Ever since our daughter arrived home from Ethiopia, she’s been a restless sleeper. We used to have to walk around with her for hours in the sling or bounce her on our shoulders or rock her endlessly to fall asleep. Now, at 3.5, I wish I could say things are better, but they’re really not. If I only spend 30 minutes (instead of an hour) getting her down for her 30 minute nap, I consider the day a success. If we make it through a night where she’s not crawling into our bed or I’m not sleeping on her floor, then again, success.
I know I’m not the only mom with this problem, and believe me, we’ve tried everything. She has a very set routine in the afternoon (lunch, walk, reading, bed) and evenings (dinner, bath, relaxing play, reading, bed), we have blackout shades on the window, a nightlight in the hall, soothing music in the background, fish to keep her company, and army of stuffed animals, warm jammies and blankets…
It’s to the point where we just expect that if we have a babysitter, that she’ll be up when we get home, regardless of how late it is. Everyone who tells us we’re just “doing it wrong” quickly realizes they don’t have the answers either. It takes a lot of time and a lot of patience to get this little girl to bed.
My son, on the other hand, needs a dry diaper, a kiss on the cheek and to be zipped into his sleeping bag blanket with some Bob Marley on in the background to fall asleep. It takes approximately 30 seconds from beginning to end. He takes two awesome naps per day, goes to bed early and gets up late. So, basically, when the Perfect Parents of the World come knocking with their sage advice, I just point to him and say, “Yea, when I want to pretend I’m Parent of the Year, I just talk about his sleeping habits, too.”
As any parent with more than one kid will tell you–especially if one of their children is more difficult in some respect than the other–all kids are different. And just because certain basic tactics work for one, it doesn’t mean they’ll work for all of them. That said, if you also have a child who is difficult to get to sleep, what tips and tricks have worked for you? Beyond the basics, of course.