17 answers

HELP! My Daughter Is Having Issues with Bed!!

So my 2 year old daughter has ALWAYS loved going to bed. 2 nights in a row now shes thrown the biggest tantrum I have ever witnessed!! Screaming at the top of her lungs, sobbing, and yelling for mommy and daddy. I know you all won't believe me, but she never ever throws tantrums. Never! She's completely fine until you go to walk out of the room and then she's at the end of her crib screaming and reaching for you. I am an extremely stubborn person so I REFUSE to give into a tantrum at all. I do get really upset with her tho. I have taken things away and told her she'd have to earn them back (which usually works) Not this time. She screamed for an hour last night. I have promised activities for the next day, which is really usually her main reason for going to bed-to get to tomorrows' activities. Not working. I need help-I know how fortunate I am to have a child that doesn't throw regular tantrums, maybe that is why this is so hard. When you ask her what she wants she'll ask for Daddy, or the dog, or the cat. There is NO reasons for her crying. PLEASE help me!!! I am so aggravated with this. Any suggestions will be a great help!


What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I would like to thank those that had positive feedback for me. My daughter told us that she was crying to keep us there with her. So we've added some extra time after we rock and sing songs, and it's worked beautifully.

On the other hand I was EXTREMELY disappointed at how many attacks on my character and ability to be a mother there was. I thought this was a website where we are all "in the same boat" and just needed a little advice. I was so very wrong!! I was accused of abuse and neglect because I would not give in to a two year old's bedtime tantrum. I was told I needed to seek professional help because I am a horrible mother. So just a head's up to those who are asking for help on this website. You will be judged and ridiculed, so be prepared.

Featured Answers

Has she already cut her two year molars? My dd is also good at sleeping and the only time she protests is when her teeth are cutting. Her two year molars go up and down for months now so it is off and on for her. Maybe you can try a few Hyland's Teething tablets. They always help my dd. Just hang in there and know that it won't last long. Hope that helps!

2 moms found this helpful

If she loved going to bed before and is now screaming, it has to be that something happened that scared her. Maybe you could ask her to point to what is scary and show her it is okay. Tell her if something is really scary at night, that you will come when she screams.

More Answers

Has she already cut her two year molars? My dd is also good at sleeping and the only time she protests is when her teeth are cutting. Her two year molars go up and down for months now so it is off and on for her. Maybe you can try a few Hyland's Teething tablets. They always help my dd. Just hang in there and know that it won't last long. Hope that helps!

2 moms found this helpful

Hey T.,

I have begun this response many times, trying to choose the right words. I'm just going to forge on this time and hope that I write it right. I think that letting your daughter cry for and hour to teach her a lesson about your boundaries is a bit heartless, especially given the fact that this a completely new behavior on her part. There is a reason for her crying, it's just not as overt as it would be if she were an adult and could communicate with you completely. Don't punish her-help her to overcome this behavior compassionately. If you truly feel that your daughter is a princess, treat her like one. Hold her, comfort her, give her some TLC and this will pass. I think parents sometimes believe that if they bend a bit, their child will forever "take advantage" of them. This is not the case. There are times when it is right to be flexible and respond to your child's needs, rather than to expect your child to meet YOUR needs and YOUR requirements. Even if she is testing you, there is a compassionate way to deal with it-walking away from her when she is screaming and reaching for you is not compassionate. This has only been happening for two nights. I think that if you can put aside the power play and be your daughter's partner in this, you could nip it in the bud pretty quickly. 2 year olds can be volatile-they are experiencing new emotions and testing their own limits and discovering new strengths and challenges. I think this can be pretty overwhelming and maybe your daughter is just looking for some reassurance that you can and will be there for her. I have a two year old boy, and he's doing the same kinds of things. I have found that the more patient and loving I am in my response to his sometimes negative behaviors, the sooner he abandons them in favor of doing something positive. Perhaps this may be the same with your daughter.

Take care,


2 moms found this helpful

Hi T.

My son is not 2 yet but he is a lot like your daughter and does not have tantrums. But since I know him so well, if he does get upset I have found there is a reason, such as ear infections that were not very apparent to us because he wouldn't have any other symptoms. He does not always run fevers with his ear infections but going to bed can be the issue because he won't like lying down. I believe in not giving in but your daughter has not made it a bad habit as of yet. I might recommend try comforting her and see what happens. If she has a real reason for her tantrums it won't become a habit and she will go back to her normal sleep pattern. If it is just her wanting to stay up and trying to test you, since you are strong you will be able to break that habit rather quickly. Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

she is just lonely and having a little separation anxiety and with you not wanting to give in to her she is asking for others to comfort her - be nicer

1 mom found this helpful

Are you sure your expectations for your daughter and the consequences you make up are really age appropriate? She may be "smart" but kids think far differently from us adults.
You have been blessed so far with really compliant behavior, which is great, but yes, the contrast is probably a big part of this harsh reaction on your part.
(This is just me, but I could not listen to my child cry for an hour...I'd be trying to get into her head to figure out what the issue is...because there IS a reason she's crying....it just may not be "real" or apparent to us adults.)
Maybe you need to think changing your expectations not as "giving in" but of adapting to the stage of development your daughter is in. You can't make your daughter mature when you want to, it will happen when it's going to.
Parenting is always going to require flexibility, introspection, and unconditional love. Our kids' greatest fear is losing our love.
You might also consider more intrinsic motivation, (daughter simply wanting to please you because you are mom)than external rewards for a long term discipline plan/ parent/child relationship plan. I am sure there is more than one author on the subject, but my favorite is Canadian child psychologist Neufeld. It will take a lot of the stress out of parenting.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello T.. My daughter had the same issues. What my husband and I did was not give in! They want to see if you'll give in and let them stay up. They will usually cry it out and fall asleep. This may happen for two to three nights, but if you stick to your guns, it will stop and she will know you're not going to give in to her tantrums. If you start taking her to your bed, then this will become a habit that's hard to break. I know it's hard, believe me, I've been there. Try to pray for God's help and strength to get through this and this to shall pass. I hope this helps and hang in there.

