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Can anyone offer toddler sleep help? The sleep issues group never replied!

Posted by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 8:12 PM
  • 20 Replies

This is a repost from what I posted in the Sleep Issues group Saturday night.  No one replied and I'm finding that group is not really ideal for me.   What you're about to read was a repeat Sunday night, too.  Here's what I posted:

Things are getting bad and I am having major stress over this.  My son is 2 1/2 and way too smart for his own good.  But, now when it's bedtime, he won't go to sleep.  If I put him in bed, he won't stay.  He gets out, comes in the living room, makes excuses for why he doesn't want to be in his his room...go to sleep, etc.  He says he coughed or he needs a diaper change or the street lamp can see him...he doesn't like his pillow, doesn't like his room, is hungry.  You name it, he's used it as an excuse.  He wants the "big" (mommy and daddy) bed, wants to sleep on the sofa. 

When he has cried and I put him in bed anyway, he throws up.  Of course, then it's lights on, us cleaning up, changing his sheets, washing him, changing clothes,etc.

Tonight, he JUST fell asleep and it's almost 11 p.m.  We did the no talking and taking him by his hand back to bed.  It got so bad after about 10 times that he started making his body heavy so we had to drag him back to bed because he wouldn't walk.  This didn't work and only cause way more screaming and crying.  The only way I got him to sleep (the second time I tried this) was to sit by his bed, facing away from him and not talking until he fell asleep.  The first time I did this, tonight, he woke up as soon as I left his room and came back out.

The thing is, he is going to wake up (like he does EVERY night without fail) at 2 or 3 a.m. and come to our bed and sneak in.  I'll be asleep and he will wind up sleeping with us until the morning.

Has anyone else had such a trying time and does anyone have ANY suggestions?  I'm going bonkers and, honestly, it makes me very sad because he's very convincing about not liking his bed, his room...the list goes on and on.



by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 8:12 PM
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by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 8:21 PM

Wow thats a tough one. 

The only thing I can think of is to keep staying with him until he falls asleep.  And I hate to say it but there might need to be some sort of consequence for him when he keeps coming out of his room with excuses. Nothing severe but enough to let him know that you mean business when its bed time.

Maybe if its that he doesn't like his room you should talk to him about the room, or is it that he's scared of the dark,,,, if its just he doesn't like his room, try to make it special for him. But  he needs to know that you are serious about him being a big boy and sleeping in his room all night through.

If nothing else talk to his physician,,,,, my brother got his days and nights mixed up and that's who my mom eventually got help from.

Good luck.

by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 8:26 PM

No real ideas on the sleep thing, my 2 year old has always fought me! But what about putting tiny bells on the outside of his door. That way when he opens it up at night to sneak in, you will hear him.

by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 8:33 PM

Our dd is 2 and she was starting to come into our room a lot. So we bought a baby gate for her door so she can't leave the room and she goes and lays back down in her bed. We did have some crying and standing by gate  but she realized after a few nights that she had to stay in her room. Now she stays in her room and goes to bed and in the mornings after she wakes up she just yells ready to get up mom and I go get her out of her room. 


happy new year 2010

by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 8:37 PM

ugh why do i have the feeling i might have this issue soon lol. we just got our daughter a big girl bed for christimas. most night she does fine but then the same thing happens. at 2 or 3 she crawls into bed with us or sometimes she just wont sleep in hers at all (last night).  i would suggest taking him to the store and letting him pick something out that he likes for his big boy room. maybe even try a rewards chart for him staying in his bed. my daughter is only 21 months and doesnt get all that yet but when shes his age and if i still have that problem thats what i would try

by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 8:45 PM

i know this is weird but i have learned with all 3 of my kids that if i would let them lay down with me in my bed until they were sound i mean snoring drooling sound to husband would come and get them take them to their beds they would sleep good . If you lay down next to him do you snuggle with him were he can smell you. If so take a pillow case put it on your pillow for a night or two let it get your scent then put it near a stuff bear some where near so he can smell you and try one of the bears for newborns the mothers heart beat

by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 8:53 PM

My daughter is a little younger, she's almost 2 but we were having major issues getting her to go to sleep on her own and stay asleep all night. She was waking up 4-5 times a night and I finally said I couldn't do it anymore and we had to do something. So I happened to read in a magazine by chance that at that age they tend to start to get tired around 5:30 - 6:30 at night, if they stay up much later their bodies make a hormone to give them more energy. She was going to bed around 9pm, so I figured I'd give 7pm a try and see if that helped, and so far it seems to really be making a difference. We also started a strict, set routine. She has some milk (we call it night-night milk), then a warm bath, brush her teeth, then a lotion massage, we say prayers and I let her pick out a stuffed animal to sleep with. The whole time I repeatedly mention that we are getting ready for bed. Then I lay her down and walk out (with white noise in the background too). If after a few minutes she's whining I'll go back in and rub her back and maybe hum a song until she settles down then I leave her again. Sometimes I have to let her cry a little, but only for a few minutes.

Starting some sort of simple routine like that may be beneficial for your son. I think trying to get him excited about sleeping in his bed too by letting him pick out his own sheets or a special stuffed animal or blanket or a night light might help too. My dd doesn't get out of bed yet, but my boys did and we ended up needing a baby gate in front of their door as was already suggested to you as well. Good luck with whatever you try, just be consistent with whatever you do!

by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 8:53 PM

I'd like to know the answer to this one too!  My 2 year old has daddy so wrapped around her finger that she sleeps in the bed with him and since there is no room for me, I sleep downstairs in the guest room.  We were thinking of getting another bed and pushing it up next to ours so there is room for all 3 of us.. lol.   I miss my own bed but she does the same thing as your son... she will work herself up so much she has diarhea.

by on Jan. 27, 2010 at 5:43 PM

I am bumping this to see if there are any more replies or suggestions. bump

by on Jan. 27, 2010 at 6:04 PM

My answer is simple yet difficult at the same time.

Routine, Routine, Routine

He needs a routine in a bad way.  You need to figure out a routine that works for you and stick with it everyday, rain or shine, weeknights, and weekends.

First off, what is his nap schedule?  He should be up than no later than 3pm.  If he is going down for a nap at 4pm and waking up at dinner time, then of course he isn't tired at bedtime. 

Second,  he is using a lot of excuses that you could have taken care of before bedtime.  Make it part of your routine to already satisfy these requests.

For example:  

6pm  Dinner

6:30 - 7:00 Bath, Brush Teeth, Drink of water

7:00 Story Time, Cuddle Time

7:30 Bed Time

Once he gets up, simply return him to bed.  Don't talk to him, don't engage him.  Don't get mad, just act like a robot and keep it up.  

Last but not least, every time he comes into your room in the middle of the night get up and walk him back to his bed.  BS you sleep through it.  You just don't want to get up.  Get up!

It takes 10 days to break any habit.  Count on getting up every night for 10 nights with him.  The good news is that after those ten nights you will have years of a good sleeper.

by on Jan. 27, 2010 at 6:06 PM


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