toddler bedtime experiment
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Toddler Bedtime Experiment

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Toddler Bedtime Experiment

So Adella is 2.5 and has always been an awful sleeper. Even as a week old baby it was exciting if she slept 10 to 12 hours in a 24 hour period. She just doesn’t need it I guess, but I am struggling with that. As a SAHM I just want an hour at night to be alone (or I guess holding Delta cause she won’t sleep without me), but Adella is fighting sleep so hard. It ends with me mad and frustrated and her cranky or crying because I made her go back to bed.

I’m over the fight though, I’m tired of being cranky every night! I’m tired of feeling like a terrible mom because I’m making her upset. So after talking it out with some of my amazing friends I have decided to take a different route.

So What Am I Going To Do

I am not going to have a set “bedtime” and I’m going to watch for her tired cues. I am also going to increase her heavy work activities. So with this I am going to keep track of how our day and nights go. I will add it to this post as the time goes on and hope that we can figure something out and find some peace.

For me I hope to bring some calm and zen to my nights even if it isn’t alone and for her I hope she can learn to wind down on her own. As far as heavy work I make her do things daily that push her physically and mentally, but I am going to make sure to add in some more! I am in this 100% and so hope it brings my family some happiness and peace.

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Day 1

So tonight I just let her play until she said she was ready to go to bed which was 10pm. She nurses to sleep and I have had boundaries of only nursing in bed at night or she would just sit and nurse in the chair for hours. So a few time she said she wanted to go lay in bed and get “meme” but when I asked if she was going to sleep she said no, so we stayed up.We danced for about an hour after we ate supper before starting our big activity.

Our big heavy work activity was playing with the couch cushions. She helped me take them off the couch and we jumped on them. I moved them a little farther apart to see if she could make it from one to the other with big steps and by jumping. This challenged her and gave her something to work towards. She then discovered how fun it was to jump on the couch (we have the bed pull out) without the cushions so she was burning some energy doing that too. Delta got in on it too and was having fun trying to copy sister which was way too cute.

Adella then decided she could move the cushions and make them in a line. She struggled because some of the cushions aren’t square which ended in tears because they weren’t lining up evenly. She tried so hard to make it work out and I could see her frustration was also her being tired.

I had red nose day American Ninja Warrior on while we played. Side note: If you are looking for a charity red nose is great way to help children around the world. Every donation no matter the size helps. Adella picked up on it and she made a “balance course” out of two popper toys! I watched her for a few minutes trying to figure out what she was doing.  It was so fun to watch her little mind work.

Once we went to bed she still didn’t go right to sleep but after about 30 minutes so was out. She woke 3 times last night, but it is 8am and she is still asleep.

Day 2

So day 2 was a rainy day in the morning and afternoon so we hung out inside doing some cleaning. I got Adella to pull laundry out of the dryer and push the basket to the bedroom as her heavy work activity. We had to go to town and take Luke’s truck to the shop for a new windshield so they both napped on the drive. When we got home it was still about 80 outside so we set up a new sprinkler we got for only $10 it was a steal.

Adella loves water play and Delta loves the bath so I thought it would be perfect. Well Delta was so not a fan of the sprinkler at all but Adella was in heaven! I wish  I had got some pictures of her pulling the sprinkler around trying to get us wet and just running through the water. We have well water so it’s ice cold after about 20 minutes she was shivering and it was time to go inside.

Adella was still full of energy even though it was 8pm so we got the couch cushions out again! She pulled them off and was just so happy to be able to jump and run on them again. Bed time still didn’t happen till 10:30pm but she fell asleep rather quick. She woke up a few times as usually and slept till 7:30.

Day 3

So it was another hot 90 degree day here a whole 20 degrees above our average! We spent most of our day inside but made sure there was plenty of climbing, running, and dancing. As the sun was setting we sprayed ourselves in Buggins (seriously heaven in a bottle for gnats.) We turned on our sprinkler again and off she went. She was so funny trying to spray us and her sister who can’t stand walking through the water.

