Friday, June 8, 2012

getting my preschooler to sleep

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momma made a mess of things....

a few months ago, we started having sleep problems with Bear.  you can read a bit more about it in my sleep problems post.  a brief rundown is that every night getting him to sleep was a battle lasting over an hour.  those battles entailed Bear screaming and crying, and me frustrated and crying.  then there were the wake-ups in the middle of the night with Bear screaming and crying again.

i was at my wit's end. 

something i should mention is that we have a family bed.  we've had one since Bear was 6 months old.  this was at the encouragement of my lactation consultant.  night-nursing was the only thing that saved my sanity.  of course, there has always been the pressure to move him to his own bed. especially since his last birthday.  with these latest struggles and night wakings, it seems that pressure has increased.  feeling like i had no other options, i gave in and decided to follow other's suggestions. 

i tried being stern and consistent... sort of a ferber-ized method of telling him to go back to sleep, tucking him in, and leaving the room.  and i will admit that there were nights when the frustration took over and a raised my voice and several times actually yelled at him   the few nights we did that, he cried hysterically and was clingy and crabby during the day.  again... more frustration and shortness with him during the day from this tired momma.  with our strong attachment and the fact that i'm with him virtually 24 hours a day, this created so much stress in him.  then the night terrors began.  i've never actually seen one, but it was very disconcerting to know that my actions had most likely caused them.

so i went back to following my momma-gut and did what came natural.  i vowed to stay calm and speak lovingly no matter how frustrated i got.  each night, in conjunction with our normal nightly prayers, i began praying over him.  when he wakes up, i talk quietly and reassure him that "momma is here" and that he is safe.  we also cut out naps... he goes just fine most days without the sleep.

and you know what?

it's working.

he's sleeping better.  i'm sleeping better.  and most importantly, my lovey, sweet-acting boy is back.  there is less cranky talk and disobedience during the day.  i feel like this whole ordeal was meant to bring us closer.

i'm back on track to being the momma that i want to be...
the momma that he needs me to be.

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Amanda said...

It's wonderful that you guys were able to over come this, sleep issues with a child are terrible for all family members.
This could so easily be our story, except the family bed, and I know how easy it is once the tiredness creeps in to become frustrated but you have dealt with it awesomely!

Well done Andie, and bear too!

Happy Whimsical Hearts said...

Well done Andie! Sleep can be such a challenge, glad to hear you trusted your instincts and have found the other side on this one!

Mama Of Many Blessings said...

That is wonderful news, I am so glad that your sleeping issues are no more! We struggled with sleeping issues for many years with some of our kiddos, and I must agree getting angry and stern just makes the kids more upset and doesn't work well in my opinion being calm and loving seems to be the best way to do it! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


Unknown said...

That is sooo good to hear!!! It is very rare to have an entire night where my 2 yr old doesnt wake up. I usually go lay next to her in her bed and then head back once she is asleep. I agree getting mad seems to make things worse, plus I just hate to do that:)

All-American Vegetarian said...

Sleep is such a huge deal - for everyone!
I can relate to your words about frustation and getting so upset you start yelling. I do it. I hate it. Sometimes I simply can't help it, but I always feel like crap after. Then I resolve never again.... kids require a TON of patience and calmness. But, parents are also humans and we have our moments as well. We just learn and move on...
I'm sure switching from a family bed to allowing him to sleep on his own was quite an emotional passage. Feel proud of your decision and going with what you felt was best for your family - then and now.
Have a beautiful weekend, Andie!

Unknown said...

Always go with your gut! God gave us mama intuition for a reason. I had a long conversation with a good friend yesterday about choosing calm and gentle guiding over stern and firm instructions. It take a TON more patience to be calm and gentle, but the pay off is HUGE. (And what mama hasn't let the frustration and anger get the best of her? Bear knows you are there for him, and he sees past those moments of weakness.)

JDaniel4's Mom said...

Hooray! I am so glad that sleep has gotten easier.

Andie Jaye said...

thanks so much! just want to clarify though, that he is still in our bed. this image was of him napping a bit in his own bed until i went to sleep :)

Unknown said...

Two words: blackout curtains! I'm glad you are getting more sleep! It makes the days so much better. Speaking of I should be in bed. Stop posting interesting stuff so I can sleep too. Lol!

Unknown said...


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