Having Trouble Getting Your Overtired Toddler to Bed? Try These Tips

Overtired kids make for worn out, nerve wracked mommies. I want to share some tips of what I have found that works for me when my little ones have been overtired yet didn’t want to go to bed.

Usually I keep them on a good sleep schedule, but it does happen from time to time that schedules get blown to the wind and naps get missed. The other day Scarlett woke up at 6 a.m. and came into our bed, but instead of going back to sleep like she normally does, she stayed awake. By 11 a.m. she was ready to sleep but I knew that if she went down at that hour, she’d be up even before the other two went for a nap.

I tried to keep her up but she cried even more and kept begging to be carried. By 11:30 I’d had enough but she was too worked up to just lie down and fall asleep on her own like she normally does, so I had to put her to sleep myself.

Here are the steps I used.

#1 Hard as it is to do when your child is screaming or whining (especially if it has been going on for a while), keep yourself calm. This is the first step to calming your child. If necessary, go to another room for a few minutes and just breathe. Tell yourself that you are in control of your own emotions and you will get through this.
I made sure to keep myself calm while she threw herself and tried to get away as I put her diaper on. (She is almost completely daytime potty trained but still wears a diaper for naps and nighttime.)

#2 Go to your child, and in a calm, soothing voice, tell her it is time for sleep. As I got her ready for nap, I made sure to keep my voice calm. I have in the past let myself get upset because my kid was upset and all that came of it was an extra-tired child screaming and an upset, frustrated mommy angrily forcing them to sleep. Not a good combination at all.

#3 Lie your child down in her bed and sit next to her (if using a toddler bed) or sit in a chair next to the crib. You will want to sit as this part may take some time. Scarlett sleeps in a toddler crib that is rather low to the floor so I just sat on the floor next to her. It has removable bars so she can get in and out on her own. Make sure the room is darkened as much as she is used to for sleep, and close the door if there is noise in other parts of the house.
Alternately you could lie your child in your bed with you lying next to her, if you think that would work better. While I prefer my kids to sleep in their own beds, getting to lie in mommy’s bed can have a rapidly soothing, almost magical effect.

See the bars? There were 3 but the plasic parts broke after being used by all my kids and at this time, I can’t put any of the bars in place, meaning Scarlett gets out of bed often at night. Excuse the walls. ūüôā

#4 At this point, your child may already be calming down, but if¬†she is¬†struggling to get up, firmly place one hand on her bottom and hold her down. At the same time, gently pat or rub her back with your other hand. Though it may be hard over the screaming, try singing her favorite lullaby or shush her by chanting “shh, shh, shh” in a rhythmic pattern. This is what I do. I find it works better for getting Scarlett to stop crying than singing, but sing if that works for you.
The goal here is to take control of your child falling asleep and at the same time let her know you sympathise with her tiredness and want to comfort her. Keep your voice calm and make sure you don’t show any frustration with how long it is taking. Actually, the calmer you are, the faster she will calm down. Don’t ask me how it works; it just does.

#5 Once she stops screaming and lies still, you can take your hand off her bottom, but you will want to continue patting or rubbing her back. You can either stop the vocal soothing or keep going, depending on how your child best falls asleep.

#6¬†Stay there until you are sure she is asleep. You will know she is in a deep sleep because her breathing will become rhythmic and she won’t open her eyes or try to get up when you move.

#7 You can let out that sigh of relief now. Take a deep breath and congratulate yourself. You just got your overtired toddler to sleep without becoming a bundle of nerves yourself! Take a few minutes for yourself and enjoy the peace.

Of course you may have other children to tend to and you may feel the need to get back to them, especially if they were coming into the room while you were putting your toddler down. I had to send Logan and Lila out several times, using silent hand motions and facial expressions so as not to disturb the atmosphere while I was putting Scarlett down. Even though I could hear them fighting and hurting each other, they had to wait as I knew it would be easier to deal with them once Scarlett was down. Thankfully they were quiet when they came in, but if your older children barge in and disturb you, calmly tell them they will have to wait ’till the younger one is asleep. Lock the door if necessary. Or just make sure your older ones are busy with some engaging activity before you go to put the younger one down.

These tips may also work with older babies (over 8 months) and even with children older than toddler age. Logan rarely naps any more, but some days I notice he is cranky so I lie him down and sit next to him and he will sleep faster than if I leave him to fall asleep alone.

What works for you when your child is overtired? Share it with us.

Teething

Teething is often a painful experience for a baby. Why is it so difficult? I wish I knew. It has been different for all my babies.
 
