There Were Two In The Bed And The Little One Said, Roll Over!

Alright, I’m not sure I can keep this bottled up anymore. I am a human being and I need sleep. Not a couple hours here or there, but a whole night’s sleep!

Since my first child was born, four and a half years ago, I think I have had about 20 good sleeps. I’m sure you can do the math on that one. I’m talking about going to bed and not waking up until my alarm says it’s time to wake up, sleeps. Although I know it isn’t true, it feels as though my children have set out to take turns waking up from one night to the next.

There’s really no rhyme or reason to it either. My son would wake with night terrors, even though we are very strict about what the kids watch on TV. My daughter seems to just wake up screaming for no reason, and then falls right back to sleep. As you parents know, even the act of waking up from your sleep for 3 seconds can severely hamper your mood the next day.

We’ve tried what feels like a thousand different ways to help them sleep and so far we haven’t had much luck. My son seems to sleep through the night more and more as he gets older but my daughter has started coming into our room at least once a week, wanting to sleep with Mommy and Daddy.

I’m not someone who can turn down a sad child, so we allow it but it means almost zero sleep for Mommy and Daddy; which also means more friction between Mommy, Daddy and the kids. My wife and I have discussed me going into my daughter’s room to sleep but that solution seems unfair to me, considering my wife runs a daycare, which I consider to be one of the toughest jobs in the world.

As you can imagine, four and a half years is a long time to go with minimal sleep and I can start to feel it catching up to me. I tend to be irritated a lot more than I used to be. I snap at the kids at times, without putting much thought into why. By the time 6 o’clock rolls around, I am basically ready to check out for the day and it’s a terrible feeling to know that I am letting my family down.

So I turn to you, my good readers, to ask if you have any sleep tips to pass along. My daughter is 2 and a half, won’t nap anymore and is generally a disaster by the time supper is done. With a daycare running out of the house, forcing her to try a nap isn’t an option as she’d keep all the other kids up.



16 replies
  1. Brian Stephens
    Brian Stephens says:

    Oh man, that sounds like a bunch of fun. I know your pain, which doesn’t help you sleep, but my wife and I deal with the same issues.

    One thought I had was the “tough love” thing. We did this with our first kid. At about 7-9 months old, she would cry at bed time until we came to her crib to get her, as a security blanket thing. My wife ran to her every time. We broke the habit by letting her cry it out, took about a week of miserable bed times and physically restraining my wife. After that the baby happily went to sleep.

    The reason I bring up the tough love is that it also worked on one of our older kids. She developed a bad habit of crying at nap and bed times. We did the same thing as the baby…tough love. You basically ignore the kid and teach them that they can put themselves to sleep. Just make sure you stick to a bedtime routine to make it easier, but you can NEVER go to the crying kid, even once. Stick to your guns if you go this route. Good luck.

  2. daniel
    daniel says:

    sorry man, nothing. You’ve managed more good nights than I have. About the only time I get any good night sleep is when I’m out of town away from the kids.

  3. Mommy Outside
    Mommy Outside says:

    I feel your pain. Wish I had the answer but I don’t. I get more sleep when I just crawl in to bed with her and for the most part I’ve just accepted that. Maybe not ideal but it keeps me sane…..

  4. Olly
    Olly says:

    Tough love is so much harder second time round, with the fear of all four of you ending up awake at silly-o’clock.
    We had the same, but by the time our eldest got to 5 we began to see the light. He turns 6 in January, and we’re already discussing having a third …
    Sorry, no solutions. But you’ll get there in the end!

  5. Heather
    Heather says:

    I totally feel your pain…I’m going to have to agree with the tough love thing..thankfully it’s worked for us…we make sure they have their stuffie or blankie or soother and then let them settle themselves to sleep… and you are up a couple times more at night but that usually only lasts for a week or so…(it will get better..get better…and then all of a sudden it will get worse -so you will think that it doesn’t work..but stick to it- and then things will start to settle again)..stick to can do it..soon you will be sleeping like a baby…erm…scratch will get a good night’s sleep.. 🙂

  6. Crescent
    Crescent says:

    Been there, done that! I don’t know any parents who had great sleepers. Definitely agree about the ‘tough love’ comments. We did it and it worked for us. They were never allowed to sleep in our bed unless they were sick and needed a little extra TLC. Be forewarned, you will feel like the worst parent on earth letting them cry and ignoring it. But it works!!! I also think it’s a stage and they outgrow it!!! Mine are 5 and 7 now and always sleep through the night, unless they’re sick. 2 and 4 is about the age we let them have a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Just an idea!!!!!!