Kim F.

Hi T. -

I don't know what your belief system is and I hope you will take the following information with the intent in which it is sent.

I have often found that children who suddenly don't want to be in a room alone are feeling the presence of angels / spirits. Because young children are suseptible to energy from the other side, they don't know what they are seeing or feeling and this can be very frightening.

I understand your desire to not give in to the "tantrum" but I would ask that you take some time and talk with your child. Even though she may not communicate in the same terms, she will be able to tell you or describe to you what she is feeling or seeing.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please feel free to call.


Hi T.,
My son is almost 2 and a half and the last month or two he has been really insistant on me sitting in the chair in his room while he falls asleep. He just started expressing fear towards things like monsters or load noises. She may be in a major developmental change and is trying to understand the element of fear.

I sit in the chair and sometimes he calls my name to make sure I am still there. He is usually asleep within about 5-10 minutes. He sleeps through the night and usually wakes up very cheery. I hope this helps.

N. S.

If she loved going to bed before and is now screaming, it has to be that something happened that scared her. Maybe you could ask her to point to what is scary and show her it is okay. Tell her if something is really scary at night, that you will come when she screams.

Maybe she had a nightmare?? or her imagination has got the best of her? It sounds like somethings bothering her. My daughter had a similar issue, come to find out, she was watching a childrens show, The Wiggles, and had a bad dream about Captain Feather Sword! lol I now have to read her stories about princesses or other possitive stories in a WAY more exciting and possitive way just to keep her in a happy mind frame before bed. Its actually kind of fun now that Ive been doin it a while!!! lol Anyway, hope that helps a little. Good luck and I hope your family gets a peaceful nights sleep soon.

Well, first two nights in a row is really no indication of a "phase" or a problem. It could be she hasn't felt well, cutting teeth, or just "under the weather". If it continues welcome to the life of a two year old. Testing limits, testing stability of our nerves. Have you tried "quite time?" Give her the choice of reading a book or rocking for 5-10 mins before bedtime in her room with either Mom or Dad, her choice. Set a timer in the room and when the timer goes off, time for lights out. Sometimes just a quite little end of the day pre-sleep rest is all she will need. This worked like a charm for my son and you won't be "giving in" you will be changing her bedtime routine, as long as you don't put her to bed first and do this in order to calm her down. My son is now 12 and still uses his pre-sleep rest in order to wind down from a full day. Good luck!

Hi T.

Has anything in her normal routine change recently? Have you moved or is she sleeping in her bed alone for the first time? The little ones thrive on their routines and when something changes they don't like it and act out.

My son started sleeping thru the night (only waking up once or twice) when he was 2 months old. When he was six months old, we moved and he reverted and would often wake up several times during the night and all he wanted was for me to hold him. Eventually, he adjusted and everything went back to normal.

Maybe she's afraid of something. Ask if she wants to sleep with the light on, the door open, a new stuff animal....

I agree with what Allison S said.
Good luck!

Hi T.,

I have a kid who it sounds like is basically like yours. He doesn't throw tantrums...well pretty much almost never and when he has it's beena symptom of something else. I attribute it mostly to not giving in from the very beginning when he tried it. I'm not a harda_ _, but I was determined not to be trained by a toddler. :) (Okay, it also doesnt' hurt that he's inherited dad's happy-go-lucky personality!)

He'd also been very predictable in his sleep patterns. Until age 2, he'd go down without a fight and stay down all night. At 2, staying in bed was a big issue and he'd come into our room (we had switched him to a toddler bed around that time which I think had attributed to the problem) crying he was afraid of sharks and dragons...go figure since there was nothing he'd watch that had either and there weren't any books we could think of that he would have gotten it from.

Long story short, what stopped the behavior was leaving a light on in his room. Although now at age 5, he won't let us turn it off!!!! But that might help.

I do agree with some of the comments about going in to her and see what it is she wants and what's she's afraid of. I honestly think if she IS afraid of soemthing, whether it's with words or gestures she will be able to tell you. Somehow. If she doesn't or can't, I'd say try the light. It might be that little bit of glowing comfort that she's looking for. But again, that's just my opinion for what it's worth.

Hi T.

There is this doctor that does miracles and he has DVD's out that are titled "Best baby on the block" and "Best Toddler on the block".... they are amazing. I even heard him talk today at the babytimeexpo today and he had great suggestions on how to handle any problems with kids... I learned a lot from him and he has been a life savor.... Try his DVD's... they are only 10-12 bucks or something.. makes a world of difference...

Good luck

Don't give in Mom! You can give her a hug, and explain to her why she still has to go to bed, but don't let her out or she'll think all she has to do to get out of bed, is throw a tantrum. Soon, she'll learn that approach won't work.

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