Getting Toddlers to Sleep Away from Home

Today I write you from my father’s house in New Jersey, and I write you after having had a long, stressful morning, complete with more online research than I think I have done on any parenting topic:  sleeping.

Our daughter is usually an excellent sleeper.  At home she will easily sleep 11 or 12 hours a night plus go down for two solid naps of 1 hour or more.  I really am spoiled since we didn’t have to work too hard to get her into this habit.  Bitsy Girl usually only needs her music playing, a stuffed animal or doll, and her pacifier to fall asleep.  At home we never rock her to sleep.

Away from home, these lovely sleeping habits seem to fade away.  Bitsy Girl is nearly impossible to put down for a nap anywhere, at any time of day, and although she will go down at night alright, she will wake up a few hours too early.  This leaves her cranky most of the day, and it isn’t really fun for anyone involved.

This morning was no exception.  After only 9 hours of sleep last night, Bitsy Girl woke up at 6am, bright eyed and bushy tailed.  I tried to get her to go right back to sleep, but that was unsuccessful, so I tried getting her up, giving her breakfast, and wearing her out a bit.  Around 9:30 she was rubbing her eyes and really looking beat, so I thought it was my shot.  An hour and a half later, after having rocked her to sleep four times only to have her wake up once I put her down, I was about ready to pull my hair out.

I came downstairs to find out some other methods.  Of course the internet has usually been helpful in other sticky situations, like cleaning, cooking, etc., so I thought it would be helpful.  Most of the advice out there says to “parent your child to sleep”.  Meaning set a consistent routine and stick to it.  They also suggest taking certain special items from home to help your toddler feel more at home.  Well with her pacifier, her usual blanket, her favorite stuffed doll, and the usual music playing, Bitsy Girl still didn’t quite feel at home.  Instead of laying down to sleep, she quickly got up and cried.  Which is why I even attempted to rock her to sleep.

Consequently it does work, but it is very hard to lay a sleeping baby down without waking them up.  Any suggestions here would be welcome.

It’s been almost 3 hours since I tried to put Bitsy Girl down for a nap, and I still hear movement in the bedroom.  I’m at a loss on how to get her to sleep, and today, readers, I am pleading with you to help me with some advice.

How do you get a toddler to sleep while away from home?

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