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How do I stop my toddler screaming at bedtime?



  • WOW, I feel normal now.  My son's been doing the same thing for the last few nights.  He's been driving my husband and I crazy, even now, as I sit here, I am listening to him screaming in bed.  It's great to see that I'm not alone and that it is normal.

     You always think that you are so lucky to have a child that doesn't fuss at bedtime, then all of a sudden, it changes and you wonder what evil spirit has taken over your little angel.

    Thanks everyone for making me feel like it's OK to let my son scream and that I'm not a bad mom for it.

  • i am sat here tears strolling down my face im just tired and fed up of it all i have a 2 and a half year old who is such a madam even through the day and bedtimes are a nightmare i live in a flat so when she comes to her bedroom door to her safety gate she can see me in the room so i have to hold her door shut otherwise i would be there all night closing it i feel awful for it but what choice do i have and she is a total daddys girl anyway she just does not seem to like me i guess its because im the one who deals with her tantrums because he works so when hes home all he wants to do is play i have a 6 year old son who is great listens and behaves but i feel like i failed when it comes to my daughter i dont know how to handle her iv never come across stubberness like it even if noone replys it was nice to get it off my chest x
  • Hi Lisa, hope your little girl lets you get some rest tonight, its not nice listening to them cry night after night.

    My eldest is now 5 and seems to have outgrown the screaming at bedtime now, my middle daughter sleeps like an angel and can actually have the bed taken from under her without waking up!  My youngest daughter is now 22mths and following in her eldest sisters footsteps.  I'm waiting for her to settle down now, I'm just glad she hasn't yet managed to escape her cot!

    I found that my husband was always letting me deal with the tantrums and made him do it too so that she knew mummy and daddy both didn't like it and were not going to let her get away with it, I also made a huge point of praising her well behaved sister for being good whenever the eldest started the screaming and tantrums and she soon started to calm down so I would tell her well done for being quiet too.  I also tried going in and out of her room with laundry at bedtime and not giving her time to get up before I told her well done for staying in bed and gradually took longer between returns, it was time consuming for a few weeks but seems to have done the trick and she would usually fall asleep waiting for me to come back, at breakfast time I always make a point of saying I went in and gave them another kiss and they were good for being in bed and asleep.

    I put a nightlight in the room and a selection of books and very quiet toys and told them if they wake up they can play quietly and look at the books but if they make lots of noise I will take them away, some nights I can go in and find one of both my older girls looking at their books until 9.30pm and my youngest has started to take her favourite doll to bed for if she wakes up although she tends to do it at 3am!  Its good for a bit of a lie in at the weekend too.

    One of my friends with 5 kids swears by turning the door handle upside down like they do at playgyms so you have to push the handle up to open the door as until they are 4 yrs old most children don't seem able to open it and so go back to bed, maybe you could try it?

  • thanks for your reply if things go bad again maybe i will try that but for some reason im not counting on it lasting forever but the night after i wrote this she went to bed and went straight to sleep and has done every night since i am in shock at the transformation maybe she finally realised she was not going to win and would be made stay in her room i still get the tantrums through the day i cant really get my partner to discipline her as he works loads and normally hes only here in a morning and shes eating breakfast so is good then lol and on his days off she is not as bad i know she is playing up just for me but iv come to realise she is 2 i am the adult and her silly tantrums will not work and i will not let them wind me up or upset me x x x x
  • Hi all, new to this site and so glad I found this thread because it just proves to me how many parents out there are going through the same problems I am.


    My daughter is nearly 2 and on and off since I tried to sleep train her at 13 months old she's had periods of tantrums. This week has been one of them.

    I slacked a little this past month going back to the rocking, lullaby, feeding routine again. I guess I felt guilty for leaving her to cry even for a moment. I wasn't as strong as I had been months before when I could handle the sound. Just...

    But now I'm completely weaning her off. She's been off milk for a few days (breastmilk that is) so I can't use that as a soother anymore. I'm kind of glad it's given me the kick up the behind I need but I still can't stand the crying! Or the screaming! It kills me. image

    Right now I'm upstairs, on my laptop, getting ready to shove the headphones in my ears and put the volume on loud so I can drown her out. Is that so horrible? image

    It's taken about half an hour and now she's stopped. She's quiet, but will probably stop and start again until she falls asleep. Anyone get that long continuous crying and then the minute or two of silence before they start and stop again for a bit before you're sure they're asleep?

    What would you all say is the limit you should let them cry it out? Sure every baby/toddler is different and you can read their signs but I always feel anxious about leaving her to cry continously for anymore than half an hour. Fortunately she never has been that determined.

