why does my 18 month old cry every night when its time for bed?

Stacey - posted on 03/24/2010 ( 17 moms have responded )

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my 18 month old always cries when u put him down at night. and he screams till one of us goes in there and holds him and lately its gotten worse. lastnight we had to go in there like 4 times and he didnt go to bed till after 11. n he still got up early the next morning. any advice or any1 knw why he does this? he used to be so easy to put to sleep at night

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Gail - posted on 03/24/2010

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if he is being held to much that could be part of the problem. he might be starting to realize if he cries that eventually someone will come in to him. it could be that at 18 months children want to explore and be a part of everything. so even though he is tired he doesn't want to sleep because he might miss something. so he fights it. which can become very difficult. try giving him a warm soothing bath before bed and a warm bottle of milk when you lay him down. it might calm him enough that he drifts off to sleep.

Catherine - posted on 05/08/2010

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Mine was doing the same thing, but we worked it out. I think it was two-fold, a peaking of a separation anxiety thing, mixed with some changes in the household. The smallest thing, (like introducing a new friend or habit during that day) seemed to unsettle him at night.
I gave it a week, lots of sitting there, shushing, patting the belly, etc. So, he felt safe. Then, I re-introduced the CIO. I didn't want him to feel scared, so I didn't CIO right away. But after a week of comfort, I figured he was ready. I would kiss him goodnight, leave the room, he would cry, 5 min later, I went back in, kissed him, rubbed his belly, said Mommy is here and loves you and then left again. He cried, I gave him 10 min and went in, same kiss and pat on the belly, and left. Did it again at 15min. It isn't easy, but he knows I am there, I love him, I won't just leave him, but I also wont just sit there until he decides he wants to sleep. He learns that I am near, but ultimately, he needs to sleep all by himself. It works. It took about an hour that night to get him to sleep. After 1 night, he was back to going to sleep easily.
Also, make sure his bedtime isn't too late, if they get overtired, stress hormones are released and it makes it harder to fall asleep. We go to bed no later than 7:30 and he wakes around 6:45. He takes one 2 hr afternoon nap.
Hope this helps! Take care, it'll get better!

Cassidy - posted on 03/27/2010

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My 18 month old started doing this when we took his bed time bottle away. With having another one on the way I didnt want there to be any bottle confusion. He is already in his bigboy bed, because he would climb out of his crib. i went and got a lavendar after shower bar, and rub some on his chest and back, and then i turn on his cd player, a cd we got from target called calming rain, it is a rain sound in the background, with some instruments, and we snuggle for a little while. i actually lay down in his bed with him. it makes him feel reassured, and i love the snuggles too. my husband and i take turns so he doesnt get used to just one of us.

Kimberly - posted on 03/27/2010

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That happened to me too, till I just stopped going back! Someone said they are testing their boundaries and figuring how long they can cry till someone comes-just let em cry it out! Its hard but needs to b done I think! Good luck

Cyn - posted on 03/26/2010

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This is exactly what my kid is going through, right now. Last night, I decided to not go in there yet again and let him cry it out and he fell asleep. The other night Daddy and I took turns and he we took him out of bed about 4 times until he fell asleep and that was a mistake, since we were so tired the next day. If he does it again, I will go in there and NOT take him out of his crib and try to calm him down and leave the room. I think, he is realizing that if he cries long enough someone will take him out of the crib and we don't want to go there, of course.

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Michelle - posted on 05/10/2010

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my son joshua has always been a pain sleeping its very rare if he sleeps though. He always wakes crying for dummy then a cuddle then sometimes a bottle. I try controled crying he just crys for hours until i feel sorry for him and cuddle him to sleep, then he wakes wen i put him down. Last night he woke up at 330am and didnt go back to sleep till 530 am.

Stacey - posted on 05/07/2010

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wow thanks for all the advice everyone!! i appreciate all of it. and a lot of it makes sense. maybe it is separation anxiety and another reason is like a lot of u said he doesnt want to miss anything and he fights being tired cuz he wants to stay up and play

Melissa - posted on 03/30/2010

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Gail if holding him was the case then he would have learned crying means being held. My daughter does it on occasion. Most of the time she does that and then wakes up in the middle of the night because she's in pain. Her teeth don't seem to bother her during the day but at night they seem to be so painful they wake her from sleep. Most of the time I forget this and just bring her to sleep with me and then when it stops she has a new tooth...lol. I would suggest trying to give him teething tablets and some tylonel/motrin. Maybe it's just his teeth. If that doesn't work the first night then it's probably not.

