My daughter is 2.5 years old and does not sleep through the night. Never really has. We’ve had a couple of brief stints of making it all the way until 6 or 7am, but not many . . . and not recently.
Now before you decide that her poor sleeping habits are directly attributed to her parents, I would like for you to pause and hear me out. Some kids do not sleep well. Period. While we do not subscribe to the “Cry It Out Method”, it does not mean that in desperation we have not tried it. Frankly, if you don’t have a kid who doesn’t sleep well, you really just don’t understand. We can use the same method every night, and some nights things will go amazingly well, and other nights we’ll be up every two hours with an inconsolable child. Parents who are struggling with kids who don’t sleep well need your support and encouragement – not another lecture about what they are doing wrong. If I sound like I’m on a soap box (I am!), it’s because I’ve had some of this stuff pent up inside for the past 2.5 years. I stopped talking with friends about our struggle because all I ever received was well-meaning instructions on what I was doing wrong as a parent. I felt judged, guilt, defeated, and utterly alone. Fortunately, my husband and I were on the same page and have worked through it together. During one stay, not too long ago, I appreciated my mom (who has always been very supportive – thanks, mom!) validating our decisions by saying, “You know, I hear her when she wakes up in the middle of the night, and it’s just different.” (And she does believe in crying it out.) Anyway, perhaps another time I’ll write a post about our journey and what we’ve learned so that hopefully another parent who’s up in the middle of the night researching sleep problems in toddlers will be encouraged.
On to the milestone.
Our daughter has always had great difficulty in going to sleep on her own. During the past couple weeks, we’ve been trying (again) to use the “Okay, I’ll come back and check on you in 5 minutes” technique (and you lengthen the amount of time each time you come back.) And IT’S WORKING! We can now get her all ready and tucked into bed, read some books, turn out the light, say a prayer, and then tell her we’ll come back in a few minutes. I think every night this week we have not had to go back in a second time. Hooray! Hopefully this will stick from now on. Then we just have to work on making it all the way through the night.
So, parents-of-kids-who-fight-sleep, take heart! Eventually they do learn!