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. 🙂

#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.

Finally! My Kids are in Their Own Beds – All Night!

I recently moved all the kids back to their room. Logan and Lila had slept in there regularly and Scarlett had been in our room, but with the end of summer and the onset of monsoon and cooler weather, I felt it was time to get them back to their own room.

One change was that Scarlett would be there too. Now that she was weaned and sleeping in her own bed through the night, I felt she was ready to move. I know I was ready for it. Ha. So I packed up the small crib all my kids slept in as babies, and Scarlett began sleeping in the larger toddler crib that Lila had been using.

It began well, with all of them staying in their own beds at night, but by the end of the first week, Logan and Lila began sneaking into our bed again. The reason wasn’t so much that they wanted to be with us, but that they were hot. Even though it was cooler, nights were still 29 deg.C. I wanted to put the AC on for them, but I wasn’t sure if they’d be ok with a nightlight and the door closed.

But I knew the only way to keep them out of my room was to keep them in theirs, so I introduced the nightlight. They were hesitant until they saw that they could see well in the room, once their eyes adjusted to the dim light, of course. They loved it, and from that night on, they have not only stayed in their room, but they have also all slept through the night! Success!

Now that the rain is actually here (it was late this year), nights are closer to 22 – 24 deg.C., but I still use the AC. The fan doesn’t cover the whole room so having the AC on and the fan off ensures a cool (but not cold) room, and a better nights sleep for them all.

I still find myself waking up several times a night, out of habit, and I sometimes run to see if any of them are up but they are always sleeping soundly. I wanted to sleep all night myself, but now I have decided to use the time to work on night potty training for Lila. Tonight is her first night without a diaper. Let’s see what happens.

This Week

Ok, I know it’s been a while, but I have some good excuses. Number one is that I was just feeling a little lazy and didn’t feel like posting, and number two is that, when I did want to post, Glad had claimed the laptop to rewatch all his favorite scenes from The Avengers – yet again.
And while those excuses are true, the real one was that my glasses broke and I couldn’t see the screen unless I was 6 inches from it, so I hardly used the computer at all last week. I finally got them on Saturday.
What do you think of them?

My last excuse for not posting was that I got numerous reports from readers that this blog was showing a malware warning and I was rather lost as to how to fix it. I finally got some help from Blogger and it seems to be clear now. If you are one of the ones who saw the warning before, tell me if it is gone now.

So getting my glasses was the first highlight of last week. The second, and possibly greater, highlight was that the children moved back into their room for nights and Scarlett has joined them.

No, we haven’t painted yet, sadly.

 As I explained in last year’s post on the same topic, we moved the kids into our room at night during the summer because of the need for the AC and them not wanting to be alone in the dark. Our room is a little weird; it has a window at the ceiling level facing the living room, so any light on in the house shines through. Thus it is never completely dark.

Also, Glad’s mom spent two weeks with us and she used the kids’ room instead of the guest room because the guest room doesn’t have an AC. This summer was the hottest on record for the past 8 or so years. It sure felt like it. So while she slept there, the kids slept with us and my room looked like this every morning.

On Saturday I packed up the crib so that Scarlett would see that the other crib that Lila had been in was now hers. Here is how my room looks now – right now, as a matter of fact. I meant to get a pic during the day with the bed made but I forgot and today I didn’t make the bed or do much of anything because Scarlett has a cold and wanted to be carried most of the day.  But you can see how it looks without the crib. We also got this new bed recently and it has glass side tables. Yet another reason to move the kids out.

Do excuse the mess.

 So since Saturday night, all 3 have been back in their room since nights have been cool enough to sleep without the AC’s. I got Scarlett used to the new bed by putting her into it for naps the whole previous week.

I don’t understand how she is comfortable in these weird positions.

 Lila’s new bed is the trundle from Logan’s bed. We knew the day would come when the 3 of them would be in this room, so when the two beds were offered to us by some friends we took them. We didn’t need the extra one at the time, but since it tucks under the larger one, it was never in the way.

Yes, those are all hers. She loves cuddle toys.

 From the first night, Scarlett has slept well in her new bed. Since about two weeks ago, she has been sleeping through the night all night, every night. Last night was the first night she woke crying but I think it was the cold bothering her. Logan has been taking longer to go to sleep at night and coming into our room and sneaking in next to daddy. I move him when I find him, but he is the hardest to keep out since he slept with us the longest and loved it.

These were taken at nap time recently.

Unfortunately I have yet to sleep through the night. One or the other of them wakes me, and these past few nights since they moved I feel I’ve been waking up more. One night out of tiredness I forgot to put a diaper on Lila and had to change her and the bed at 4 in the morning. She is still wearing diapers at night as she wets a lot and isn’t quite ready for nighttime training yet.