Kristy - posted on 03/28/2010

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My 18 month old daughter is going though this now, we are just getting her settled again, only lasted a short time. I think part of seraration anxiety is about confidence too, they are just discovering that they can do things on their own and dont always need you, but need to know that you will still be there when they do!! Boost their confidence during the day but be there for them at night & they will get over the fear. We just let her know we are there when she cries out, just from the door, we dont go in anymore. Hopefully she wont have any more bumps in the road

Jennifer - posted on 03/26/2010

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I feel your pain our eldest had this problem for 2 yrs. Every night crying for up to 2 hours. She just wanted us to be with her until she went to sleep. I was pregnant with my second and had to put her into a bed. For us that made the difference we made a big song and dance about a big girls bed and every night since then sleep has never been a problem. I only wish I changed her from a cot to a bed earlier than 2.5yrs now. Good luck I hope you find a solution soon.

Tabitha - posted on 03/26/2010

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This is so interesting. My daughter started doing the same thing. After about three weeks of trying different things she is finally going to sleep in her bed with little effort on my part. First I am keeping the lamp turned on while she is going to sleep. I also took a few things out of her room to decrease the stimuli. Then I started to play soft music(nature sounds and instramentals) That has been a big help to calm her down. Also. we are only giving her the pacifier in bed. My husband has been on me about taking this away for weeks so he is very happy about this part. I read her a short book or two and now she is going to sleep after about 10 minutes after she lays down. The only thing we have to work on now is getting her to stay asleep once she is down. The music turns off after about 30minutes and I cant decide if the light should stay on all night or should I turn it off. But she isn't screaming at bed time anymore. YAY!

Lakey - posted on 03/26/2010

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Our daughter has done the same thing on occasion. For her I think it is more that she is scared of missing something. She is very inquisitive and loves to be in the middle of everything. I have let her cry and usually she falls asleep after five minutes or so. Sometimes though she continues to cry and I just go in her room and reassure her that everything is okay and that we are still here. A couple of times I have had to rock her to sleep but that was not a habit I wanted to start, so I have only done that a few times when she is really worked up. I try to keep our bedtime routine the same every night so she knows what to expect. I think it is probably just a stage like everything else and will grow out of it. But I know it is hard and wears on your patience. At least it does for me. Good Luck.

Joelle - posted on 03/26/2010

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Funny. My daughter just started this crying thing at bed time a week or so ago. Last night I thought i'd be the tough mom and let her cry it out. Well...that turned out to be a mistake! She threw up from getting so worked up! I got her cleaned up and she was the happiest litte girl running around wile mommy was still cleaning the mess. So I guess i'll have to try some of the tricks above.

Catherine - posted on 03/25/2010

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I just went through the exact same problem, and I think it was separation anxiety. I had recently introduced a new sitter, and he took to her fine, but hours later when it was time for bed, he cried. I just gave him his usual hugs, and then stayed next to the crib for about 15 min, with my hand on his cheek until he was sleepy and slipped out. After a couple of nights, I did the same but shortened it to 10 min, then 5. He fussed a bit when I left, but soon fell asleep. The whole thing lasted about 2 weeks. Now, he's back to normal, no extra "hand-holding" required. He just needed some reassurance.

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We just went through something similar too.

Try to keep his routine as much the same as possible leading up to bed time. We had family visit and routines became a little lax, and well we paid for it.



We ended up adding what we call "snuggle time" to the end of the routine (bath, play, snack, brush teeth and story). Basically our son gets to choose which of his comfort toys gets to join him in which ever one of us is putting him to bed's lap in the rocking chair. He gets about 5 minutes of snuggle time in the dark with his stuffy and blanket being rocked. Then we lay him down in his bed. Reassure him that he's okay and tuck him in with his blanky and stuffies (bear, kitty and duck). We tell him that we will see him in the morning and to have sweet dreams.

We found the big fuss diminished almost entirely by the 5th night. And really 5 minutes of snuggles is a nice way for both child and parent to enjoy each other.



Also about a two months ago we had a similar crying thing happen before bed time and after a week we finally figured out (yay trial and error) that he was hungry. Which is why a snack got added into the routine. It should not have shocked us, he did drop his evening bottle at that point.



Take it one night at a time.

Good luck!

Danielle - posted on 03/24/2010

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Maybe he's going through some separation anxiety. We recently had this problem till we tried out this technique.

What we do when we put our little guy down is: after he is laying and situated we'll take a step back from his crib. He sees me there (stays laying, and calm) then I count to ten in my head, then take another step towards the door. I do that continually till I'm out the door. He sees that there is no need to panic, and Im not leaving him in this dark room by himself. Then once I get out the door I close it only leaving an inch or two open; leaving the hallway light on.

From that point on he is quiet as a mouse, and falls asleep.

Good luck. I hope this helps.

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