18 answers

My Toddler Takes an Hour or More to Fall asleep.....is This Normal?

My son just turned two and for the last month or two, it takes him an hour or more to fall asleep at night. He usually sleeps about 10 hours at night and takes a two hour nap in the afternoon. I know some of you will probably ask me if it is time to get rid of the nap but I don't see how I can.....he is always tired and yawning around 12pm and goes down easily for his nap. Without a nap, he is miserable by the late afternoon. But if I put him to bed around 8pm, he will normally be awake in his room until 9pm or 9:30 before finally falling asleep. He also climbs out of his crib every night now and gets into the rocking chair in his room. He finally falls asleep there and then I move him back into his crib. Because of this, we are planning to convert his crib into a bed. I was worried he is too young for this but since he climbs out everyday, we might as well try. I have tried putting him back into his crib over and over again but that only results in a lot of crying until he finally gives up an hour later. So, either way he's awake for an hour! Help! Is this a normal phase?

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It sounds very normal for a toddler. They just need a little to themselves to unwind. My son did the similar things. As long as he stayed in his room and play quietly, then go to sleep, we are okay with that.

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HI S. N. I usually don't respond to anyone about anything but I thought I let you know that my 15 month daughter would not go to sleep unless all the lights are out and without noise. She falls asleep faster when someone is in bed with her. My other girls have that problem but that is because their snack at night makes them hyper. That could be another reason to him not being able to sleep. My baby doesn't take a nap in the noon and if she does is only for 20min and she sleeps good. Try to keep him occupied with games or things to do that way he'll forget about napping. If you have friends with kids have play dates and he will forget he is tired believe me my baby girl does.....Good Luck
Vicky

More Answers

At 2 years old... toddlers often go through this- sleep tweaks.
BOTH my kids did that too.
I knew it was a "phase" and it was. The main thing for me was that they napped (which they needed and showed signs of tiredness) and that they slept at night. SO... during this time of sleep aberration... I "allowed" them to sleep if even on the floor of their room or the floor of the living room (which was where my daughter "chose" to sleep during this time). It was fine. THEN... meanwhile, I KEPT to their REGULAR DAILY routine of nap AND sleep times... and then, the "phase" stopped and they went back to their "normal" sleep arrangement as though nothing was different.

I would not "change" his nap/sleep times in the meanwhile. It is just the "venue" of sleep that is being temporarily tweaked. MAIN THING is that they DO get sleep. If he sleeps in his chair... fine. He's getting sleep. A child won't sleep in his chair forever. It is a temporary TRANSIENT phase. There is no need to put him back in the crib over and over again... its too much battling. For me, I just KNEW it was a temporary phase... so I explained to my kids, and that as long as they SLEPT comfortable, even if on the floor, that's fine. Because it was temporary. A phase.

You can also put his mattress on the floor. Since he is climbing out of it. But Toddlers/kids often take time to fall asleep... even adults. They NEED to wind-down, first. Its okay. It takes patience... but a child is changing so much internally and developmentally and cognitively at this age... THEY are having a hard time too. Not just us.

I would NOT get "rid" of his naps. He still needs it. Here is a link:
http://www.babycenter.com/0_how-much-sleep-does-your-chil...
Because also, once you get "rid" of naps... there WILL be days he needs a nap and then he will not be able to, because his nap/sleep routine was changed when he "still" does need naps. My son is 3, and he STILL naps everyday. My daughter was still napping up until the 1st grade. They NEEDED it. I did not force it. It was a regular routine, and they even told me they needed a nap.

Your son is NORMAL. It IS a normal phase. Just bear it out... it takes patience. No need for scolding/punishment. It is growing-pains for a child. Just the MAIN thing is, he naps/sleeps and gets a good rest. THAT is the focus and KEY thing, right now. Even if the nap/sleep venue is temporarily different, for now.

All the best,
Susan

2 moms found this helpful

It sounds very normal for a toddler. They just need a little to themselves to unwind. My son did the similar things. As long as he stayed in his room and play quietly, then go to sleep, we are okay with that.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,
That was also the norm in our house when our daughter was your son's age. When we transitioned to the twin bed, my husband or I would have to lie down with my daughter until she fell asleep. Sometimes it took 15 minutes, sometimes it took an hour. But closer toward the hour than the minutes, I'm afraid.

