Re: Sleep tips?
posted at 2/14/2012 1:39 PM EST
Let me start by saying that we did CIO with our twins when they were about 8 months old (they're 2 3/4 now). The main issue here is that CIO doesn't really work most of the time after about 14 or 15 months. By age 2, although you can't really rationalize with them, they have enough understanding of the world that simple explanations can help at least some of the time. More importantly, you can institute clear-cut rules for some kids and they will follow it "because it's a rule."
At our house, in the kids' room we have a Good Nite Lite (www.goodnitelite.com).
Every night, at 7 pm, it comes on. It looks like a blue moon. That means it's nighttime and as long as the moon is out, it is not time to be awake or get out of cribs. During the week, at 6:15 am, it turns yellow and looks like a sun. Once the sun is out, they are allowed to get up. Someone wakes up at 3 am wanting to get up? "Look, the moon is still out, that means it's still time to be sleeping. Remember?" 99% of the time, that is sufficient. It's more objective--it's not Mommy being mean, it's the light. In the rare circumstance it doesn't work, step 2 is to open a curtain or shade for the kid to look outside and SEE that it's still dark and all the lights in all the other houses are still out--everyone else is still sleeping, point out that sister/brother and Daddy are still asleep, pathetically say that Mommy is "SO TIRED and has to go back to bed." If that doesn't work (and it's RARE to get to this point), I firmly give the kid a choice: s/he can either go back in their crib and go to sleep until the sun comes out OR they can sleep in their peapod (http://www.kidco.com/main.taf?p=4,5)
in one of the other rooms with the door closed and no lights. No one has ever chosen the peapod.
To the OP: I would say to set some firm rules about sleep time. Get a Good Nite Light or similar to help enforce that it's time for sleeping. During the day, talk about it. Ask why she kept calling for you. Ask why she was awake. Ask if there's something that will help her sleep better, ask why she's waking up, ask if she had a bad dream. You'll be amazed at how much she may be able to tell you. And then talk about the nighttime routine with her--list the steps. Tell her what you want her to do if she wakes up in the middle of the night. Tell her if it's still dark, she needs to be quiet and try to go back to sleep. Again, you can't expect 100% compliance--because she's two--but you can set certain expectations. She can't follow the expectations if she doesn't know what they are. Quiz her before bed: "If you wake up and it's still dark out, what are you going to do?" Use the phrases "big girl" and "so proud" frequently. If you can get her to buy in to the rules, she'll be more-inclined to show you that she can follow them--esp. if it means she's a "big girl." You can even go so far as to tell her: if it's dark out and you yell to me, I might not hear you b/c I'm asleep. If I don't come see you, it means I'm still asleep and you should be too."
Of course, don't flood her with everything all at once, but brief discussions about it for a few days and little reminders before bedtime should help. I just think that at 2 years old, the CIO ship has sailed and it's just not the most productive way to go at this point.