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2 1/2 Year Old Needs Parents to Lie With Her

2 1/2 Year Old Needs Parents to Lie With Her

The toddler sleep problem

Do you have any pointers on how to put a overactive 2.5yrs to bed without us sitting in there for 20min or more till she drops off. It doesn't have to be classes if there is a book, CD or music etc to calm her brain that would be great too.

She has always been hard to put down from birth, as she was a reflux baby and according to PAFT ( parents as first teachers consultant) gifted. We have done all sorts of different methods according to age but we are running out of ideas.

Our recommended toddler sleep solution

There are a number of things that I’m sure will help you with your little girl’s sleeping. From your message it’s not clear if she is waking in the night, however this information will help both with settling at bedtime and any night-waking.

You have 2 choices for getting her to learn to fall asleep by herself – either a gradual withdrawal of you or just stop staying with her.

Option 1 - Just stop staying with her

If you go for this approach, consistency is absolutely the key or you will give her confused messages. This may result in her crying until she falls asleep or her climbing out of bed. With this approach you must follow through with it even if you put her back to bed 10, 20, 50 times before she goes to sleep. If you give in, you’re back to square one! The same applies if she is crying. She is big enough to explain to her that it’s time for bed and you expect her to go to sleep now. Kiss goodnight and leave the room. For more information on this approach, The Sleep Book is really good.

Option 2 - Gradual withdrawal

At her age the gradual withdrawal method will involve far less screaming and tantrums, and I think it will be easier on you all. Start off by lying with her as she falls asleep, introducing the sleep associations I mention below. Then spend the next couple of nights sitting next to her as she falls asleep. Gradually progress to the end of the bed, chair next to the bed and then sitting on the floor by the door. I used this technique when my eldest had a phase of wanting Mum or Dad with him at bedtime. It only took a week or so, and he was back to falling asleep by himself.

For more information on all these issues with toddlers, I highly recommend the wonderful No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers. This covers a range of toddler sleep issues, including needing a parent to fall asleep and midnight visits to the parent’s bed. A great investment for any mum of a toddler!!

Some other info that may help

Sleep music

Your idea of a CD to relax your baby is a great idea. It will quickly become a powerful signal that it’s time to sleep. You can leave it on all night, so if she wakes in the night, it will help her resettle. Start introducing the CD while carrying on with how you are currently settling her for a few nights. Talk about listening to the special bedtime music. There are lots of lovely lullaby CDs available, my favourite for toddlers is Music for Dreaming.

Comfort Item

I also recommend getting her attached to a comfort blankie or special toy. As with the music, start introducing it as you carry on settling her in the usual way. Tuck it in with her, talk about it being her special friend to keep her company and really make it part of the bedtime routine. Taggies are really cute or some sort of soft toy or doll would also be fine.


Make sure she is settled and going to sleep by 7pm. So if it normally takes 20 mins to fall asleep, start your bedtime routine in plenty of time, so she is in bed by 6.40pm. It can be a good idea to have a story that covers the going to sleep issue too, such as Dr Suess’s ‘The Sleep Book’ or ‘Kiss Good Night Sam’ or ‘Go to Bed Doodlehead’.

Daytime sleep

is she still having a midday sleep? Often night sleeping issues in toddlers develop when your toddler is getting over-tired. The No Cry Sleep Solution has good information on day sleeps for toddlers too.

Sleeping Bag

Does she sleep in a sleeping bag? Any problems with blankets falling off, waking from cold etc? Another really powerful sleep association is having your child sleep in a sleeping bag. The process of zipping them in becomes part of the bedtime routine and also ensures they stay snug all night. The best one for a 2 ½ year old is the Toddler Woolbabe Bag – this lasts up to age 4 and can be used year-round.