Finally, at 3 years old, I told my husband "I'm DONE with this!" We told our daughter that she would now go to bed on her own, just like her cousins, friends, etc. And that was that. We've never gone back. We didn't inch out of the room or anything we did it cold turkey. Our daughter was old enough to understand that it was now time for her to put herself to sleep. And you know what? It worked.

You guys might not be at that stage yet, but just wanted you to know that there are other kids out there who take awhile to fall asleep, too. Good luck!

My daughter is 2 and we converted her to a toddler bed and it has done wonders. She has learned to turn door knobs so we have put one of the child things on her side of the door. But it has worked greatly for us.

Maybe he is overtired at night, can you try getting him in bed a little earlier. Look for cues he may be tired. If we get our dd in bed too late it takes her a long time to fall asleep. Her cut off is 8:30 p.m. or she won't go down. She will just stand in her crib and call us, talk, laugh, play, sing, whatever she can do to stay up! I know it can be frustrating. Also make sure you start the "bedtime routine" at least a half hour before by dimming lights and being on the quiet side so they know what is coming next.
As far as the crib, you should definately convert it now. Once they figure out how to climb out it is a danger to them. Wish you the best of luck.

Have you considered a crib tent? If you put him in a toddler bed you will have even more of the same problem of him not staying in his bed. I would also suggest putting toys in his crib for him to play with once he wakes up, or something he can play with until he falls asleep. This will help to entertain him as well as help him to burn off that last bit of energy.

We switched my two year old son to a twin size bed with one of those rails you slide under the mattress. It works great for us. As far as the staying awake part, maybe you should try to put him to bed earlier, sounds weird I know, but it works for some people. Also, it may just be that it takes him that long to calm himself for sleep, especially if he's over-tired. Whatever you do, don't give up the nap! Most people don't realize that 2 year olds need 12-15 hours of sleep every 24 hours. A great book to read is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.... I can't recommend it enough.
Good luck!

Well S., my son has been like this since he was about 1 year old (he is 2 1/2 now). It can take him anywhere from 20 mintues to an hour to fall asleep - sometimes longer. I have found that reading to him for about 20 to 30 minutes before bedtime helps him wind down as he is ALWAYS on the go (mentally & physically). Since he falls asleep in his rocking chair, maybe you shoud try rocking him to sleep or at least til he gets really tired. I still rock & sing my son to sleep some nights. He is one of those kids that will stand in his crib and cry for an hour until he finally wears himsefl our and falls asleep. My personal option is to keep him in a crib as long as you can however since he is already climbing out you might want to try converting his crib and putting a bed rail on so he doesn't roll off. Wishing you all the best as i know how tough it is to have sleep issues with a little one.

I frequently hear my 28 month old talking to herself an hour after putting her down at night. She is a good sleeper and just entertains herself until she falls asleep. Occasionally I will go in and remind her to close her eyes and sleep, but mostly don't worry about it b/c she sleeps well. However, we haven't had to deal with crawling out of the crib yet, so that's another issue.... Maybe if you convert to a toddler rail, he might be able to climb back in easier. What about just putting the mattress on the floor? worth considering anyway, good luck!

Might try reading a book to him while rocking him in the rocking chair.

For me, it's pretty normal - it's not normally over an hour for my daughter but between 30-60 minutes. She just sits in there and talks to her dolls or reads books. I think the switch to a bed sounds like a good idea for your son. I would not give up the nap. Does it take you a long time to fall asleep? I need awhile to unwind, too, so I figure it's normal for my daughter to need that, too.