So I’m happy to have space in my room again and fewer bodies in my bed. It has felt weird to wake up with just us there (most mornings; Logan has been there once or twice) but at the same time there is a feeling of freedom. I just hope I will soon be able to sleep through the night myself.

Moving Rooms and Sleep Habits

Last year when we moved into this house, our kids finally had their own room. From the beginning I had them sleep there to get them used to it, and even though it was rough at first, they got to where they were staying in their beds all night.
Then the summer came. Here in Chennai it is impossible to be comfortable in summer without air conditioning. We can’t afford to air condition the entire house, only the bedrooms, and with only one air conditioner, we put it in our room, since the ceiling fan has problems with the speed (I know, gotta get it fixed). The kids’ fan works great so they stayed there until it just got too hot, and then at night we put a mattress in our room for them.
Now, fast forward 4 months. Even though nights have gotten cooler with the arrival of monsoon, the kids were still in our room, and our bed. Both Logan and Lila were waking up way more often than is normal for a kid. Since our fan isn’t so good, it doesn’t circulate the air so well and they weren’t cool enough on the floor, so would move into our bed to feel the air conditioner. At times I found myself with only a sliver of space to sleep on. It was getting to be too much.
So this week I decided it was high time they got back into their own room and beds. I wanted a smooth transition, so the previous night I told them it was their last night in our room and then they would be back to sleeping in their room. They were less than happy about the idea, especially Logan. He slept with us from birth until his first birthday, then as often as he could in between. He only stayed in his bed when he couldn’t get out on his own. And Glad doesn’t care if he is there, so getting Logan out was not going to be easy.
I decided we would use a chart to help with the change. They would get a sticker for every morning when they woke up in their own bed and after 5 stickers they could get a small treat, then after 30 something bigger, like a new storybook. I decided they just had to wake up in their own bed instead of sleep there all night in order to get a sticker to make the possibility of gaining stickers easier for them, since they were both so accustomed to coming into our bed, sometimes numerous times in the night. Lila was so excited about the chart and watched eagerly as I put it on the fridge ready to use the next morning.
That evening all was ok until Lila realised I was serious. She fussed some, but then settled to sleep when I assured her the door would be open and the bathroom light left on.
It has been 4 days now and the results are different than what I had expected. From the first night, Logan came into our bed every night at least twice. Each time I moved him once he was asleep, and the first two nights he managed to wake up in his bed, thereby earning a sticker. But the past two night he has stayed in our bed dispite my best efforts to keep him out. So he has only gotten 2 stickers.
Lila surprised me by not only staying in her bed all night, but also by sleeping through the night, something she has not done in months. Out of 4 nights, she has only woken twice when Logan was fussing about having to go to his bed, but she never tried to get up. She just has some water and goes right back to sleep. I didn’t think it would be so easy for her. So she has 4 stickers and is eagerly waiting for her promised treat tomorrow.
One thing I have been careful to not do is compare one with the other. It would be easy to say to Logan: “Look at your sister and how well she is doing.” Or, “Lila will get a treat and you won’t.” This kind of talk would only serve to make Logan feel bad and possibly fight with Lila more than he already does. All I do in the morning is, if they woke up in their bed, I make a fuss over it and have them pick a sticker to put on the chart (and I date it for my reference). I haven’t mentioned to Logan that he has fewer stickers and that he needs to improve. I think he will make that decision when he sees Lila get a treat.
Or maybe he won’t. I feel this change will take longer for him. He likes to feel someone there when he wakes up, and he tends to wake up a lot. I can’t remember the last time he slept through the night, and that is what needs to happen. Sometimes when I move him back he wakes up and I have to reassure him that he will be ok in his bed. He usually goes back to sleep, but sometimes waits for me to go and then creeps back into our room. He is so in the habit of waking up in the night that I don’t know what to do to break it.
If anyone has any tips on getting children to change this type of habit, waking in the night instead of sleeping through, I’d be so happy to have them.

If Only I Wasn’t So Tired…

One thing I never expected when I became a mommy was to be tired all the time. I feel like I never get enough sleep, can never get enough. Now that Logan goes to school and has to be up by a set time, I try to get up earlier so that I can have some time to wake up slowly, coffee in hand, and do something personal so that I feel I am getting some time to myself before the demands of the day start.

I wish I had an answer for this problem but I don’t. If you have never known what it is like to be really tired, have always gotten enough rest, then be warned: you will no longer know what it is like to feel rested once you become a mommy.

First, it will be the unpredictible schedule of your newborn that will exhaust you. You will wonder if you will ever sleep again as you wake up multiple times a night to feed and care for your tiny bundle. As baby gets older, you may get more rest when baby sleeps longer at night, but it will never be enough.

