Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™
CHILDREN: Losing Our Minds From Two-Year Old Crying
My 2yr old girl. She goes to bed at 7:30. She goes to sleep fine & stays asleep. My wife & I get up at 5am to get ready for work. Some days she doesn't go to work, but I understand that my kid gets used to waking up at 5. We leave her door open, but we have a gate that the end of her halfway. Our bedroom is on the other side of the house. So here is where we our losing our minds & not sure what to do. She's been waking up 330-4 every morning crying at the top of her lungs. After awhile she will go back in bed & try to sleep. It may be just 2 mins & she's back up crying again. This time, she turns off her fan & turns on the lights & still cries. Then their been a few times that she'll go back to sleep on the floor & not her bed with the lights on. At time I'll go to her room & when I open the gate she wakes back up & starts running to me crying. I try to calm her down & walk her back to her bed which she refuses to go back to bed & continues to cry. After 5 mins of trying to calm her down, I leave & close the gate & she runs crying to me. It's non-stop till we have to get up for work. I'm not sure what to do, but it's making it tough not to be tired throughout the day at work. Any advise? Thank you, Dan
Age 2, Dan, is often called "Mastery of My Environment." This could mean that your daughter thinks she has had enough sleep and now wants your attention. It could mean she is having nightmares, but still wants your attention. Or, she just wants your attention. It sounds like you have her in a safe, protected environment. And sometimes, parenting is simply a matter of endurance; outlasting the manipulation of one's children.
Try this: when she wakes, make sure she doesn't need to go to the bathroom, give a small drink of water, tell her it's still bedtime, and she is to stay in her bed. Assure her that you and mommy are in your bed and need to sleep, Leave a light on if you like. Hug her, tell her if she can't sleep she can read a favorite book. Then close the gate and the door, go back to your bedroom, and don't go back to her room. Do what you need to dampen the sound of her voice. Don't completely blot out, but let it be quiet enough so you can go back to sleep. She will, no doubt, raise cain, but don't give in. It might take a couple of nights for her to figure out that you mean what you say. It might take a week or more. But she is protected, safe, and, yes even at 2, can either amuse herself with her book or decide to go back to sleep. She must learn you are the boss in this situation. Understand this wouldn't be everyone's advice and some think it's harsh, Dan. But I can tell you that it works, and the child is not harmed. Two is the age of learning who's the boss in the house. Your child may be a real sweetheart in every other way, but this is the age of asserting independence, and this is what she has chosen. Hang in there!!