Seeking Toddler Bedtime Advice

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I am in need of some toddler bedtime advice.  My 22 month old son, formerly known as “The Boy who LOVES to Sleep”, is suffering from terrible night-time separation anxiety. He’s having trouble parting with me at night, to go to sleep.

Toddler Sleeping Advice

For the last few nights, when I put him down per our normal bedtime routine, he starts whimpering immediately. If I pick him up and rock with him, an action I’d done previously with great success, he’ll fall asleep, but awaken crying the very moment I place him bak in the crib – no matter how careful I am.

Currently, we are coming in his room in intervals (right now about 20 min) to comfort him with a hug, pat on the back, and remind him it’s time to go to sleep – staying for no longer than one minute.  I’ve ensured his nap is no more than 1-2 hours, and ends no later than 3 o’clock – so that he’s tired at bedtime.

But, he is unrelenting. My husband says our daughter did the same thing -and I’m sure she did – I just don’t remember what we did to help her through this. Ah, the power of hindsight, I suppose. Oh, wait. I *do* remember. It involved laying next to her crib pretending to fall asleep until she actually did fall asleep. That plan didn’t work, because she would just stand in her crib and try to toss things on us, from her limited selection of things to toss from her crib. (This was NOT my idea, just for the record!)

Any advice? What would you do? It’s 10 o’clock, and he’s crying/calling out “I’m done, mommy. I’m done.” (meaning, he’s done sleeping and wants to get up)

I’ve scoured the books, but would love to also hear form some real parents who’ve been down this road. Thanks y’all!

Keep on saving!  :o)

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  1. Whitney says:

    Well, I have no advice to give. My son is getting ready to turn three. We have been fighting the bed time war since right before he turned two. That is also when he learned how to crawl out of his crib. We went through the same thing. He now has a big boy bed, either my husband or myself will lay down with him and we read a couple stories. I might sing a couple songs if he is interested and I wait for him to fall asleep. And every morning he wakes up around 3-4 a.m. and crawls into bed with us. I don’t make him go back to his room. I actually enjoy my early morning cuddle time with him. The truth is, I know it goes against most of the parenting advice offered, but I don’t care. How do you explain to a 2 year old that “I know you just want to be close to me, but you are going to have to sleep in here alone now”. I know he won’t be like this for long. Before I know it, he will be too big and he will no longer want my hugs and cuddles. So I stopped listening to everyone else and started doing what was best for us.

    I know this is not the help you are looking for. And I can completely understand how frustrating this is. I also have an 11 year old daughter. She NEVER had a problem sleeping on her own. But every child and every situation is different. I’m not saying my way is right for you or anyone else. Nor am I saying that finding a way for him to sleep on his own is wrong. I just wanted to share my story with you.

    • Barbara says:

      Thank you for sharing, Whitney. My daughter, now 4.5, was never a snuggler until she was around 2 1/2 or so. I always said “my next child will be a snuggler” – and he is. But neither are good at snuggling in the bed; they both wiggle and wriggle (and kick!), so bed sharing isn’t a good option for us right now. I can see, as he gets older, him coming in early in the morning to snuggle -just as his sis does now.

      Thanks again for sharing – you’re right. We each have to find what works best for our children, and for our families. And sometimes that means going against the grain, as long as we are keeping our kids safe – physically and mentally. 🙂

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