Luke and I played catch which was nice little exercise for us and calming. It was so nice to enjoy some time outside with everyone having fun and enjoying themselves. Delta kept trying to go see the cattle and thought it was so funny when I stopped her.

Of course Adella was up till 10:30pm, I tried getting her to go to sleep at 9:30 but it was a big fail. It seems 10:30 till about 7:30 is her “sleep” time. I put that in quotations because she still wakes a minimum of 3 times a night sometimes for an hour. It is becoming clear the girl just doesn’t need much for sleep, and I guess that is a reality we will have to live with.

Day 4

So day 4, we got up and got ready to head to the park early as it was yet another scorcher of a day. Adella just wanted to swing as it’s her favorite thing to do, but with some coaxing we got her to go down the slide and go play with some other kids that showed up.

We drove around after breakfast with the family and both kids took a little nap. We stayed inside for the heat of the day and once it started to cool off Luke took Adella for a tractor ride. Adella did lots of climbing and running while we were inside, but she was not showing signs of bed.

We played outside for  bit and she stayed up Luke while I took Delta to bed. At about 11 Adella was finally ready for bed and was out in just a few minutes. She woke a few times and was up before 8am. This girl is confusing, how is she okay on the less than 8 hours of sleep she got?

Day 5

Yesterday Luke and Adella went and did a little shopping before heading to my families house for a little BBQ. Adella napped on the 45 minute drive there and prompted played in the water with her cousins. She was running, throwing water balloons, and pushing a wagon for hours. We couldn’t even get her to stop long enough to eat. Of course I figured she would sleep on the way home but she did not.

So when we got home we got her to eat and then she played like crazy. By 9 I was ready for bed so Luke stayed up with Adella and Delta and I went to bed. Luke stayed up till 11 with Adella when she finally decided she was too tired to stay up. She only slept till 7:30 and was ready to go right away. Oh man this girl is exhausting. I think I should buy stock in coffee! HAHA

Day 6

Man Adella is really exhausting! We went to the store and I had her push the cart for me which means our shopping trip took 3 times as long, but hey she had fun! She refused to listen as we were leaving one store so I had her hold my hand which left her throwing herself down every 5 minutes. I just held her hand and told her we have all day. Had one lady laugh at us and another tell me way to stay calm! LOL

When we got home we got ready to go outside and play in the sprinkler because it was yet again 90! Today it is raining so we will be stuck inside.

Adella only took an hour nap, but at 7:30 said she was ready for bed…. weird but okay. She fell asleep in about 15 minutes, but woke up crying at 9 so I just went to bed. She woke EVERY hour and was awake from 12:30 to 2. Seriously this girl is so unpredictable it’s exhausting! I’m going to need my coffee IV today since Delta slept like a rock and was up at 6.

Day 7

Yesterday was a rainy morning so we were stuck inside. We caught up on laundry which means Adella did a lot of pushing the basket and pulling the laundry out of the dryer. We of course had to have a dance party and running in circles like a crazy fool.

I went to put away the laundry and come back to the living room to Adella pulling the cushions off the couch. She did a great job lining them up and was running and jumping on them! I love that it has become something she loves to do and loves to show me she can do it by herself.

The rain did stop and we were able to go outside for a little bit but the bugs and humidity were just awful. Adella wanted to cuddle at 9 so we went to bed where she nursed but of course did not sleep. She stayed up till 11 and even then it was me who said lets go to bed because I couldn’t keep my eyes open any more. She woke a few times but she slept in till 9 so that was nice.

What have I learned?

Not to much other than my child just doesn’t need much sleep! She is also becoming sneaky. She says things hurt so when I say she can’t play she immediately says she’s fine! HAHA

Will I continue the bedtime experiment? Yes, I will. I am so much less stressed, and happier! That is all I need really, less stress and happiness! I can handle a little less sleep if I’m a lot less stressed! LOL

Need bedtime help? I suggest Positive Parenting, along with other aspects of my parenting this program has given me ways to help even with my stubborn toddler. We still let her choose her bedtime but I feel more relaxed and do a better job of not becoming frustrated when she won’t sleep.