If you are blessed with one of those rare babies who sleeps through the night from an early age, enjoy it. It may not last forever. Of my three, only Scarlett slept through the night for any length of time, and it only lasted about 6 weeks from when she was 2 1/2 months until 4 months old.

Sickness, teething, and frequent needing to feed will keep you up more than you knew was humanly possible. Lila used to nurse so much at night I had a hard time telling when one feed ended and the next began.

As they get older, you will still not get enough sleep. Your child may go to bed at a decent hour but you will find yourself using those hours in the evening to catch up on things like folding laundry, washing dishes, or even just trying to relax a little before you sleep.

Even if they have their own room, be prepared to find your child in your bed, sometimes all night. One way to ensure a little more sleep with your baby is to keep their bed in your room. That way, you can just lie there and fall asleep while you breastfeed. Some mommies prefer their baby to sleep with them for the same reason. I like a little space, and I always worry about the baby rolling off the bed (though it has never happened in the night) so if I’m awake when the baby finishes nursing I do move her back to her bed, but more often than not, she ends up sleeping with me the rest of the night.

Logan and Lila both climb into my bed at night, sometimes multiple times. It can get crowded and uncomfortable to have 5 people in the same bed. I’ve woken up to find one next to me on either side and one at my feet. How my husband can sleep through it is beyond me.

Currently, I wake up at 6:30 a.m. and am rarely in bed before midnight. Sometimes I am able to squeeze in a short nap after lunch when all 3 kids are down, and that helps a little, but I get the feeling that I won’t know complete rest until my kids are grown and living on their own.

How do you manage without enough sleep?

It’s Bedtime

It’s almost midnight. Both kids went to sleep around 10 p.m. and both have woken up twice already. This is the only time I get to write. I’m tired. I was in the main city market all day, shopping for food and stuff for the house. Lila was in the carrier. She is so heavy now. My shoulders are sore from carrying her for so many hours. I know I’ll drop just as soon as I lie down.

Yet I need time to unwind before I get into bed. And since we only have one computer, Glad and I have to share it. It’s “first come, first serve” with the laptop. Whoever gets it can use it. Glad was using it, watching a movie. Then he went to shower and I did what I wanted. Since I wasn’t finished when he came out, he laid down to wait and in minutes was asleep. So the computer was mine. But it is so late and I have to get up tomorrow. I have to get up when the kids do, day or night. I don’t get enough sleep.

Logan was moving into our bed several times a night. It was getting bothersome to not be comfortable in bed but we didn’t know how to keep him in his bed. Last night I put the removable bars on the bed so Lila could play there and then left them there when Logan went to sleep. And you know, it worked. He stayed in his bed all night, simply because he couldn’t get out.

This is how he sleeps when the bars are out, and of course he can escape.

This is how he sleeps when the bars are out, and of course he can escape.

 

No, I’m not trying to be mean to my child. He doesn’t NEED to sleep in my bed all night, every night. I need my bed; he has his own. He is in my room and is close to me and can call if he needs me, but I prefer that my kids sleep in their own beds. I sleep better that way…at least for a few hours.

I’d better put the bars in tonight.

How Could I Have Missed Mother’s Day?

Probably because I was so busy with the kids I didn’t realize until the day was half done. I was reading the newspaper while Logan was eating lunch and I found a page celebrating Mother’s Day, and it was a revelation to me. I usually know in advance when these special days are coming but this year it passed me by and I didn’t even know it.

Okay, I know you want to hear about Lila. Well, so far she is a good sleeper at night, except for waking up somewhere around 1 a.m. and not wanting to go back to sleep. I have tried putting her in her bed and letting her lie there but it doesn’t work. She loudly lets me know that she is awake and wants to be up. So I lie her on my chest and try to sleep while she stares at me. I don’t know how long she is awake for as I spend the whole time in a sort of half asleep state until I finally fall asleep. Eventually I wake up and find she is sleeping again and then I put her in her bed and I can get comfortable again. This morning I woke up to find her in my bed and I can’t remember how she got there. I must have brought her in to nurse and fell asleep while she was nursing. I sleep very soundly these days. I’m too tired to not be able to sleep.

What do you think of my cool outfit? The pants are actual newborn size jeans. I never knew they made them so small until I saw these.


Announcing…

I finally get a chance to tell you our news. The baby is here!

I wanted to have a natural delivery but ended up with the C, mainly due to my doctor’s reluctance to wait longer and she was telling me all the things that were leading up to needing a C. I truly think it could have been natural had I had the chance to wait longer. Oh well. It is all past now. I came home yesterday and now have a chance to tell you all the details.

