We tried the "going in there and reassuring her every 10 minutes" route, we tried the "tough love, ignore her" route, we tried the "lay down with her for 5 minutes" route too - but that just held off the inevitable and made it even worse! Since the girls share a room, I was getting pretty ticked that Molly was invading Megan's sleep. Especially since Megan was being so good and quiet and trying to go to sleep! It got to the point that almost every night ended with me losing my cool, raising my voice and threatening a spanking. Molly would eventually wear herself out and fall asleep with a runny nose, puffy eyes and a sad, sad disposition.
Matt and I would go back and forth about what to try next so that we wouldn't have another night like this. I mean, it's ridiculous. Our house is SO SMALL! When we go out in the living room and she is in bed - we are literally only about 20 feet away from her. And I knew she was tired because sometimes she would even yawn through her crying. I wondered if it was because of the new baby. Was this her way of getting our attention? So I started making sure to give her more positive attention, more one on one when I could. I would pick her up more, hold her more, talk to her face to face. But bedtime wasn't getting any better.
I was at my wits end. So one day I decided to have the girls make "Happy Bedtime Charts." I took a big piece of poster board, cut it in half and drew a makeshift calendar of 4 weeks on each one. At the end of each week I wrote in a small toy prize. I let the girls color and decorate their own charts with markers and glitter glue. Then we went to Michael's and I let them pick out their own stickers. I explained to them that for every night that they went to bed happy - with no crying or whining or getting out of bed - the next morning they could have a sticker to put on their charts. When they had gotten 7 stickers in a row, they earned a prize!
That very night Molly went to sleep with NO tears! And we are going on two weeks of successful, happy bedtimes! I took the girls to the dollar store and let them pick out their prizes. Megan picked a tiara and earring set and Molly picked a Dr's kit for her dollies complete with sticker "band-aids!" I am so proud of my happy sleepers. I'm crossing my fingers they never outgrow the satisfaction that a measly sticker brings!