Week 2

So how has this week gone? She has been sleeping about the same, she can’t function without a nap and the last two days they have been 3 hour long naps. Which boils down to falling asleep later and not sleeping well but she is impossible to wake. On the bright side we did figure out something that wore her out entirely! Pulling a kite, seriously it wasn’t windy enough for it to fly but man she ran with it and was getting up just a few feet. She was having so much fun and was just wiped out by the time all was said and done. So I have at least learned something! I need more kites!

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  1. We don’t do set bedtimes, my kids go to bed when they’re tired. My 7 year old puts herself to bed by about 8:30 most nights. My 2 year old has become a little night owl lately though, she was up until 11 last night lol.

    1. becomingschultz says:

      Love it! I have got so much slack for not having a bedtime but I think that is what will work for us.

  2. One thing you could try is doing everything a little earlier for her to fall asleep sooner. Maybe having a routine where she knows at 8:30 that she will stop playing and it’s night-night time.

    Something worth trying!

    1. becomingschultz says:

      We tried a strict schedule and it was working okay-ish till spring and the time change now it’s light till 9 or later and she just says it’s not dark yet!!! lol Thank you though!

  3. Hang in there mama!! I promise it all gets better. I find that nap-times interferes with my girls sleep schedule so we just do quiet time now… but mine are a little older than yours. We also do the same routine every night nothing too stimulating in the evening (tv, electronics) warm bath with lavender soap and reading books in bed. It seems to help them relax!!!

    1. becomingschultz says:

      I have started doing lavender salt in their bath, but it doesn’t seem to help. She plays in the bath too much for just the bath to be relaxing. I keep wanting to skip nap but then she crashes at 4 and sleeps till 9 then it’s party time! HAHA I’ve been told it’s get better… I can only hope!

  4. My little one is so full of energy, too. She has serious FOMO and it prevents her from sleeping lol! Great post, thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. becomingschultz says:

      HAHA, I so had to Google FOMO, but yes! She was always saying it’s play time mommy.

  5. I have a feeling this will be my lo once she is a toddler. Great info though so thank you on behalf of all parents with unusual sleepers for taking one for the team on your experiment!😁

    1. becomingschultz says:

      Hopefully it helps! I know ditching the bedtime has greatly reduced my stress level. I’m no longer stressing over why she won’t sleep, the fight of trying to get her to bed and to stay in it, the stress before even starting knowing she was going to fight it. I now can wake up happy and go on through out my day without stress! SO MUCH LESS STRESS!

  6. Claudia says:

    Hang in there! I have a 4 year old who is very active. Boy does she wear me out! She seems to go to bed better when she’s exhausted so I try to plan activities that wear her out!

    1. becomingschultz says:

      That’s what we have been doing! I’m cutting nap today as she slept in till 9!

  7. I had a kid who never slept as well. She’s 9 now and she goes to bed around 8:30 and reads for a bit – lights out by 9. But we also have to be up at 6:30 to get everyone ready for school and the 7:45 bus pickup. Learning your kids sleep needs is tough, but I think you’re going about it the right way by seeing where her natural sleep times are.

    I also agree with someone above who suggested choosing a time to start “quiet time” so you’re not stuck in a few years (if it doesn’t settle) trying to move her into a routine for school etc. I’d say start it at 10pm as that’s where she’s starting to get sleepy (or so it seems) and slowly move it back by 15 min increments if it works.

    Good luck!

    1. becomingschultz says:

      Thank you, she has actually been asking to go to read at about 10:15 in her room on blankets. She reads for a little bit and then is ready for bed, but she still can’t fall asleep on he own. She is finally cutting her 2 year molars so sleep is awful now, but hopefully once they are through she can relax easier! It’s nice to hear others little ones didn’t sleep, but are doing better as they get older.

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