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Parenting Tip: How an Old Shirt Helps My Toddler Sleep Through the Night

How an Old T-Shirt Helps My Toddler Sleep Through the NightEver since Vivi hit her terrible twos her willingness to sleep through the night has been pretty pathetic. The kid, for some reason, has demanded to spend half the night awake while screaming the most awful sounds possible.

This kid has been pretty easy to put to bed from day 1. There have been a few times where she’s struggled to fall asleep or struggled to stay asleep, but we’ve been pretty lucky.

I’ve handled all the nighttime visits and the last six months have been really easy. Vivi gets up every night at 11:30 and cries, “daddddddy, dadddddy, daddddy.” I usually run up to her room and cover her with her thicker blanket and pat her on her back and she goes back to sleep. She’ll then stay asleep until about 3:00 AM when she’ll cry, “daddddy, daddddy, daddddy.” I don’t mind the 3:00 AM visit because that’s right on time for my nightly bathroom visit. I’ll put the thicker blanket back on Vivi and pat her on her back and she goes back to sleep for the rest of the night.

For the past two weeks, however, Vivi has been waking up at 11:30, and then at 12:30 and then at 12:35, and then at 12:55 and on and on and on it goes. The kid demands to be rocked each time I go into her room and if I don’t go into her room she will Not. Stop. Crying.

I know Vivi doesn’t need to have anyone in her room rocking her to sleep multiple times in the night. I know she’s doing what she does because she wants to control us, her parents, and she’s accomplishing her goal.

On the first night Casey was away to L.A. this last week, Vivi went to sleep at 9:00 PM and did her normal 11:30 PM wake up.  The kid did not go back to sleep until 5:00 AM, which means I didn’t get to sleep until 5:00 AM either. An hour and fifteen minutes later Vivi was wide awake and ready to go for the day.

That kind of schedule wasn’t going to work for me or for Vivi. Neither of us were going to survive mentally on an hour of sleep each night until Casey returned, so I had to try something new to get the kid to sleep.

Casey had suggested that I put one of my old t-shirts on Vivi’s pillow at night. I had heard of this concept before. The smell from the shirt somehow calms the kid and helps them sleep. It’s something we did with Addie when she turned 1, only we used a piece of cloth Casey had slept with for a few nights.

I’m Vivi’s favorite, so she needed something from me, so I cut up one of my old shirts and handed the piece of cloth to Vivi and told her it was her new blanket. The kid looked at the piece of cloth and then threw it on the ground as If it was just an old t-shirt, but I wasn’t going to give up there. When I put Vivi in her bed I covered her up in that piece of shirt and then put her real blanket on top of that.

The old T-shirt helped my cranky toddler sleep through the night. Not a peep from Viv until 8:00 AM. By morning she demanded to carry that old piece of shirt around with her everywhere she went. When I put her down for a nap later on that day with the shirt, she slept for 3 solid hours.

Some of these old tips and tricks do work.

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