Lila Chanelle D’souza was born on April 27th, weighing 3.5 kgs. (7.7lb), and 20 inches long. Want to see her?

Her first picture, taken by daddy. I was still in surgery.


Daddy and Lila have some bonding time in the hospital.

Logan and Lila – 5 days old.

The little princess.

Her first bed.

Logan really loves his little sister.

I think my recovery this time has been faster than last, even though this time I have had the baby with me all the time and last time I didn’t. I did have help in the hospital though. Some friends took turns spending the first few days and all the nights with me, which really made a difference, especially when I couldn’t move. Daddy had to be at home with Logan and they got time to bond. Logan also learned how to run the house as daddy had to take him everywhere he went.

They came to visit me every day and Logan got used to me being gone, but I think he finally realized I was gone and started to miss me and cried the last time he had to leave. He was so happy when I finally came with him.

Logan still has to learn how to be gentle with her. He wants to touch her all the time and I have to remind him to be gentle or else he grabs her roughly, not trying to hurt her but he doesn’t know any better. So I can’t leave her in his reach, ha.

She is nursing well now that my milk has come in. She can be so demanding when the food is slow in coming. (I think this is a Taurean trait. They love their food.) She also sleeps well, even at night, only waking twice to nurse last night. That was a relief as the previous night she had a bad night and was awake screaming most of the night due to gas pains. I had eaten the food they served in the hospital and I think that did it. I was more careful yesterday and was rewarded with a good nights sleep.

I’ve forgotten how much newborns love to sleep. Today she has hardly been awake at all. Even now she is sleeping on my lap as I type this. I’d better go tuck her in bed so I can eat.

So now you can look forward to hearing more about her and life with two children instead of one.

Sleep, Baby, Sleep


Here is a cute one of my little boy napping. He sleeps so well when tired, sometimes up to 3 hours at a time during his afternoon nap. I was going to take this picture because he had his arms above his head but by the time I got the camera out he had put them down.

He is also sleeping better at night, usually only waking up once or twice for his bottle. He takes a water bottle mostly but once a night he wants his milk bottle, so I have to get up and go to the fridge for that. It is too hot to keep it by the bed without it going bad, so I don’t get to sleep through the night yet. And I won’t. Baby is due in 8 weeks and I definitely won’t get a solid nights sleep then. I am debating whether or not to wean Logan from his milk bottle before the baby comes. I won’t want to try to do it when the baby is here but I’m not sure if I should do it yet or not. He has on two occasions not even taken the milk bottle in the night but that is a far cry from being weaned from it. I’ll have to do it sooner or later but I still can’t decide if I should do it now or not.

It’s not that the weaning in itself is so hard, as I used a method of watering down the milk ounce by ounce to wean him of the last one. (He used to take two and sometimes three milk bottles. Now he just has one around 2:30 in the morning.) But I feel that he is hungry in the night and needs the milk. On the other hand, I don’t want to have to get up to get a bottle for him in the night if I am trying to nurse the baby. Well, I’ll make up my mind on this soon enough. Until then, enjoy your nighttime bottles, Logan, cause you won’t have them much longer.

Our Chennai Trip

We landed in Chennai and had one day to rest and get some extra sleep. I never sleep well on a bus and to top it off, Logan was up from the time the bus arrived around 5:30 in the morning. So when he went to bed, I did too and we both slept for hours, me out of tiredness and he due to being sick. He had a fever the night before but was much better now.
Here Logan is dressed up for Halloween. Not that it is celebrated here but a hotel here had decided to celebrate and we were asked to make balloon sculptures and paint faces.

But as you can see, his makeup didn’t last. Here Logan is having lunch at the hotel restaurant.

This is the apartment we will be moving into in Chennai. The family we are moving in with had this fish tank and Logan loves crawling up to it and trying to catch the fish.

He also had fun in the rocking chair.

Well, I didn’t get any pictures of the city itself but that will come in time. We plan to move there soon, sometime in the next two weeks after we wrap things up here in Bangalore. So moving time is coming up. I’m excited about being in a new place.
Some other news is that Logan is going to be one in three days. Already he is almost weaned, not that I wanted to wean him so soon, but because I couldn’t keep up with nursing him while being pregnant. Now he takes bottles before his naps and during the night and eats solids well at meals and snacks. The only time he still nurses is before bed. He knows that is the time he can and doesn’t like to take a bottle then, though I try to get him to take at least a little bottle so his tummy is full and he can sleep better.
Another new thing is that I started him on the potty. This picture is the first time he went doodoo in the potty. I was excited because every doodoo in the potty is one less I have to wash out of his diaper. And as you can see, he already knows how to clap for himself.
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