I have a VERY active 2 year old daughter who won't sleep
at night. She naps for 1-2 hours during the day with little or no trouble, but at night its been impossible to get her to sleep. She shares a room with her 5 year old sister (we have a small house). We've moved her from her crib to a toddler bed, that hasn't worked, we've tried to get her to go to sleep at the same time as her sister and at a diff. time-neither works. Tried the nightlight and even a TV-no luck. She gets so worked up she vomits (sometimes on purpose) We've tried to skip nap for almost 2 weeks and it hasn't helped. I have 2 other children who are having their sleep affected by her. Once she does fall asleep she still wakes up at least twice a night,always between 3-4 am. I'm out of ideas and need help. It takes 2 hours to get her to sleep every night. The only thing that works is driving her in the car. That's not an option during the school year with 2 other children that have to go to bed at a decent time. I've had family mrmbers tell me she's "hyper". I hate hearing it, but there is definitley something going on. Any help would be appreciated. We need sleep!!!!!!
Almost all situations like the one you are facing can be managed by (a) having the child sleep in the crib, not in a bed, and (b) biting the bullet and leaving the child in the crib at bedtime, regardless of the child's response. In relatively rare instances children display neurological or other physical/medical conditions that interfere with sleep. I assume you've discussed this with your daughter's pediatrician; if not, do so. It wouldn't hurt to ask for a referral to a pediatric sleep disorder clinic (available at specialty pediatric hospitals). When you mention that "it takes 2 hours to get her to sleep", what do you mean? What actually occurs?
You certainly can't continue the practice of driving with her. For now, sticking with your limits and not deferring to her is the right thing to do, though it's very trying. Be sure to consult with her pediatrician. Also, for now, use time out in a chair for episodes of leaving her bed - i.e., place this in the realm of not following your directions. This may help contain some of that behavior (as opposed to the whining, crying,etc.). It sounds like you are familiar with Richard Ferber's Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems - if not, take a look at it.
Thanks for the quick response. The only reason we put her in the bed was because she was climbing out, or should I say falling out, of her crib. The 2 hours before bedtime can consist of any combination of crying, screaming, vomitting, getting out of bed to ask for water, she wants to know where her sister is, if I need my shoes...anything she can think of to get up and come out. Last night alone she got out 4 times in a matter of 45 minutes, I put her in the car and she fell asleep in 5 minutes. This is the 1st time I took her for a ride with the sole intention of getting her to sleep. I really can't get into that habit.
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