Help! My 22 month old will not sleep all night by herself

Jennifer - posted on 06/26/2010 ( 32 moms have responded )

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I put my daughter down at the same time and we have a bed time routine but everynight around 11:30pm-12:30am she wakes up and will not go back down by herself. We have tried letting her "cry it out" but that does not work for her we let her go for an hour and a half one night and she would not ease up. She will sleep great once I joined her in bed. Is this just a phase and I need to be patient or am I missing something? Please help...

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Casey - posted on 07/01/2010

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Hi Jennifer, I recently went through the same thing with my 22 month old son, he had me up and down all night and sometimes he would wake up and not go back to sleep for hours and letting him cry it out didn't work either, so I started to cut out his day time sleeps, I did it gradually so he didn't get to freaked out so I would still put him down for a sleep every second day untill he was used to it and now he doesn't go down at all unless he is really tired then I'll let him go down for only an hour but he hasn't seemed to miss the day sleeps at all so far, he is now going to bed at 7:30pm and sleeping right through the night untill 8:30-9:30am his also happier during the day and doesn't whinge at all. We started this 3 weeks ago and so far so good, it might be something to think about. Also I would try really hard not to make a habbit of getting into bed with her or letting her come into your bed as it is so hard to break that habbit later on, maybe try a night light and some soft music at night too, it could be worth a try, goodluck!!!

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Deborah - posted on 10/31/2012

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anika it may be winter but put on their wellies thick hats and gloves and take them out to the park. if they are at home use mentally stimulating games like building blocks or painting etc not too much tv helps. do reading or singing songs and nursery rhymes instead. have a routine of story time, play time, tv time etc.. mine always sleep better if they are tired. get your sitter to join your local childrens centre or toddler groups. that way they have stimlation and social interaction. it also gives her a little break as they will go off and play for short periods of time. above all no naps. (though at that age if they want to sleep its hard to keep them awake) good luck x

Deborah - posted on 10/31/2012

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i know exactly what you are going through. all four of mine used to get in our bed and my 26 month old and 4 year old still do. the problem is once you start it is hard to stop. especially if you have other children as you dont want their sleep interrupted because one is screaming all night. my eldest 2 grew out of it once they started school. my 4 year old is getting better but still crawls in on occasion. i just let it happen till they were old enough for it to be explained that it is not acceptable anymore. being pregnant at the same time is really hard but you can use the new baby as a reason. not by making your littlun feel replaced but by reassurance and firmness, good luck x we fund by getting in their bed one night, then the next night sitting on the edge of the bed, the next night on the floor and slowly backing out of the door worked for us, within two weeks of screaming and tantrums they soon realised it wsmt gonna happen anymore.

Anika - posted on 08/13/2012

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When it comes to my 2 1/2 year old son, it's very clear who's in charge when it comes to bedtime: HE IS, lol.

In an effort to establish a routine, we put all of our little ones (the 2 year-old plus 1 year-old twins) at the same time every night, which is 8pm. The twins appear to have gotten with the program--they fall asleep within 5-30 minutes of being put to bed.

My 2 year old is another story... No matter what we do, he's just not trying to go to sleep for us! We've given his sitter (who also watches the twins) strict instructions to keep him busy with no naps--to allow him plenty of stimulation during the day. I suspect the real issue that he's not getting enough excersize during the daytime, hence all the excess energy at bedtime. I realize that it's a lot to try to manage three small children with no help--I do it every weekend. Can anyone suggest some indoor and outdoor activities that would make it easy for my sitter (and me) to provide this kid with more activiities during the day?

Please help!!! I'm sleep-deprived, and DESPERATE to return to a normal sleep routine!!!

Sylvie - posted on 07/09/2010

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How long is her nap? she could be either overtierd or undertired. Waking for long periods usually indicates either or.

