Sleep help for a toddler

My 21 month has decided she no longer wants to go to sleep at night time. She's fine whilst you're in there but screams the minute you leave (& I mean screams). We've had so many late nights because of it. Wed she didn't go to sleep till 10.30, Thurs was closer to 11 then on Fri I managed to get her down for 9. Last night we were at a firework display so were late putting her down & she went straight to sleep when we put her to bed at 10. Tonight it's been an hour already of my hubby & I taking it in turns to try to settle her. I've never liked sleep training & won't use any cry it out techniques but any other advice that has worked for anyone else would be helpful.

Maybe it's time to drop the daytime nap? Although she now only naps for around 1 - 1 1/2 hours after lunch (it used to be closer to 2 - 3 hours).



  • I'm in a FB group called "cry it out yourself" (anti CIO etc group) and on there I've been recommended toddler calm book to help with my E, who's very hit and miss.. I believe it's less about what you do at night, more the lead up to, and process do bedtime. I've not ordered yet, as I don't have time to read! But I intend to over Xmas. X

  • My DD is now 23 months but two months ago we went through hell with her sleep. She'd slept through since 5 weeks old, self-settled and only woke us if she was ill. Well, two months ago she screamed and screamed and screamed when we put her to bed. As soon as we left the room, she would scream. For a few weeks we tried settling her by staying in her room but it just wasn't working because she would wake as soon as we moved and scream, and we were starting to get ourselves in a hole with it. In the end, we just stuck to our normal routine with her and did controlled crying. A few days later she went back to normal. One of my DD friends went through the same at about the same time (born two weeks apart) so I think there must be a massive sleep regression at about that age. I don't think it was really it was the CC that sorted her, I think she was just coming to the end of the sleep regression cycle. I'm afraid it was horrendous for about four weeks. My DD still has her post-lunch nap so I think you might find it is a sleep regression and will fix in a few weeks. Sorry not to be more helpful but it might have to be something you ride out without getting yourself stuck in a routine that you don't want to be in *hugs*

  • J's sleep got later and later around the same age so I dropped her lunch time nap completely at 22 months. She didn't scream when we put her to bed but she clearly wasn't tired before the nap was dropped.

    Is it dark in her room? Maybe she doesn't like it. J had a night light which we always put on.

  • L never slept through on a regular basis until a few months ago (she is now 2yrs 4mths) she would cry/scream if I wasn't in the room - daddy is not good enough in evening/middle of night - we resorted to buying her a big girl bed, I will lie down with her after stories/lights out until she falls asleep (takes 20-30mins). If she wakes in night, she comes trotting into our room and I take her back, lie in bed with her until asleep. Its not ideal but it works for us. She just gradually started sleeping through 1 evening a week, then 2or 3... Then suddenly it was only 1night a week she waking (I do admit it was like a miracle!). She doesn't nap everyday either - we have to play that by ear because somedays,she is sooo tired by 5pm she grouchy&horrible!

  • We have never done and won't contemplate CIO /CC. Its quite unnatural for mammals young to be alone - no different for babies!

  • Thanks ladies,

    I was thinking of dropping her daytime nap but she seems so tired & grouchy & is much better when she's had her nap. Will have a look out for that book Little Madam. PottySue, I'm thinking it must be part of a sleep regression thing (or maybe teething). Kind of glad to hear that that are others of the same age in a similar position.

    Heartnurse, her room is dark but I've treid to leave the light on for her recently she kept saying 'light off' but last night we left the night light (motion sensor) on outside her room so maybe that helped. Tonight was ok, but we didn't try to put her down until a bit later due to work & other things. So maybe a later bedtime works!!

  • Over the summer o started doing exactly as you describe. A few weeks earlier we had taken the dummy away so I put it down to that but looking back think it was just coincidence. The only thing that worked for us was dropping the daytime nap. If she had even just 10 minutes we couldn't get her to sleep until after 9 at the earliest. We tried stopping her nap and she now goes to bed and straight to sleep around 6:30/7. We do have to stay in the room after her story but as soon as I start singing to her she falls straight off. It's hard her not having a nap as she can be a real grump in the afternoons and we've had a few incidents where she's fallen asleep in dinner. We also have to be careful about times we go out in the car which is very annoying but I'd much rather her sleep at night (not that she does all the way through all the time) and get an evening.

  • I my experience dropping the nap made P (23months) sleep worse at night so she naps again now. We are doing a very slow gradual retreat  with her now and I do the same at nap time, although that sleep is much easier now. I'm at the stage where at night she can't see me but if she calls for me I can speak to her. I'd persevere with something like that.

  • Do you have a strong bedtime routine? I.e. doing the same things at the same time every night so she knows to anticipate bedtime each night as having differing bedtimes each night could be really confusing for her? The thing with dropping the lunchtime nap is that once it is gone it is gone and you don't get bit of peace in the afternoon anymore! My oldest dropped her lunchtime nap about 25 months and it was a month or so of playing up at bedtime for a month or so before that really testing boundaries. Could you start reducing lunchtime naps to see whether that makes any difference - i.e restricting to an hour max? I'd be loathe to introduce a later bedtime as you'll lose your evenings and also when you do drop the lunchtime nap you'll have to bring bedtime forward again!

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