    Hello, my name is Louise and I'm a baby addict- I mean, mother. I'm a MOTHER.

  • Hi everyone, glad to see we are not alone, our 19 month old little madam has recently started to go into a screaming fit which can last up to 4 hours every night at bed time.

    Previously she had a fantastic routine but has never been a though the night baby.

    We have used controlled crying before with success but up until now she hasn't been able to climb out of her cot from quite a height or bash her chin against the cot bar in a fit of anger, this has resulted in a nasty bruise.

    I don't feel she is ready for a 'big bed' and suspect it would make getting her back into a routine even harder.

    We have no idea what to try next?

    Any success stories shared would be fantastic!

    Thank you.ll/
  • I am so pleased I found this forum. My husband and I are struggling with our 20 month old. Like each of your toddlers, she has had a great bedtime routine and has gone down in the past very easily (apart from when she's poorly). All this has changed, and she screams and fights us whenever we put her in her cot. I have recently taken away the bed time bottle as she was constantly waking throughout the night and asking for more. It seemed easier just to put and end to bottles altogether. Prior to reading this, I thought that may have been the trigger, but I now believe that it is definitely a 18 - 22 month spat which some toddlers seem to go through.

    The last month has been hell and it got worse last week when we were away and she spent the week in our room. We've tried CC, PUPD and rocking her to sleep and staying with her, stroking her head until she goes off. She is like the duracel bunny and just keeps going! Today, after reading this, we decided to go with the cry, cry, cry theory and let her cry herself to sleep. My head hurts from the stress and my ear drums hurt from the beating, but I am determined to get my happy and calm little girl back. The plus side is that I finally feel like I have some direction and that we will get through this.

    If you are going through this right now, I wish you luck and hope it ends quickly. Stay strong people, we won't be beaten by a toddler!

  • I too am glad I found this forum. I find comfort in the posts written in 2009! My daughter just started crying, and I wanted to know if this was "normal" behavior. It is so difficult to hear her cry, and with such passion.

    Thanks for the support.

  • I have twin 21 month old girls and one of them is a screamer. I'm here doing an Internet search on what's normal and what advice is being given to parents in similar situations. It seems like there isn't a night that goes by that she doesn't stand, bounce, scream and cry in her crib. Her and her sister are in the same room, in adjacent cribs and my other little girl sucks on the satin lining of her blanket and is perfectly quiet EVERY night. These are my first and only kids so I have nothing to compare them to except each other. 

    Like almost everyone else, I'm frustrated and exhausted from the stress of not being able to calm her. Of course if my husband and I even begin to think of getting intimate, she senses it and starts the routine all over again and ruins our "us" time. It's been putting us in a difficult situation for many months and there seems to be no end in sight. She has just started to learn that by saying "poo-poo" that will get me to come back in to check on her (clean diaper or not.)

    I've been sitting here reading and writing for about 30 minutes listening to the tantrum and she has finally stopped. I guess the "let her cry" method is the only option anymore. I'm trying to learn how to tone down my natural "mommy instincts" that make my "mommy feelings" hurt while she's in the middle of her tantrum. My other worry is for her sister in the bed next to her. She's always been so quiet... I wonder if she lays there wishing her sister would just go to sleep as I do.

  • Hello,

    I am new here and i am hoping someone can shed some light on what it going on with my 27 month old daughter. normally, she naps approx 2 hours a day and sleeps from 8PM to 7ish. Currently, she has 2 molars working their way through. About 5 months ago she went through a big sleep regression. She stopped napping and would wake in the middle of the night and SCREAM...not whining or crying but full out screams. Ultimately we had to let her cry it out. Due to an intolerant neighbor I had to take her to my parents house to let her cry. After about a week things went back to normal. Fast forward to a couple of nights ago and she is back at it. Crying it out in the middle of the night is not an option as our upstairs neighbor will stomp on the floor and its quite frightening for our little one. Yesterday i skipped her nap in the hopes that she would be so tired last night that she would go down easily and sleep through the night. Not so...she screamed for an hour in her crib before finally falling asleep while standing in her crib. Its heart breaking to watch over the video monitor and to listen to. Eventually she lied down and slept until 4:15. At 4:15 i brought her into the living room where we basically stared at eachother until an acceptable breakfast time. Its too similar to our situation in October to blame it on the molars. I can't take her to my parents this time to let her cry...what should I do?!?!

