My daughter is 2 1/2 & has been getting out of bed at night for months. I have twins & they sleep in the same room. That is currently our only option. My husband & I are at wits end trying to keep her in her room. She'll scream for what seems like hours. We have pocket doors so locking them is out. We just have to stay up & take turns holding the door shut. Is there any advise you can give us?
From: Tina, Mundelein, IL
I need some help resolving some bedtime drama with our 3 year old daughter. Bedtimes have stretched out to 45 minutes with trips to the bathroom and any other excuse to pop out of bed. To make it worse, about half the time she really does have to go to the bathroom. My husband and I are both trying hard to be direct with her and not feed into this attention-getting scheme, and I sense that even my daughter is tired and ready to go to bed. However, this has been going on for about a month and I need it to stop soon! She will go to bed without a fuss for the babysitter so I know it is all about attention from Mom and Dad. Thanks for any tips.
From: Ann, Hopkinton, MAREAD MORE
I put my 12 month old in a toddler bed, it went well for a month and a half. Now all of the sudden, she will not stay in her bed, she wanders to mine, I take her back in and repeat in about an hour. I have tried so many things and am lost now. She only is saying a very small amount of words hardly anything and doesn't understand like a 2 or 3 year old would. I hate to put the crib back up. I need help??
From: Jenna, Small Ville
I am a regular reader of your column and think you give fantastic advice. I am concerned about my 4 1/2 year old's nightmares. She'll go a few weeks without having any but then have 3-4 in a week, sometimes back-to-back nights. She'll be hysterical but still sleeping and it can be hard to settle her down.
Could these be caused by anxiety? I feel as though her nightmares are my fault as I can lose my patience easily. I do not stay upset and while I am able to play, laugh, and tell my girls how much I love them, I am also embarrassed to write that I think I yell more than the average parent. I've been working on this and getting better but I am not always successful in the heat of the moment.
Could these nightmares be because she is scared of me? If so, is it possible to un-do the damage that has already been done?
From: Concerned, Central MAREAD MORE
I am a single mom to my daughter, age 10. It's just me and her and we are very close. On weekends, I let her sleep in my bed and we hang out and chat and sleep in late. We really enjoy this but I want to make sure it is not harmful for her development. By the way, I don't plan on having a male relationship until she is grown up because she is my top priority, and haven't dated anyone since I broke up with her dad four years ago. Thanks for your insights!
From: Barbsboy, Townsend (no state given)
I am a different Mom from Dracut with a sleeping question. Our son is 21 months old and we have been home for 4 months (we adopted) and he has always been a great sleeper at night. However he hates night time diaper changes but will wake himself and us up if he poops. In the past this has not be a huge issue, we change him quickly and assume he is just cold and then he goes back into his crib and he goes right back to sleep. He loves his crib and will ask for it if he is tired.
This past week, it has gotten worse and he is just a crazy little man. Last night was just awful, he was crying so much and shaking and just seemed very very scared. It took a lot of cuddles before we could get him to a point to change the diaper and then a lot of cuddles afterwards to calm him again.
Needless to say because he was so scared it scared us as parents and we don't want a repeat of the experience. There was one other wake up non-diaper related, but after a drink which he asked for he was good to go back to sleep for the rest of the night.
What do we do if this happens again? And yes there has been a change, we changed daycare facilities and Monday (today is Thursday) was his first day. All accounts from the teachers say he is doing fine he his happy not crying and taking his nap, and drop offs are good and he waves good bye and runs off to play. Pick ups are good too.
We changed daycare locations (same small local chain) because we will have a second child arriving in 8 weeks and we wanted one location for both children. And we wanted our older son to adjust to the new daycare before his brother arrives.
Do we just wait out the next week or two and give him cuddles and reassure him?
From: Toddler Mom, Dracut, MA
Dear Ms. Meltz-
HELP!!! I am desperate. I'm sure you get this sort of question all the time but I must ask it again. How do I get my baby to sleep through the night? I have read several books on the subject but either the advice seems too extreme or it doesn't work. I have an almost six month old and he won't sleep for more than two hours at a time. He was born a month early due to a kidney issue and he also experienced acid reflux which he just stopped taking medicine for. Due to the reflux, he couldn't lay flat so he slept in his car seat much of the time. I have tried for the last few weeks to get him on a routine but it still hasn't seemed to make a difference. I don't have much help at night from my husband which is a whole other issue, and I am wearing down fast. I also have a 3 year old who has never been a great sleeper either, and I work full-time. There must be something I am doing wrong or some strategy I am not aware of that will bring us all some much needed relief. Any advice you have would be very much appreciated.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
From: Desperately tired Mommy, Dracut, MAREAD MORE
We have a 3 1/2 year old. He has been sleeping on our floor at night for months and months. Normally it was fine and he went to sleep ok. Lately he has literally had meltdowns going to bed. He constantly asks me to talk to him and when I say it's time to go to sleep he gets into a full blown tantrum, crying, following me around, screaming. There is no consoling him. We let him cry for a bit but then try to cajole him back into "bed" and try to calm him. He ultimately goes to sleep but he doesn't often sleep well. I don't know what the onset of this is from as his routines are the same. We recently redid his room with a twin bed and he was potty trained but this happened before that took place. We are all exhausted and sad, not knowing how to help him. How should we respond when he goes into full blown tantrum mode and won't lay down and go to sleep? Thanks
From: Lily, Newton MA
My twins wake up every morning between 5:00 and 5:30 am. They take a 2.5-3 hr nap anytime between 10:30/11 am. They fall asleep by 7:30pm. Why are they getting up at 5? We're so tired and cannot figure out what we are doing wrong. They used to sleep until 6/6:30, but for the last few months, that's gone out the window! Do we need a different schedule or just some tweaking? Help!!!!
From: SCP1229, Totowa, NJ
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, MAREAD MORE
About the author
Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.