Tanisha - posted on 07/08/2010

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according to the sleep sense program by dana obelman, kids should go to sleep earlier rather thatn later to sllep through the night.. I was not necessarily a believer of this until i saw it in action.. My now 23 month old sleeps through the night when i put him down between 730pm and 930.. ironically if he is sleep at 730 he will sleep 12 hours, if he sleeps at 830 he will stay sleep til 530am and any later the time ranges to waking up as early as 330!! So I am definately a fan :) and it is much harder to get them to sleep on their own at that point.. for me i guess doubly hard because he is still nursing... He can self soothe to sleep ant daycare and in the middle of the night WHEN he goes to bed at an earlier time. but those early hour wakings.. he HAS to nurse back to sleep.. wishing you all the best with getting those toddlers to sleep :)

Renee - posted on 07/06/2010

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Are all of your kids going to sleep on their own at first? I can't even get my son to go to sleep on his own to start with. We take a bath, read, then I try to lay with him in his bed. He just wants to get up and play. We often have to rock him for an hour or longer. Sometimes he will fall asleep on the living room floor or couch. Then we'll put him in bed, but we sleep with him because he wakes up screaming during the night. We have tried letting him cry, but he makes himself sick. I am at my wits end. I teach, so I am off for the summer. I really wanted to get him going to bed on his own while I am off, but so far no luck.

Vivianne - posted on 07/05/2010

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i feel yo pain Jennifer, ma 22mnths goes thru da same at night but i think its because i have slept with her all her life.....at this moment im trying to wean her off breast completly so its even harder. just try to help her sleep off while u r carrying her and then put her to bed. you could even go to bed with her and then leave when she falls asleep. when she gets up u aint there, she cd turn alittle mek n few sounds then go back to sleep. u really have to be patient with her n take it one step at a time. in the long run, she will get used. donot push it n relax abt it.

Michelle - posted on 07/05/2010

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I had the same problem with my daughter for a while but I got sick of getting up when she should be able to sleep through by now. It took a few nights of being strict on her but she is now in a good sleeping pattern. Just need to be patient and stick to your guns.
When she would wake up and come into my room thinking she could get into bed with me I would get up straight away pick her up and tell her that its still time for nigh nighs and cuddle her on the way back to her room and put her back to bed. At the start she would get really upset and by the time I was back in my bed she would be on her way back to me, but I just kept doing the same thing talking less to her each time. After awhile she got the message that she had to sleep in her own bed and went to sleep (she was probably stuffed by then too). I was really tired for a few days but I stuck with it and after a few days she didn't bother trying to get up. Good luck!

Alicia - posted on 07/05/2010

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No answers...but a lot of empathy as my own little guy is waking up two to three times a night (pants change, bottle, reassurance) at this age as well...What's interesting is that his twin sister doesn't wake up at all...she has been sleeping soundly through the night for the past nine/ten months. I think he may be going through growth spurts as well - and may be a bit hungry with that first wake up. We made the mistake of letting him get up with us at 11 p.m. and are now paying the consequences! (= Either my husband or I will sit with the babies to put them down now that they are in toddler beds around 7:30 p.m. and usually have to be in the room with Xavier when he wakes up in the middle of the night in order for him to go back to sleep. More empathy/sympathy than suggestions today! (=

Alma - posted on 07/03/2010

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Read Good Night, Sleep Tight by Kim West. It works but you have to be patient. All the best!

Lori - posted on 07/03/2010

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Our 23 month old twins are doing this. One will wake up and if we can get upstairs to their room quickly and rub their back they will go right back to sleep. Otherwise, they scream and scream, often waking the other one up. Then they are up for a few hours.

Tammy - posted on 07/02/2010

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My daughter started doing that the day she learned to roll over, sit up and stand all in one motion, at 10 months (she'll be 2 on 8/1)!
It was a total nightmare until I figured out an easy solution, which I still can't believe that it works. My husband and I take her to the family room, we sit on the sofa and watch 20 minutes or so of baby shows on the Nick Jr. TV channel, then my husband puts her to bed and that's it; no more problems for the rest of the night! We are lucky that it only happens once a week and lately once every two weeks or so.

Anne - posted on 07/02/2010

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My daughter wakes up about the same time every night. We have tried letting her "cry it out" it doesn't work so I gave up. When she wake up at the middle of the night, WE, my daughter and I go sleeping in the living room. She will then sleep until morning!

Tracy - posted on 07/02/2010

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My son has rarely slept through the night so far in his 22 month life. We have tried cuddling, crying it out (he screamed for 6 hours one night and that was night 3 of the attempt!) and sleeping with him. We tried moving him into a big boy bed but that just made sleeping worse for everyone so we put him back in the crib. That isn't going to last much longer though he's getting too big.