  • Hi there every one was wondering if I can get advice. I have a 16 month old girl, now 2 day out of 7 when her dads off work she is currently playing up at bed time, she can go on screaming to the point where she is very stressed and makes her self sick, we do no there's nothing wrong with her as iv tried bringing her down and seeing to her nappie, bottle hugs ect , soon as she is down she goes quite not a peep. Soon ad we put her back to bed it all starts again with constantly screaming I really don't no what to do anymore I need help xx

  • Hi there everyone I'm having problems with my 16 month old, 2 nights out of 7, when her dad has his days off, she plays up in bed and can scream for up to 3/4 hours till she gets her own way to come down stair, we no there's nothing wrong with her as when she is down stairs you don't get a peep out of her, soon as she goes back too bed she starts getting her self stressed and sometimes make her self sick. We have ran out of ideas with her and is needing help x

  • Wow it's amazing to read on here that so many of us go through similar situations. I need advice as well. My almost 21 month old has started crying at bedtime with some screaming kicking and hitting. Also did I mention I'm an elementary teacher who is  currently a single mom since hubby works 2 weeks away and home for two days then two weeks away and so on.  It's hard and frustrating to hear my LO cry and scream as we try to fall asleep. He used to sleep in his crib but then he got accustomed to sleeping with me when daddy's away at work. However he still throws fits at bedtime and I'm not sure what to do anymore. I literally just bawl too sometimes. There's so much to get done like get lunches ready and clothes and all for babysitter, feed dogs, try to do lesson plans, edit pictures (I'm also a photographer) and much more.  How can I do it??????? What time?????? Let alone take a shower image PLEASE HELP SOME ADVICE?????!!!!

  • I have a 21month old girl sleep has always been great at going to bed but the past week she has screamed the house down at bed for an hour I'm trying the cry it out routine hope it works 

  • Goodness... And breathe. We have a very spirited 16 month old daughter who is nothing short of challenging these days... I come to this feed as we have been trying to settle her to sleep after almost 2 hours of various methods of trying to get her off to sleep. She used to be perfect and we were quite smug about her night time routine... Karma!! Now each night is a battle of wills. She now avoids the routine we've had in place since she was tiny... We can no longer say 'bed' or 'bath' without a meltdown. We are at our wits end!! We've tried cio which seemed to work perfectly for a few nights... Max 20mins of going in every 3-5 mins... Unfortunately she has figured this all out and now just screams, it's awful!!

    I just want someone to tell me what the magic answer is to this... She is teething but shes fine until the b words are mentioned Or we go upstairs... 


  • I'm so glad iv found this site, as a first time mum I panicking sometimes if I'm doing things right. As like the rest of you my boy has been brilliant sleeper he even tells you when he wants to go to bed by taking your hand lol. Although the last 3 days he has been screaming when I leave him, paddying, kicking the door everything. Left him crying trying to be strong and he then goes to sleep, my husband is softer than me and he is currently in his room reassuring him and he seeks out of room when's he's asleep as he thinks I'm being mean. 

  • My daughter just turned 2 on the 13th and now she dosent even wanna go in her crib for bedtime I say bedtime starts crying an screaming so loud and I just put her to bed with her screaming she dosent stop she stops for 2mins or so then she starts again, ive tried to take her out an she's all fine when where in the living room , she's smiling but once I try an put her to bed she just flips out .. I'm stressing an don't even know what to do.. Help anyone ?? 

  • Ok my grandson is 24 months and has screaming matches wen I put him in his cot. I have tried lying with him, singing, and story time thing which he likes... As soon as I shift him into his cot, his siren goes off, legs kicking, pushing my hands away, and the high pitch piercing wail. I have resorted to a bottle just to calm him down but he won't have a bar of it. He protests and demands out of the cage... He will start spluytering and coughing which stresses me out. I have have tried lying with him on my bed even, however I fall asleep and awake to little toes up my nostril, and a few times I haveits him on my bed, which I panic about. So dilemma is he has turned into a cute little weir wolf. He does eventually go to sleep after an hour, but I feel as if, it is battle of the wits... Suggestions please on how to tame my little wolfie... 

  • Hi it is a shame about your neighbor... My grandson has only just having screaming matches which kinda had thrown me... I have broken rules and lay him on my bed the other night, sung some songs and I just kept very calm and closed my eyes, he cuddled in and within 15 mins he was fast asleep and I put him into his cot. But tonight he wud not settle, and had a banana, so I had to put him in his cot. He screamed the house down but eventually went to sleep after an hour... Hard going so I share ur concerns... No hard solutions as it varies fr day to day...

  • hey my daughter 21 months she was brill when I used to put her to bed she would never cry, but 3 weeks ago she started crying every time I put her to bed for over 1 hour now it on l5 have to be crule to be kind. Let him cry it out, as my mam always said on e there fed, winded, nappy changed, not sick let them cry it out u have done everything . I still find it hard to let her cry it out but it is the best way. Hope this helps

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