  7. Sandy
    Sandy says:

    I wish I could give you a solution. There are many things that you can try and you may get success. I completely understand your pain. I have two kids who don’t like to sleep alone. I have tried almost everything (including bribing my 7 year old) and I always end up with 4 in a bed!!! I doubt you’re letting your family down though and I know it’s probably overused but “This too shall pass.” 🙂

  8. Lisa Marie
    Lisa Marie says:

    Personally – the whole “cry-it-out” and “tough love” thing was so against my nature and fiber of my being that I could never do it. I accepted the whole no-sleep thing as part of my life as a parent with an infant.

    My oldest had night terrors until he was about 6. He seemed to have slowly grown out of them after that (thankfully). When he was growing out of them, I’d be up with one of the other kids. I swear I didn’t sleep for like 7+ years!

    (And now that I’ve been sleeping through the night, I’ve gone insane and decided to have another baby! What am I doing?!) haha.

    Maybe, with your daughter, you could get up, walk her back to her bed, tell her that she needs to sleep in her bed, tuck her back in and rub her back for a while until she relaxes back into sleep. . This is what I do when my kids wander into my room in the middle of the night. when they go back to sleep, I head back to bed. It doesn’t help the immediate sleep deprivation, but it does set a standard that she needs to sleep in her own bed instead of yours if it’s not letting you get the sleep you all need. (I co-sleep just fine so it’s never bothered me, but it bugs hubby, so I understand!)

    Good luck. And may you sleep soon. 🙂

  9. Rebecca
    Rebecca says:

    I’ve got nothing…..other than the whole tough love thing.

    I hear you on the lack of decent sleep. I’m pretty sure I would sleep for an entire day if I could….

  10. Jenba Em
    Jenba Em says:

    With 5 kids 7 years & under, I kid you not that some nights my husband & I are awakened TWENTY times per night!

    Try to imagine all these kids trying to sneak into our little bed!


  11. DaddyNoob
    DaddyNoob says:

    Only being a father for just over eight weeks this post can either be enlightening or down right depressing. Ha.

    No, it is neither. Out of all the advice I was told from other dads before my son arrived was to cherish my sleep. I can understand that a bit more now. But, to be honest, I sleep like a hibernated bear which is great for deep quick sleeps, but terrible for waking up and being functional in the night.

    Sleep is the currency of the parent, and hopefully your recession will end soon.


  12. Positively Pampered Patty
    Positively Pampered Patty says:

    Hiya Chris,

    I have four kids all two years apart. When they were up in the night it was really hard. My second daughter suffers from night terrors which don’t aways have to do with tv. The thing with night terrors is the more lack of sleep the child gets, the worse it gets. If it’s night terrors then maybe the cry it out won’t work.

    We tried and it was an epic fail. I finally spoke to the doctor about it and was close to taking my daughter to a sleep clinic, but with our help she was able to get sleep and they eventually stopped. This was only 3 years ago when she was 7. It was so bad, she could not get into the proper cycles of sleep, she was up screaming every 30-45 minutes all night.

    Night terrors are hard to deal with but they do grow out of it. It does get better but its part of being a parent. There are the ups which are always awesome and the downs which aren’t so great. I am lucky that I can get up deal with the kids and fall right back asleep. My husband calls it a gift. Lol he on the other hand is like you, lack of sleep really affects him the next day and he becomes a real bear.

    The only thing I can tell you is it will get better. My oldest ones are now 12, 10, and 8 and they all co-slept with us but are now all in their own beds and stay there. My youngest who recently got her own room has been sneaking in with us in the middle of the night, and honestly I know she will get there, But for now I am not minding the cuddles.

    She just turned 6, my husband has been working crazy overtime and she misses him, so she sneaks in at night to spend extra time with him. There could be some underlying reason for your daughter wanting to be with you. You’ll figure it out and be catching some z’s soon.



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