What I find really frustrating now is that when he wakes up in the middle of the night if I go in I can't get out again without him screaming unless I cuddle him back to sleep and get him back in his crib without waking him. But if my husband goes in he just gives him a hug, tells him to lie down, covers him up and leaves. Silence. I understand that my son expects more comfort from me, but when I try to do exactly what my husband does the boy screams and is mad and will not go to sleep or be quiet. then in goes dad and a good sleep is had by all. So my advice is perhaps to try what is working at my house and send in dad, but eventually I hope someone can help me put my son back to sleep without all this fuss! Good luck to us all!

Kara - posted on 07/02/2010

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I think it's a phase because my 22 mo old is doing similar. Today he woke up at 5 am and was all ready to get the day started! Mum needed at least another hour. Growing so fast, nightmares etc. I would comfort her, give her hugs, cuddles, read a story and then give her a cuddly toy and tell her Teddy will watch over you and TRY to let her fall back to sleep on her own. I tell my little boy that it's time to go back to sleep etc. He sometimes climbs out of his crib and opens the door to come in our room, but I just consistently bring him back. 1st time-kiss goodnight and cuddle, 2nd time- Goodnight time for bed 3rd time just lead them by hand to their bed and tuck them in. It just has to be consistent. It is hard, but remember we are parents, nothing is easy!

Lisa - posted on 07/01/2010

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My twins do this as well. Typically, one daughter wakes up and won't go back to sleep without some serious cuddling. The other just requires a hand on her back & goes right back to sleep. I definitely think it's bad dreams. This age is known for kids' imaginations really developing, and they are beginning to be scared of things they see on TV or in books, which means bad dreams are also common around now. I think it's good to teach them techniques to get back to sleep on their own, but cuddling is good too because it's not like they woke up because they're bored. Daddy & I take turns putting them back to bed, and make sure they stay in their room until they feel better. We got them each a sleep turtle that shows stars on the ceiling, which they adore, and it's really helped. Good luck, you're not alone, & it won't last forever!

Renae - posted on 06/30/2010

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omg its great to c im not the only 1 my 6 year old has slept all night alone since she was born my 22 month old will not and has never lasted a hole night alone in her bed ive just givin up now and she gos to bed in her bed and i just move her to mine i think its the only way to get a hole nights sleep

BILLIE - posted on 06/29/2010

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I have the same problems and it started when I switched him from his crib to the big boy bed. It doesn't happen every night, but most of the times it does happen it's because he has had a bad dream or sometimes I think that he opens his eyes and realizes that he can just get up because he wants to. I am sure he did the same thing in his crib but because he could just hop out and run to my room, he would just go back to sleep. I really think it's all about time and patients.

Yhomaira - posted on 06/29/2010

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This is hard did you get her use to you sleeping with her all the time? I dont know I say let her get use to sleep in her room and keep a dim light on. I do that for mine sometimes I dont need it on since she's use to it.

Laura - posted on 06/29/2010

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I say three nights of crying it out, if you know she is dry, full, and safe, then she is ok. My little guy did the same at 21 months, he is 22.5 now, took some patience but he is now sleeping through most nights! I think joining her in bed is only starting another problem, but once again, it is completely up to you and your philosopy!!!!!! Hope your sleeping soon

Elizabeth - posted on 06/29/2010

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My daughter will not usually sleep threw the night but i just give her her cup with water and she oges right back to sleep

Candace - posted on 06/29/2010

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or it could be growing pains? i just thought of that, hope all goes well and take care

Candace - posted on 06/29/2010

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does your daughter have a favorite teddy bear? that might help, my daughter was like that a while ago now as well, after i while i asked her what she wanted and she said 'baby' and that is what she called her favorite teddy bear, its a wolf and usually after i give her, her 'baby' she lays down holding her baby till she goes to sleep, hpoefully you figure something out or get some good advice from one of the other moms =)

Anita - posted on 06/28/2010

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We co-sleep with our children, I sleep with our 22 month old son and my husband sleeps with our 12 month old daughter. It's the only way they will sleep thorugh. Even sleeping next to him my son will still wake up at least 3 or more times a night. I am sure he will grow out of it eventually and then maybe my husband and I can sleep in the same bed again!
Try giving her a bottle of water (in a baby bottle) when she wakes ?

