Bedtime is a Joke (Not a debate)

Sarah - posted on 04/13/2011 ( 24 moms have responded )




Someone please help me before I lose my mind. My 18 month old son thinks bedtime is playtime & it sometimes takes me hours to get him to sleep. We've already transitioned him to a toddler bed (BIG mistake) & he will NOT stay in it.

I've tried the whole bedtime routine thing with him & I haven't had any success with that either. I don't know...maybe I gave up too soon, because I didn't see results fast enough??

Sometimes I've had enough & I just give in & let him sleep with my husband and me. The only problem is that our bed is only a double & my son tends to kick my husband in the back all night. No one gets any sleep! Help!

How in the WORLD do y'all get your toddlers to sleep? And how do you get them to stay in their beds/rooms?


Krista - posted on 04/14/2011




Yeah, my little guy gets all wound up after supper and starts running around like a lunatic. We just roll with it and chase him around the house and try to get as much of it burned off as possible. Once he starts quieting down a bit, we bring him for his bath, and will play in the tub, but more quietly. Then it's jammies and toothbrush and kisses. I used to settle him, but he's going through a clingy phase, and wouldn't go to sleep, so we did a switcheroo and now my husband reads him his stories while rocking him, and then settles him in bed, and it works pretty well. He might fuss for a few minutes, but for the most part, it goes smoothly.

Try deciding upon a routine and sticking with it, but just for the heck of it, try having your husband settle him -- see how that works. Plus, it's nice bonding time for him and Daddy.

Charlie - posted on 04/13/2011




Cooper was in his toddler bed at 12 / 13 months old , he doesnt have a set bedtime , he goes to bed when I see he is starting to get tired then I read a few books and he is asleep .

The secret to getting my child to sleep is to not even try if he isnt tired , do it when his body is saying its time to sleep which is usually around 8 :30 .


View replies by

April - posted on 04/14/2011




I nurse Zach for naps and bed. He's out like a light after 10 minutes of nursing. I don't know how long we will be nursing to sleep, but it works, so I'm sticking with it!

He has a crib in our bedroom, and is only an arm's length away. I usually go to bed right after him or within the hour, so I think he doesn't fight bedtime because he knows I will be there shortly.

Bedsharing doesn't sound like a fun option for you and your family. I can totally relate. On desperate nights (my son nurses alllll night), I sometimes bring him to bed with me. He sleeps through the night in our bed, but WE don't! It is a full sized bed and he takes up 2/3rds of it! My husband is smooched up against the wall and I'm in the middle being kicked all night!

PS. I think this is just a phase that will pass. For a while, our son thought bedtime was playtime/ a joke but he grew out of it within a couple months.

Sal - posted on 04/14/2011




bed time has always been a struggle at our house, but what i don;t think i could live without is a cd player with stories or gentle music on it, we still have our bed time routine, teeth, story cuddle but when i put the little ones to bed they choose a cd and i turn the lights down and they just lay there and listen quietly, it doesn;t work 100% of the time but makes a big difference usually at least 1 will be alseep in half an hour (which is a huge improvement) we just borrow new cds from the library every week or so..

Ez - posted on 04/14/2011




I moved Milla to a single bed at 22mths and it definitely changed the bedtime ritual around here. When she was in the cot I could simply cuddle for a few minutes on the lounge to wind down, then put her to bed and that was it. Once in the big bed, I had to lay with her, pat her, sing to her etc. This process really only lasted about 10mins, and I was fine with that. Some nights she wanted to cuddle on the lounge and go to sleep there, and that was ok for us too. But it's been 4mths, and now she is happy to go into her bed and just go to sleep. It just took a bit of time.

Oh and her bedtime is 8-8.30pm. I would love her to go to sleep a bit earlier, but it just doesn't happen.

Sarah - posted on 04/14/2011




@Sherri & Kati - We don't have the crib anymore. His crib got really damaged whenever we were moving, so we thought we'd try out the toddler bed. Thanks for the advice, though. :)

Rosie - posted on 04/14/2011




he may be to young for his toddler bed. come kids just don't deal with it very well until they are older. maybe put him back in the crib? other than that i don't know, my kids have always been pretty good in their transitions. one got up a bit, but i just got him and put him back in and firmly told him to stay in bed.

Bonnie - posted on 04/14/2011




We usually help them get changed for bed, they have some fruit, then brush their teeth. My boys (especially my 2.5 year old) will not stay in his bed if he is not tired. After their bedtime routine, we just let them cuddle on the couch with either mommy or daddy and most nights by 8:30 or 9pm they are asleep. Then we just transfer them to their beds. We don't close their doors all the way, but we pull them almost shut. My 2.5 year old is a light sleeper compared to my 4.5 year old.

Mel - posted on 04/14/2011




Our daughter had her door shut until recently (light sleeper) so no problems with staying in her room however she did go thru stages of crying for hours refusing to sleep. We stayed in bed with her for short times or lay on the floor but infortunately being a light sleeper she woek as soon as my husband moved or snored or tried to leave. It seems like something they just have to grow out of, when I had my second baby brianna cried more then paige and I was too tired to get up in the end. I lost track of what was real and what crying was in my head. I dont have any real suggestions except those, but did find its just stages she went through, much like agian now , at 3.

