helps but standing in the room interacting with a child who otherwise would happily stay alone and eventually drop off sounds like a bad idea to me. You may end up teaching her she needs you in the room to drop off and you'll end up with a new issue. Mine sings "twinkle twinkle little star" to herself at bedtime after I have gone!

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.