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Getting my three year old to sleep at bedtime?

Hey. Its been a while since I've been on here, its been a hard few months.

I split up with my partner of neqrly 8 yearsat Christmas. It just wasn't how i needed the relationship to be (see my previous posts about some of what happened) and it came to a head early december when we had the last counselling session i attended and i knew it wasn't helping.

Anyway, i moved out with Niamh 3 months ago, she will be 3 in June, and she obviously was a bit unsettled, i expected that, but she still goes to bed perfectly for her dad at his house, but is an absolute nightmare for me. She will quite literally scream for hours. I've tried different bedtimes, controlled crying, co sleeping (like i did when she was a baby) stroking her head. Everything. And ive tried each thing for at least a week, but mothing seems to help. It's 9.15pm and shes currently still screaming since we started bedtime at 7, and could very well continue until after midnight. And she is waking up at 4 or 5, for me, but stays asleep until well after 6 for her dad.

The doctor says it will pass, but for me that's the three months of very little sleep in the new house, plus the 4 months of sleeping on the sofa before i moved out. Im exhausted. And am crying at everything.

Any suggestions?

15 Replies

Have you tried having bath tiime together hun and then dim the lights and do story time ? I can only imagine how tired you are! Is the house her dad lives at the house you moved out of ? Because if it is it’s because that’s what she’s known for 3 years and she’s used to the smells and comfort too. It will get better but a child at 3 gets fussy and don’t like change my little girl won’t leave my side and my 13 year old was upset when her dad and I split and took a while to settle and adapt as she was used to us together!

I hope u get some rest Hunni xx


Yes. Thats the every night routine. 🙈 shes still awake and i cant get her to settle at all. Dont know what to do.


Old house is where dad still is.


That’s why she settles it’s beeb home for 3 years . I do feel for you both as it must be exhausting! Is the house your ex partners ? I’m just thinking what’s best for you and little girl wouldn’t he allow you to stay in the house ? Xx


I can't afford to run that house. I've had to move to a smaller one. Which was harder than leaving him!

Its doing my head in. Im an emotional wreck. Hate feeling like a crap mummy that crys and shouts all the time.


Aw hun don’t be hard on your self it’s hard you’ve moved to another place finished with partner and trying your best for little girl. I remember years ago the docs gave me medicine for my daughter as she wasn’t sleeping to help her routine and sleep which worked I don’t know if they do it anymore? Have you got any support? Are you and your ex on speaking terms ? Xx


Me and ex get on well now. But he still sees looking after Niamh as inconvenient for him. (One of the reasons we split) Shes with him tomorrow night so i only have to survive tonight and tomorrow morning then i can rest. But it just seems like im not getting anywhere with her settling here. So exhausted. I have two nights of very little sleep, then the nights shes with ex i have so much housework to catch up on i still end up not having an early night. Well i did a bit of housework today, so im going to bed at 7 tomorrow night


Aw hun don’t worry about housework it’s not going anywhere just try and catch up on sleep!

I was wondering if he would of house swapped with you for a bit just so you could recharge your batteries as you know children know when we’re not ourselves and sense we’re tired ! Do you have parents where she can have a night with her grandparents as I’ve just looked at old posts when you and ex were together? Does your little one attend nursery? Xx


I will ask and see if i can stay there, even if its just to see how she responds to me when there.

I have my dad, but hes crazy busy with work at the moment, and he feels bad enough that he can't help as much as he wants to. My mum lives 7 hours away. The exs family are elderly so don't want to ask them if i can help it.

Just been for a little drive round the lakes, the moon is gorgeous tonight, and Niamh fell asleep almost instantly. Definately over tired little bear. An hour of quiet has helped me calm down too. I dont want to give her away now. Hahaha. Got her from the car into bed without waking so fingers crossed for a mini lie in.

She goes to a chilminder 4 days a week when im at work. She loves ot there. And she naps there perfectly. She even went for a sleepover there (childminder is my friend and her youngest is 3 days younger then Niamh) and slept great. Hahaha. She just doesnt like me. Though apparently i should be flattered according to the childminder as apparently it is a sign she trusts me and is emotionally secure with me. 🙈😳


Really feel for you on this one!

Your childminder is spot on though; you're her 'safe space' which is why she feels emotionally secure enough to kick off around you. Sounds bizarre but it's true!

Have you tried having a calm conversation with Niamh in the daytime when she's settled? I know my lg (also 3) is much better about things when she understands it upsets mummy, for instance. Might be worth trying to talk it out?


Hey! Hope you're well.

I explain to Niamh that it makes mummy feel sad and poorly and she says she doesn't want me sad and gives me cuddles and says she wants to listen and be good. And i think yey, we're getting somewhere, but shes exactly the same when she nexts stays at our new house. 🙈

shes only started being like this since we moved out, i expected an amount of unsettledness, but It's been 3.5 months now. shes always been good at pushing me, but nothing like this. She was up at 4.30 too so i got 3.5 hours sleep, and shes had 4.

Was starting to think id maybe like another baby if i meet someone else, but finding it so incredibly hard.

Haven't enjoyed being a mummy as much as i thought i would. 😢


Hi 😁 lovely to hear from you again.

How are you getting on? Sounds like she's well and truly working you!

It's so hard at the best of times, but worse when there's a rough patch. Just had a little boy, 3 months now, and luckily he's very easy to look after. Much easier than Isla was!

Don't feel guilty for speaking up though, we're all here for you! It's amazing how much other mums can be a comfort even if you've never met 😁 xx


Slowly. Friday night was a little better in that i gave up. I let her do whatever she wanted. Told her mummy needs sleep so she needs to be quiet. I went to sleep about 9.15 and she was still playing, but she slept until 5.30 so i got an ok sleep. Going to pick her up from her dad shortly so having a quick nap now. 😂😂

Congrats on new baby!! I really miss Niamh being tiny. And her turning 3 on 1st june isnt helping. Hahaha.

I wouldn't mind less sleep if she disnt scream so much. If she was calm and happy, it would be eaaier. So going down that route instead. Not good for me to be shouty or for her. Fingers crossed. Xx


Is it worth trying to have similar toys and stuff in her room at home as dads house?

My daughter (2.5yr) is a pretty bad sleeper too since we had her sister so I feel for you... although she will settle in my bed... which is far from ideal!

I actually just bought a gro clock yesterday ... and she slept 7-7 and only woke up once! And slept within 5 mins of me sitting with her. I don't know if it's a fluke as only had it one night but will keep you informed on how it goes! I'm hoping it's the best £20 I've ever spent!


Hi. Thanks. Yes, ive pretty much duplicated everything so her room at mine is as close to identical to her room at her dads. 🙈 its hard work isnt it!!

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