Jenn - posted on 04/14/2011




My girls tend to goof around in their room for a bit before they go to sleep, but I just leave them unless they get out of the room. After a while they climb back into bed and go to sleep. My son was the same way, except because he was alone in his room he would try to get out of his room. I had to just keep taking him back to his bed SEVERAL times (I wouldn't talk to him, just walk him back), and it took a little while, but he finally realized that he had to stay in his room.

Sarah - posted on 04/14/2011




@Tracie - that's what my husband suggested too. He thinks my son just has waaaaaay too much energy & needs that chance to run it off lol. I'll have to give it a try. Thanks! :)

Sarah - posted on 04/14/2011




@Jane - Thanks for the suggestion about the crib. I honestly WISH I could go back to the crib, but it's long gone now. His crib got really damaged when we moved, so we thought we'd try out the toddler bed thing. I suggested to my husband that we get another crib (and already have it for our next child), but he doesn't want to spend the money. :( I'm also afraid he'd start trying to climb out of it too. ::Sigh::

Tracie - posted on 04/14/2011




sounds like he's got the energy most toddlers have and need to 'run off' at the end of the evening. It's the same in most households around the dinner-time frame, If at all possible get him outside running it off (dads can be great for this) a tickle session, a roll around, a bike ride... etc either before or after dinner, Then home for a bath, milk, brush teeth maybe a story or two, then get that little dude into his bed 7.00-7.30 he should be well relaxed by then and ready for his sleep, good luck, they've all got this need to expend the last of the days energy- remember to kick those shoes off and feel the earth!! kids love it, :-)

Jane - posted on 04/13/2011




Well, I'd suggest going back to the crib. I think he's too young to be in a toddler bed because of exactly what you're going through. I was VERY blessed with sleepers but they didn't transition to a bed (went from crib to double beds - we didn't do the toddler bed thing) until about 2-1/2 and by then, we were able to easily communicate that they needed to stay in their rooms, in their beds. But, my kids were and still are SLEEPERS (21 and 17 now) and they were never allowed to sleep in our bed...never.

Again, if you can, I'd go back to the crib.

Sarah - posted on 04/13/2011




@Teresa - Thanks :) My son & I co-slept most nights from 9 or 10 months until just a few months ago. And even now we still co-sleep occasionally. I don't mind co-sleeping with him, honestly, but my husband has a hard time getting any sleep. My husband says that Ethan is always "crowding him out." lol. I guess I just need to learn how to be consistent with him & make up my mind to either let him sleep with us or put him in his bed.

[deleted account]

My girls were always good night sleepers and my son and I still co-sleep (though he's usually not in my bed), so I don't have any help to offer. Good luck!

Sarah - posted on 04/13/2011




@Dana - Yes, my son usually falls asleep pretty well in the car. Although the other night I tried to drive him around to get him to fall asleep, but it just didn't work. :( I think it just depends on the day.

@Amanda - I was thinking about using a baby gate. We have one, but it doesn't connect to the door or's one of those 6 panel ones. I'll have to give it a try. So far he hasn't tried to climb over the one we have lol.

Amanda - posted on 04/13/2011




Why milk at bed time? I would first drop the glass of milk, and keep a routine. If he leaves his room put him back without a word other than "Its bed time good night". Eventually he will get the concept that bed time is sleep time.

~Jennifer - posted on 04/13/2011




I don't / didn't have much of a routine. Bath, book, bed *close door*

Sarah - posted on 04/13/2011




I try to watch for his "sleepy cues" & can usually catch them during the day for his nap. But, night time is definitely the challenge. I thought he started showing signs of getting tired around 7:00-7:30 this evening, so I got him ready for bed so I wouldn't miss that "window of sleepiness." I got his sippy cup of milk & we sat down in his bed together. As soon as he was done with his milk he started being silly & climbing around the bed like a monkey. I just thought to myself "Oh good lord. Not another night of this." Sometimes he doesn't start acting sleepy until 10:00 or 10:30 at night! But, I know it's probably because he gets to that "overtired" point.

Amanda - posted on 04/13/2011




Babygate!! :0) If your son already climbs them, why not let him fall asleep cudding with you on the couch, and move him to bed?

Dana - posted on 04/13/2011




I just always had a set bed time of 7:30 and I mean - always, ever since he was a wee baby.

And to be honest, my son will be 3 in July and he still stays in his crib (isn't that horrible,lol). We tried taking the side off before he turned two and he hated it, he wanted it back on, it's stayed on. He gets out in the morning on his own but, luckily he stays in there for naps and bedtime. I think I just have the rare, obedient child. lol

*edited to add*

Does your son fall asleep in the car? That is how I "trained" my son to go to bed at 7:30. Every night we got in the car and drove for about 15 minutes. I would think it would still work for your son, if you're that set against getting him to sleep at a certain time.

I also have to say, it is wonderful that my son is out by 7:30 each night. It gives my husband and I plenty of time together and time to ourselves! :)

Jayce - posted on 04/13/2011




Some nights it takes a great deal of patience.

We didn't transition my son to a big boy bed until he was 2 and we didn't put him in a toddler bed, he has a single bed of his own. I don't know if that makes a difference, it's just what we did.

We have a bed time routine that we stick to no matter what but he still gets up and comes out to the living room to see what we are doing. He goes to bed at 8:30 every night but depending on how many times he gets up it may be 9 or 10 (it's rarely that late) before he actually falls asleep. Tonight we had to put him back in bed 4 times, some nights more some nights less.

We're just persistant with him and tell him that it's sleep time and don't give in to "can I watch TV with you, just a little...peeze."

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms