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Why does my two and a half year old throw tantrums every night at bedtime?

Every single night without fail, my son screams and cries and hits things when it is time to go to bed. I have been trying to keep his nightly routine consistent (bathtime, PJs, brush teeth, read a few stories and the rocking chair, and then get in bed), but it doesn't seem to help. He does this at naptime, too. I know he's tired, but he just won't go to bed. I read somewhere that I just need to let him scream it out alone in his room, but I've tried that also and he still won't stop screaming.

What do I do!? I feel so evil just letting him sit in his room and cry himself to sleep!

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Asked by xoxoKate at 1:23 AM on Nov. 20, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (6)
  • Does he talk much yet? He might be scared. You might try saying prayers with him before bed (if you are religious at all). Or maybe giving him a special animal that he sleeps with at night. If he has many words you should ask him why he is screaming. He might not know why. and that's okay. don't press the issue if he doesn't answer you. But if he does then it will help a ton.

    also, my DS did this same thing. I let him cry it out. they DO stop screaming.

    i'd like to add, that i do not believe in letting infants (a child under 1year) CIO. Toddlers are different. They are able to understand more and CAN BE manipulative.

    Answer by outstandingLove at 1:36 AM on Nov. 20, 2009

  • He could also be "over tired." My kids threw fits at sleep time if they were and it was hard to tell otherwise. You might try moving bed times up a bit? Good luck. I am NO expert, mine were both terrible sleepers! I did not believe in CIO or rigid "scheduling" but looking back, I sure paid the price for it! Years and years of sleep deprivation!

    Answer by momrocks1000 at 1:58 AM on Nov. 20, 2009

  • Kids tend to do this when they're over tired. I would put him to bed earlier and encourage naps. Sound thereapy machines also helped. Otherwise, let him scream.

    Answer by Ewadun at 5:46 AM on Nov. 20, 2009

  • Sounds to me like he's overtired, what time does he go to bed?

    Answer by Cynthje at 9:04 AM on Nov. 20, 2009

  • My son does this too. Always has,. We've tried rocking, reading, patting his back, over excerize, fresh air you name it.. we've tried it - he just turned 2 on the 8th and has good verbal skills but it doesn't seem to matter. we let him cry it out though - I think he really just does not want to go to bed. I have a nightlight in there now which has helped a little, the blue vapor nightlight seems to be more of a calming light than the normal ones, what I also started doing at 19 months which helped a TON is actually telling him "ok max its bed time now/naptime you get to sleep with your favorite blanket and your beaver and baby, then when you wake up, mommy will be here and we can make pancakes or play or go outside etc. and we will have so much fun but you first have to go to bed and we can do that when you wake up " somehow, letting him know this helped a!

    Answer by maxsmom11807 at 12:16 PM on Nov. 20, 2009

  • My son has been talking for quite some time now, but when I ask him why he doesn't want to go to bed he has no answer for me. I've tried telling him about all the cool stuff we're going to do in the morning; it worked at first, but not anymore.

    A sound therapy machine sounds like a good idea, I might give that a try.

    He goes to bed at 10, wakes up at 10, and naps for 2 hours at around 3PM.

    Answer by xoxoKate at 2:13 AM on Nov. 23, 2009

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