A woman is frustrated with her toddler’s refusal to sleep.
Parenting is a challenging and rewarding experience, but it can also come with a lot of guilt and frustration. One mother, who we’ll call Joanne, shares her struggles with putting her toddler to sleep and the guilt she feels when resorting to tough love.
Not A Fan Of Sleep
“I have a 2.5 year old who has never been a big fan of sleep. We have finally gotten to the point where she will sleep through the night (mostly, she gets up once anywhere between 1-5 AM and ends up in my bed, but goes straight back to sleep after she cuddles in),” shares Joanne.
Difficulties With Sleep
“However, putting her to sleep is a nightmare,” Joanne says. “It doesn’t matter if she is tired, how much we run her around in the afternoon, try quiet time before bed. Nothing. We have capped naps. Adjusted nap time. We stick to a routine: bath, teeth brushed, pick out a story, read and kiss the characters goodnight so she doesn’t flip out when we close the book. But as soon as lights go out, it’s a full 1.5 hours of shenanigans before she will sleep.”
No Alone Time
Joanne is at her wit’s end. “I stay with her until she falls asleep, but it’s killing me, as I have no alone time to speak of, by the time she’s out I’m groggy and crawl into bed without any time to unwind, watch a show or chat with my husband.”
Guilty For Feeling Angry
“I always feel so guilty for feeling angry when I leave her room. I don’t know what to do. I feel awful when I use my “mean voice” and basically growl at her that she needs to lay down.”
The Challenge of Using Tough Love
“I feel guilty when I resort to telling her I’m going to leave her in her room alone if she doesn’t settle down. It all just results in tears and she cries until she eventually passes out, even while I’m laying right there snuggled up to her.”
The Importance of Setting Boundaries
Others shared advice to help Joanne with her current situation. One person said, “telling her you’re going to leave her in her room alone shouldn’t be a threat, it should be a statement. When it’s time for you to go, go. If she’s still awake she can look at her book, play with her stuff, but she has to stay in bed.”
The Need to Break the Cycle
“Right now crying and acting up is getting her what she wants, which is more attention from you so she can stay awake longer.”
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