My 2 1/2 year old daughter has always been a great sleeper and was compliant and happy with her routine. Slowly her bedtime has moved from 8 to 9pm (I am not happy about this, but I can deal with it)....and NOW she wants to stay in my bed after 'cacooning time' and remain there. Generally the routine has been - bath, milk, a few PBS cartoon/shows....then read 1-2 books in my bed and cacoon for a few minutes...then into the crib....nightlight and music on. However, now she wants to stay cacooning and only there in my bed will she fall asleep. I cannot continue to do this as it usually means I have to go to bed when she cacoons/falls asleep. As a working mother I need this evening time to 'finish up' work and household chores. Help!
Have I ruined things by 1) letting bedtime go to later and later? AND 2) allowing the fall asleep in my bed/continue cacooning?
I'd be sure she's getting enough physical activity in the day so she's tired (more than she used to -- 2 1/2 year olds are pretty strong). The television so close to bedtime might be keeping her awake by giving her a lot of vivid images to think about as she tries to sleep. You might cut out one of the shows and read one more book on the sofa (not in bed) prior to the snuggling up time. You might not even get into your bed, but read on the sofa snuggled in a blanket. Then straight to her crib, where she snuggles with a blanket and stuffed animal while you read her one more book while she's in the crib and you're in a chair. I wouldn't leave music on. Basically, your goal is to get her to break from the habit of making you her comfort object to settle down with, and to transfer that to a stuffed animal or blanket. You also want her to be sleepy not alert, and a little bored, and keeping music on will not do much for either of those goals. It's better for a child not to fall asleep touching mommy after a certain age, because they need to understand that they are fully capable of self-comfort and don't *need* mommy for every little reassurance required in life.
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