Angela - posted on 06/28/2010

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My son is almost 23 months now but for the past month or so he's been the same as Aleah's daughter. My husband actually goes in and has for the last several months because we learned that if I go in it takes longer for him to go down because he wants me to rock with him and cuddle. With my husband, he gets a drink of water and lays back down on his own to fall back asleep. Some nights are worse than others (he's taking a LOT longer to fall asleep at night too and we think him being overtired has a lot to do with it). Anyway, the thing I did want to mention is another sleep problem phase we dealt with...We found out our son was afraid of the dark before he was 18 months old. It took a while to find a nightlight that worked for us but once we did, he would put himself back down just like he did before. Now if he wakes up and cries we figure he's had a bad dream or just needs assurance that we're there. I just recently read an article that said kids at this age are possessive of their parents and may need reassurance that they're there. I think that's what my son's going through. All it takes is for us to be there to reassure him and he goes back down...albeit sometimes for just an hour or 2 :) Anyway, I agree, try a nightlight and see if that helps any. She may just be scared. Good luck!

Aleah - posted on 06/28/2010

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I am having the exact same problem with my 22 month old. About half the time she wakes up once or sometimes even a few times per night. The other half of the time she sleeps great all night long. When she does wake up, it only takes a minute to get her back to sleep, but I still have to trek upstairs half asleep to do it. Sometimes I think the night wake-ups coordinate with teething, but not always. When will these night wake-ups end??? What is so scary in her sweet, safe bedroom that makes her wake up crying? I'm sorry I don't have any advice for you but at least we know we're not alone.

[deleted account]

Thanks for the post... I have the same issue... My Daughter wakes up about the same time every night gets out of bed and crawls carefully into ours. I don't wake up to it though because she doesn't make a noise. I usually notice her at 3am when I wake up for the restroom. I am prego now and really want her to sleep the entire night in her bed.

Tina - posted on 06/28/2010

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Oh boy- I remember those days...I never actually joined her in bed though...by doing so you have created an expectation that when she wakes- she squeaks- mommy comes and warms the bed and cuddles...

We ended up telling our daughter at about 18 mths that we where not going to come in at night...I showed her how to turn her bubbles and light on, where I stashed a cup of water and then we told her that she is a big girl and big girls sleep by themselves through the night...Also lots of praise for her the next day...As it worked like a charm...

We only run into those things now when she is sick or having a nightmare/ bad dream...



Good Luck to you!

Cassie - posted on 06/27/2010

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My son was going through it too. He's going through a growth spert now so he's sleeping through the night again but once that's done he may revert back. We usally go in give him his bink and lay with him. I was thinking the same thing that he was having bad dreams. So it's nice for them to get that reasurance. Pluse once they are older your going to think back to the cuddling. Another thing my son is waking up for is a diaper change, we wont fall back to sleep till his wet diaper is taken care of. And there are times he's hungry they are growing so much right now. Some times he just can't make it through the night. So when my son wakes up I give him a sippy of water and some crackers. Then if he keeps crying I change his diaper by the end of this he falls asleep :O) My son is behind in his language so I wil be so happy when he can tell me what he needs but for right now I'm just guessing :O) Right now it's hard and tiring because it takes away from your sleep and I feel you there :O) Then trying to get up for work in the morning is hard :O) No buddy warned me that the not sleeping would last this long :O) LOL Good luck they'll all out grow it :O) Some time :O)

Ashleigh - posted on 06/27/2010

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My 22 month old won't usually sleep thru the night either, I'm usually up 1 to 3 times a night. But i think his is mostly bad dreams, now we have gotten to a routine that most of the time works, I will go in, we hug for a minute or 2 and then he gets tucked back in bed. If he's still having a hard time falling asleep then we'll sing a song and that usually works. Maybe try sitting on the floor next to the bed until she falls back asleep. Also is there a night light in her room? I know my son finds it hard to sleep without any light. Or you could also try those teddy bears with the heart sounds, maybe she needs to think someone is in the room with her. Good luck!

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