Tuesday, February 26, 2008

To sleep, perchance to dream ...

Here's a quirk of my youngest's personality: throughout her short life, she has gone through phases where she takes at least an hour, often more, to fall asleep (we're talking after the nursing and bedtime stories). We are currently in such a phase. Since she is my third and I have a sense of perspective I didn't have previously, I can be generally hakuna matata about it, except on those nights when we have people over and I would really like to be out there, singing or playing Wise and Otherwise (a game for adults and the most enthused Ian). And, I can make lemonade by using the time to read -- big bonus. Sometimes I suspect my being in the room with her is actually preventing her from settling, but if I leave, she cries, and I'm not a fan of letting kids cry themselves to sleep.

Any thoughts from the gentle-parenting peanut gallery?


Jenny said...

We've had similar troubles with Henry, and here are a couple of things that have worked over the years:
1. White noise machine that plays nature sounds
2. Soothing music on a CD
3. Book-on-CD
4. Sleeping bag on sibling's floor

Another question: does this happen no matter what time you put her to bed? Maybe shifting her bedtime just a bit later would have her be a little more tired?

Here's another one I've heard about but never tried. Read in a chair, and move your chair one inch closer to the door every night. Before long, you'll be in the doorway, then out in the hall.

Good luck!

Jenny said...

Oh! One more...If she recognizes her numbers, give her a digital clock and a flashlight, and tell her your will check on her when the last number is "5" or whatever, then do it consistently. Start with every 2 or 3 minutes and then gradually make the intervals a bit longer after she's able to trust that you'll definitely be right there when you say you will. We've done this one with good success in the past.

MoreThanJustaMom said...

I like that last suggestion of Jenny's especially. Sometimes we tell our kids we'll be back to check on them, and they come out every two minutes or so asking when exactly that will be - or they feel cheated if they fall asleep before we came back. Books on tape or CD are also great for keeping ours "company." Of course, we try to push the sibling thing, and Drew and Ryan actually do share a bed, but what we often hear is, "Is there anybody I can sleep with? BESIDES a Ryan?" Most of the time we cave in and rest with them until they fall asleep, but as this gets tricky with four, who then all feel entitled to a turn - which means we would both be occupied all night just helping people get to sleep - we try to push sibling togetherness (in theory) as much as possible. Dr. Sears, along with the author of The Family Bed, both say this is supposed to work, after all! :-)