At bedtime, our 2 yro tries uses delay tactices to postpone going to sleep (requesting, water, juice, socks, book, song, etc). When we've hit our limit of 3 books and she's finished her milk, we put her in but she gets so upset with crying that she makes herself vomit! This is even more distressing because she does not eat well and has been having trouble putting on weight. So to see her lose her whole dinner and evening milk is very worrisome. We are resolving to not give her extra attention because of the vomiting, to just clean it up and put her back to bed, but how long do you think we should stick to this tactic if doesn't immediately work?
From: ElmoDuck, Newton, MA
Stick with it. I'm sure this was a wrenching decision, but it's a good one. Some kids, your daughter being one of them, can get so emotionally worked up that they vomit. Many of their parents, understandably, get so upset that they capitulate and back off from the expectation they were setting. Unfortunately, they then become enablers. Their child learns that if she gets upset enough, her parents back down. This week, it's about bedtime, next week, it could be about not wanting to wear shoes.
I think your real question is whether there's a limit to how many nights of vomiting she can tolerate. "Probably not," says Dr. Dennis Rosen, associate medical director of the Pediatric Sleep Center at Boston Children's Hospital. He also writes a blog about pediatric sleep issues for Psychology Today.
He recommends doing exactly what you are doing: matter-of-factly clean her up, change her pj's and stay with your bedtime routine. "If you continue with the same consistent message, she'll learn within two to four nights that crying and vomiting is getting her nothing." That's well within a tolerable range, for her and for you.
The author is solely responsible for the content.