Symptoms can vary from general fussyness, having a runny nose and more frequent naps to non-stop crying and fevers. You can tell where the tooth is coming by a slight swelling in the gum. Often a baby will rub this area with his tongue or finger. They will also drool a lot (though this can also vary, see below).
 
Often a teething baby will stop eating solids because it is painful on the part of the gums where the tooth is coming in. They will either nurse more, or stop eating altogether. Their sleep may also be disturbed; they will wake more often and be fussy.
 
Logan always got at least a 24 hour fever before his teeth broke through. I spent many days carrying and cuddling him as he was very fussy when teething and refused to be put down. Lila drooled a lot but I don’t recall her ever having fevers. Scarlett got her first teeth early, at only 3 1/2 months. She drooled then, but with later teeth she didn’t. The last 3 came within 10 days of each other – not a happy time for us. Amazingly, she never drooled. Instead, she makes this “ck” sound all day long and I think she is swallowing the extra saliva (she still does this even though she isn’t teething right now).
 
Difficult as it is, there is no way around teething. The best we can do is make them comfortable and walk through it with them. Here are some things you can try to soothe your baby:
 
 

– First-time teethers may find comfort in gnawing on your finger. Just don’t try this once the teeth are through, especially top and bottom, cause you will be bitten for sure. And teething babies bite hard!
– Something cold to bite may be soothing cause the cold will lightly numb the gums. Try using a water-filled teething ring, chilled in the fridge (don’t freeze). A peeled carrot could work too, though don’t continue this once they are able to bite chunks out to avoid choking.
– You may be able to interest them in something cold to eat, like blended fruit or yoghurt.
– Some babies may like to bite wooden spoons or any large spoon from your utensil drawer.

If your baby is crying non-stop and seems to be in a lot of pain, you could first try giving them gripe water. I don’t know what it is about it, but my kids always stopped crying almost instantly after having it. If you feel it is needed, you could also give them a children’s painkiller.¬†Here I get Crocin in a syrup. Look for whatever you have locally available and make sure to follow the dosage exactly. Also, make sure it is for babies, as some are specifically only for children over a year or two.

If the bottle comes with a dropper, use that. Otherwise, get your own dropper or use a medicine spoon or bottle. These make it easy to give medicine to a baby. Make sure you don’t just drop it on the tip of their tongue or they will spit it out, and medicines can stain. Use a cloth or bib to protect their clothes. Squeeze the dropper into the back of the mouth so that they swallow it right away.

I have never used teething gels, mainly because I always heard they were dangerous. But I have never researched this so I can’t say for certain. I’d recommend doing some research before trying it.

Happy Teething!

Mommies, do you have any tips to share? We’d love to hear them.

Calming Tears

All babies have times when their fussiness goes beyond just being hungry or tired or bored. Sometimes they won’t settle down, no matter what we try. At times like that, our nerves get frazzled and we tend to stress out because we don’t know what is wrong or how to help our baby calm down.There are many things that can happen to upset a baby that we won’t be aware of, simply because they can’t tell us what is wrong. Whether it is teething, stomach ache, colic, abdominal pain, or general discomfort like clothes that are too tight.

The first thing to try is to see if there is any outside physical reason your baby is crying. Check her diaper and change if needed. Make sure her clothes are comfortable, not too tight anywhere or hot or itchy. Make sure she has not gotten hurt anywhere.

Next, see if she is hungry. A growing baby will at times deviate from their daily schedule and want to nurse more frequently. Is she due for a nap? When did she sleep last and for how long? Is she just plain bored and in need of a change of scenery or toys? You could try a walk in the yard and see if that helps.

If none of this makes her stop crying, then the problem could be internal. But before you freak out and run to the doctor, I would suggest you try giving her gripe water. Before I had kids, I had never even heard of it. Gripe water is a liquid concoction made of herbs that is soothing for the stomach and body. Here in India it is well known. Every mother swares by it.

When Logan was a newborn and screamed a lot, someone recommended I try it. I was hesitant at first since I was not familiar with it, but what amazed me was how fast it worked. Literally within seconds of him taking it, he would calm down. I have used it with both Lila and Scarlett and I am continually amazed by its rapid effectiveness.

There does seem to be some debate about gripe water, mostly between people in coutries where it is commonly used and those where it is not. In some countries paediatricians don’t even recommend it. I don’t know why as it is effective. My husband says his mother gave it to him daily until he was 5 or so. I only use it when needed. Scarlett was teething recently and it worked wonders when she wouldn’t stop crying. I would suggest having a bottle on hand along with a medicine dropper, and give it when you feel it is needed. It worked for me. It may work for you too.

Here are a few links with reference to it:

Wikipedia

Babyslumber.com

Beneficial or not?

Do you use gripe water? How has it worked for you?

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