How We Help Our Toddler Fall Asleep Earlier

We have had an amazing breakthrough with our daughter’s bedtime routine! Previously, Judith (almost 3 yrs. old) would fight sleep SO strongly every night – often taking 2 hrs (!!!) to fall asleep, tossing & turning. She’s always hated sleep and likes to keep going like an Energizer bunny until she can’t stay awake anymore. I put her to bed every night by myself until she was 28 months old. She breastfed to sleep every.single.night up until 20-21 months. When our second daughter was born, my husband took over putting Judith (then 28 months old) to bed, for 3 months. She was sleeping in her own room. She HATED going to bed without me in her room, and cried almost every night. It was tough for both of them. It only took him 30-45 mins to put her to bed because 1) she didn’t want to stay up and play with him like she does with me and 2) he has established more firmness with her and she respects his orders quickly. Since she’s with me all day she likes to push my limits as toddlers do ๐Ÿ˜‰

She got a cold and we let her sleep in our bed for a few nights because she was crying and had a stuffy nose. That was about 3 months ago. She refused to go back to her bedroom after that, so I’ve been cuddling with her and breastfeeding baby Annabelle at the same time in my bed for 1-2 hrs each night to get Judith (now 34 months old) to bed. She often wouldn’t fall asleep until 11:30pm. I’d be so tired and frustrated by that point, I would fall asleep feeling pretty upset. She wakes up whenever I do in the morning, and doesn’t nap, so my only alone time is after she falls asleep at night – and I wasn’t getting any alone time with this set up. 

So here’s the breakthrough – are you ready? My husband and I BOTH put her to bed. Now she falls asleep around 9-9:30pm (the earliest she EVER has) and falls asleep within 20-30 mins of getting into bed!! 

We go to our bedroom at night to read books, brush teeth, and put on jammies. I cuddle with her in bed while my husband sits next to us. If she gets up or wiggles around or talks too much, he firmly tells her to stop, close her eyes, and sleep.

She gets the closeness to me AND the firm boundaries from him she needs.

When she’s asleep, I get up and do my own thing. When Garrett’s ready for bed he moves her to a smaller bed in our room. It is not perfect but GLORIOUS compared to our previous situation! 

I almost didn’t post this because of how obvious it sounds – like, “we just both put her to bed together” ๐Ÿ˜‚ but then I realized it took us 34 months to figure it out, so there’s that. ๐Ÿ˜† I’ve met a lot of moms whose kids have similar sleep struggles, and if this helps even one family it’s worth me sharing it!

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