Tonight I learned a hard lesson, Jacobi was getting ready for bed, it was my husband Matt's turn to put him down. Soon as Jacobi was in his crib he started crying, not just a little, but sobbing. (Jacobi did this same thing last night but he acted scared of Halloween lights out his window. I rocked him to sleep, then laid him in his crib and he would start crying again. I must of done this ritual at least four times, and each time I felt like I had to as mom to sooth my child. What I was doing is allowing him to protest sleep.) Tonight as he started crying Matt and I decided to give it ten minutes and if he was still crying I could go in and sooth him. Yeeaahhh, I lasted 3 minutes, as I looked at my watch and listened to my baby cry, I couldn't wait to pick him up and hush him to sleep. So I went in, wrapped him in his blanket and once asleep I put him in his crib and instantly he started crying. I then knew I was enabling him and had to walk away. He cried for about four minutes and then was asleep.
I just read from website www.babycenter.com about this very thing and I thought I would post it to remind me what I shouldn't do and maybe it will help you too.
Why it happens
You put your toddler to bed at 8:30 at night. You hug him, kiss him, and wish him sweet dreams. It's been a long day. The dinner dishes await you, your spouse has to pay the bills, the dog needs to be walked, the cat needs to be fed, and you haven't had a moment to sit down and put your feet up. But nope — instead of spending the rest of the night catching up on your chores and spending some precious time with your partner, you're in and out of your child's room, cajoling him to go to sleep. He finally does — three hours later. Sound familiar? You'd be surprised at just how many of your fellow parents face this scenario night after night.
Sometimes you can tell your toddler's fighting sleep — he rubs his eyes, yawns repeatedly, and falls apart at the merest hint of frustration. Other times he may seem wide awake, even hyper, but this can be another form of exhaustion. What's happening is the toddler version of "so much to do, so little time"; there's so much going on around him — Daddy's in the living room poring over the mail, the pets are scuttling about, and you're moving from room to room — that he wants to be part of the action. Also, just like other toddlers, your child is beginning to understand that he's separate from you and is his own person, so he wants to assert his independence. Refusing to go to bed at night is one way he asserts control.
What to do Teach your child to fall asleep alone. If your child will to go to bed only if you're around, he's forming bad habits that will be hard to break later. The best lesson you can teach him is how to soothe himself to sleep. Follow a nightly bedtime ritual (bath, books, and bed, for example) so he knows what's expected of him and what to expect at night. You can tell him that if he stays in bed you'll come back in five minutes to check on him. Let him know that he's safe and that you'll be nearby.
Don't let him dawdle. Toddlers are great negotiators, and they're no different when it comes to bedtime. And because they so enjoy the time they spend with you, they'll do what they can to prolong the time they have with you. Your child may take his time doing his usual nightly routine, ask repeatedly for a glass of water, or keep requesting that you come to his room because he needs something. If you suspect he's stalling, don't let him. Tell him it's time for bed and that he can finish working on his art project the next day or find the stuffed bunny the following morning.
You may want to anticipate all of your child's usual (and reasonable) requests and make them part of the bedtime routine. Fill up a glass of water before bed and have him put it on his night table, remind him to use the potty one more time, and give him lots of extra hugs to last him the whole night. Then allow your child one extra request — but make it clear that one is the limit. He'll feel like he's getting his way, but you'll know you're really getting yours.
Offer him acceptable choices at bedtime. These days your toddler is beginning to test the limits of his newfound independence. To help him feel empowered, let your child make choices whenever possible at bedtime, from which story he wants to hear to what pajamas he'd like to wear. The trick is to offer only two or three alternatives and to make sure you're happy with every choice. For example, don't ask, "Do you want to go to bed now?" He could very well say no, which isn't acceptable. Instead, try, "Do you want to go to bed now or in five minutes?" He still gets to make the choice, but you win no matter which option he picks.
Be calm but firm. Stand your ground even if your child cries or pleads for an exception to the going-to-bed rule. If you're frustrated, try not to engage in a power struggle. Speak calmly and quietly but insist that when time's up, time's up. If you give into his request for "five minutes more, please" once, you'll hear it again and again. If he throws a fit, ignore it as you do other tantrums. By paying attention to him — even if you're displeased with him — you've reinforced his behavior.