9:25pm and he is asleep…
So tonight is the first night I’m alone with Matt. Christine is at work until 1am and I can’t continue the way we have been with Matt and his current sleep habits. I want him to sleep through the night because he has horrible sleep habits and I’m not satisfied with the way he is getting his sleep. All the paperwork I’ve read says a child of Matt’s age should be sleeping 10-12 hours with a 1-2 hour nap every day and should be going to bed between 7-8pm. We are lucky if he goes to sleep by 10pm some nights and even more lucky if he falls asleep in a chair or on the living room floor because he struggles and fights. I hate myself every night I see him do that. I whats worse, I hate myself more and more the longer it goes on.
The “quest” I have set out before me is a difficult one mind you. The reasons I will now explain.
Matt spends his time equally between us and his fathers (and grand parents) They do not have the same rules we do, nor share the same opinions we have, but we do share one thing, which is our love of Matt. However, they allow Matt to sleep in their room, in a toddler bed. They have a large home, with a guest bedroom which could easily be converted to Matts room. I believe children of Matt’s age should have their own rooms as they are growing and sleeping in your parents room is not healthy for a child in the long term.
Now Matt sleeps in this bed, next to theirs, but at 5am or when ever he likes he gets up and can go into their bed when he wants. From what Gary tells me, this is sometimes not the best solution as he is often forced to sleep on a tiny part of the bed, often being kicked or awakend by Matt through out the night. I sometimes share this exact experience in our own bed. From what I’ve read though this isn’t the healthiest thing for Matt or an adult.
Sleep is a major part of our lives and if we don’t get enough of it, or if our sleep is disrupted or deprived our development both socially and biologically can be slowed. Not getting enough hours of sleep, in this case 10-12 hours at night could lead to Matt now adjusting socially with other kids, or developing emotional or major sleep disorders later in his life.
When Matt spends his time here, putting him down for naps and sleep has become a major undertaking. His sleep cycle is no longer a routine and he wakes much to early in the morning. At night he can wake up 4-7 times, sometimes every hour to two hours. This has lead to as a result, when we are at wits end to have him come to bed with us. This isn’t a reasonable solution as it leaves us drained, tired and unfocued the next day. The results are Christine gets tired early, I get grumpy or even so wiped out that my work suffers.
To boot, with a baby girl coming in just 4 months, we don’t have the luxury of waiting any longer with Matt. His sleep has to improve or it will simply be to much. It will be near impossible to manage both a newborns sleep habits and a sleep deprived toddlers at the same time. This will leave both myself and Christine tired and stressed.
At the moment I’m trying a mixture of the Mindell way with some Ferber method in it. I’m coming into the room to check on him and lengthing the times between. He’s cried some (ok a lot) and he is fighting sleep, but I think I may be starting to win
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. I started at 8:30pm and it’s now 9:20pm and though I made some comprimises (based on the system I’m allowing him to sleep on the floor near the door) He has finally gone to sleep. Gradually, this will lead back to the bed, which will lead to a full nights sleep. Tomorrow I may up the routine by 15 minutes and start this at 8:00pm -8:15pm. I’m more interested in him getting a full nights sleep at this point and waking up alert and healthy. This means if I want him to go to bed by 8:45pm I’ll have to start earlier. However, as he goes to sleep easier, I can push this time back to 8:30pm.
My next “quest” after that will be with Christines blessing and permission to work out a plan that both parties (Pete and us) can agree on. A child of Matt’s age shouldn’t be up so late because of the adults either being selfish or ignorant to the distress going to bed exetremely late can do to a child and because we both allow it we border on being bad and horrible people for it.
Some of the things I’ve noticed.
*Matt is extremely manupluative. He will continue to try and talk his way into new comprimises.
*Matt has the wail of a banshe (nuff said!)
*Matt will try to get his way, when he can’t he’ll result to crying until you give in. Being secure in knowing he isn’t going to hurt himself with tears can give you the strength to get through it.
*Matt needs a routine, and he needs the help of adults to guide him and set boundries for him. With out that help, Matt will not be a happy boy.
*We all love Matt and what the best for him.