Toddler crying (screaming) at bedtime.(21 Posts)
Any rays of light to shed on my situation welcomed...
My eldest is nearly 2 and has always been a great sleeper. I'm very good at routine, i.e I have always maintained the same routine of bath, story, bed at the same time each night, in the same setting (bedroom). His bedtime has changed over the months as his age has changed, but has always been around the 7pm mark.
Up until today he's been having a midday nap of around 2 hours. But recently (a couple of months) we put him down to bed and for a large proportion of those nights he cries/screams himself to bed. It will be over various reasons: he wants another story (if he gets one it isn't enough), he wants his toothbrush, he wants more milk. Always something, and no amount of talking or giving in to his whims helps. He eventually cries himself to sleep. If he does go down with ease, he may wake up sometimes in the early hours crying for no apparent reason. No amount of comforting, reorientation, medication seems to help him. We find ourselves having to leave him to it to calm himself down. Sometimes I feel likes our presence makes it woese. Occasionally he has a nightmare and his behaviour is different when it is that.
So today I decided that maybe he doesn't need his nap. And he got through them day ok, but became ratty earlier than usual, so we put him down
Didn't finish that yet! Yes, we put him down earlier as he became tired earlier and I was hoping we wouldn't hear from him until morning. But he woke up half an hour ago crying. We didn't have to intervene, but how can I get the balance right with not getting him so over tired that he's struggling to sleep and giving him too much sleep that he's unable to fall asleep in the evening???? Or can anyone see anything else? Or is this just what toddlers do? I've thought about diet too, but will wait and see what you say before I give you the history on his eating habits!
Maybe a shorter nap during the day? Or an earlier nap? My DD was like this for a while but it was because she was jealous her new baby brother, so I know how frustrating it is.
Sounds like he's going through the difficult transition period of dropping the afternoon nap. Maybe try giving him just a 45 minute nap in the day?
We have had similar issues with our toddler. What's working for us at the moment is when we put her to bed, I say to her 'Good night. I'll come and check on you in 5 minutes.' And I leave the door ajar so she knows I'm coming back. When I go back in 5 minutes I give her a kiss and she settles almost immediately.
It is unfortunately a phase that they all go through. Stay strong - don't give in to his demands, and be consistent!
We enjoyed exactly this phase!
Someone wisely said it's to do with them being more aware of what everyone else does after they've gone to bed + generally wilful 2 year old-ness + huge developmental leap.
Nearly all of them still need naps (we tried the same - nap or none made no difference to bedtime and just made the end of the day very fraught!) so I wouldn't go cutting it if I were you. But they're all different...
Ours did bedtime shenanigans for about a month max at about 2 then stopped. Hopefully it's just a phase for you too - just stick to your guns and don't be persuaded to play the game!
Also second earlier nap and we also found leaving the door ajar helped.
TicTac, was it definitely sibling jealousy? How did you know that was the problem with sleep? He has a new(ish) baby brother also - my youngest is just under 5 months.
Ooh that's interesting re siblings though - we're expecting baby sister any day! Wasn't that causing it for us but wonder if it'll happen again... Bloody hope not!
Sat in my nearly 2 year old's bedroom wondering exactly the same thing. She's been fine at bed time for months and months but the last couple of weeks we have screaming hysterics. Good to know its a normal phase but annoying nonetheless!
Thanks guys - Yeh really unsure about dropping that nap. What I find is he doesn't tend to want to go to sleep till relatively late in their day, then he sleeps for ages. If I wake him early, he is royally pissed off. And he's such a drama queen!!!!!!!!! The only way to appease him is to have a snack ready for him when he wakes.
Really nice to know he's just (hopefully) going through a phase.
Reassurance does not cut the mustard wit him either. We leave the door ajar, tell him we're not far, loads of kisses, cuddles and love.
Well I'm about 99% sure it was because of the new baby. DD has always been a bad sleeper but a month after the baby came (and realised the baby was here to stay) she started waking up about 6 times a night, screaming at bed time, waking up screaming and refusing to let me or (especially) DP to settle her.
I tried everything except cc/cio. The baby is nearly 4 months now and she started sleeping through and going to bed without the screaming about 4 weeks ago.
Thanks TicTac, wasn't questioning your judgement - just curious how you knew. He was fine with his sleeping when little brother was born, just seems like the last couple of months he's become rubbish at consistently remaining asleep. And as I say, wouldn't mind if he responded to comforting - I'm awake anyway with my little cling-on! But he just gets more annoyed that we've gone to comfort him only to leave again. We'd even be happy if he slept in our bed, but he doesn't even like that! Fussy little drama queen!
I think it's one of those damn phases again I'm afraid. Our brilliant sleeper has been a nightmare since just before two. We now have to sit in his room until he's asleep, and he's waking 1-2 times in the night too. I also remember a recent phase where he would be very unsettled at bedtime, and would also wake screaming in the evening. It passed
wish this one bloody would .
As for nap, I agree with pp that nearly all toddlers this age do need one. Ds (26mo) has just started sleeping LONGER during his nap, for the first time in his life! (45mins before, now 80-90mins)
My DS did this at around 18 months. He just seemed very upset and unsettled for some reason. Nothing much had changed but I was 5 months pregnant at the time. I just cuddled him in his room til he was settled. He went back to his usual sleeping after about 4 weeks.
We had this and thought dd was over tired. After a week or so of trying different things we cut her nap from 2 to 1 hour. This worked and she went back to normal. It happened again a few months later so we went to 30 minutes....etc until no nap (weeps).
Weeping at the thought of no more naps! Will try and cut them down. He's stirred and moaned twice since going to bed tonight. Poor soul. He hasn't got enough words to tell me what the problem is. Thanks again for all your support - nice to know we're not cocking it up left right and centre. X
I'm sure it will just be a phase and your DS will get back to normal soon. It's so frustrating when they don't sleep, especially when it seems like everyone else's children are perfect sleepers!
Does he sleep from 12 till 2? If so, I'd go against most posters on here and try his nap a little later, say 1 till 3 or 1 till 2.30 which should be 2 sleep cycles. He could just be overtired by bedtime, 5 hours is a long stretch for a busy toddler
He used to sleep from 12 till 2, then he began to be unable to sleep so early. So now I put him down between 1 to 1:30, and he sleeps until nearly 4 sometimes!!!! If he sleeps that late I put him to bed at 7 with the hope that he chills out on his own with his books and toys for a little while before dropping off. (He used to like doing this). But more often than not now, he just gets upset at us leaving the room no matter what we do.
I know that's such a late time to sleep till. If I wake him he's really annoyed, so I worry that I've disturbed his sleep cycle. Just can't get the balance right! Trying to remain consistent, but the goal post keeps getting moved! Incidentally, he slept really well last night after two early episodes of moaning before we went to bed. Currently singing 'twinkle twinkle' at the top of his voice in his bed!
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