Hi S.,
I think the best thing you can teach your child is how to fall asleep on his/her own. Sounds like he can do that just fine. If it is a major pain in the butt to put him back in his crib, then by all means, let him cry about it. S., everything they do is just a stage. They all end up going to bed like a normal kid, your might take a little longer, thats all. I think changing his crib into a bed could be a good idea, or a bad one. You never know until you get into the situation. I changed my daughters crib into a bed way to early and I spent 2 weeks dealing with her getting out of it constently, so we switched it back to a crib and she never climbed out of it(until a lot later, maybe 5 months, then we moved into a bed, and it worked just fine)
I have a book you can have, it's on-line so I can forward it to you. Email me at ____@____.com also, Just a little into from my world, I stopped letting my daughter take a nap during the day and now she goes to sleep at 7:30 to 6:30 almost everyday.(she will be 3 in May) When she does take that occasional nap (in the car) then I don't put her down until 8:00 or 8:30. She always gives me a hard time. When she doesn't nap, it's heaven to put her to bed.
Well, I hope to hear from you soon!

Dear S.,

Sounds like he has found a way to self-soothe...with the rocker. Do you worry it is dangerous? can you get a smaller rocker...kid size?

I took my toddlers out of the crib around 18 months old, I put their crib mattress on the floor with their stuffed animals, then at 2 transfered them into a twin bed. Some 2 year olds still need naps some don't, I thinks it depends a lot of how active their day has been. Create a bed time routine, for our kids it was a story, then we prayed with them, we hugged them tucked them in and turned their fish aquarium light on. Fish tanks are really good, we had a blue light in ours for our kids and the blue light along with the movement of the fish and water was very soothing and relaxing. Also at 2 you have to start being a little firm, at that age in my opinion they are old enough to learn what obeying mom and dad mean, but take him out of the crib, create a very loving and secure bed time routine and see if that helps, if he falls a sleep in the rocking chair I wouldn't move him, ovbious he feels some conection of security with the rocking chair. Hope this helps. J.

HI S. N. I usually don't respond to anyone about anything but I thought I let you know that my 15 month daughter would not go to sleep unless all the lights are out and without noise. She falls asleep faster when someone is in bed with her. My other girls have that problem but that is because their snack at night makes them hyper. That could be another reason to him not being able to sleep. My baby doesn't take a nap in the noon and if she does is only for 20min and she sleeps good. Try to keep him occupied with games or things to do that way he'll forget about napping. If you have friends with kids have play dates and he will forget he is tired believe me my baby girl does.....Good Luck
Vicky

My daughter does the same thing and she's 2 1/2. We put her in a bed (mattress on the floor for a few weeks then a twin bed) at 2 because she was just getting uncomfortable in the crib. If she doesn't get a nap she's in bed by 6:30 and out by 6:35 but she still needs a nap most days. On nap days she also goes down for a nap fine and falls right asleep and then takes an 1 to 1 1/2 hours to fall asleep at night. She doesn't fuss, just lays in bed after we read to her and settles herself down. I think at this age they're getting ready to drop a nap but they're not quite there so they just aren't exhausted at bedtime. As long as he's okay in there I wouldn't worry about it and just wait for this phase to pass.

Both of my kids will often take that long (or longer) to fall asleep. It started when they were small toddlers, now they are 4-1/2 (almost 5)and 3-1/2. I still put them to bed at the same time. I do require that they stay in their beds (only getting up to go to the bathroom) but other than that they can talk and play in their beds. They get the sleep they need. I'm a mom, so I worry every now and then, but they are healthy and growing, and their sleep in a 24 hour period is within the averages. I still put them down for a nap everyday, but they don't always sleep. I give them the opportunities for sleep and they get what they need. After a particularly exhausting day, or if they're sick, they tend to fall asleep more quickly.

I think you're doing a great job. I would keep the nap (we mom's need it too!)

Maybe you're putting him to bed too early? My younger two kids would fall asleep within minutes of being laid down. So, I figured they were tired, needed the sleep and ready to go to bed. My oldest would lay there forever too. I felt like it was torture for all of us. So, I kept moving her bedtime later and later. We had audio stories that were about 30 minutes long. I would put one on and put her to bed. Eventually we found that putting her to bed about 9pm to listen to the story was good. When she got older, she switched to reading to herself. My youngest kids think it's unfair that she got to stay up til 9 and they have to go to bed at 8. But, every kid is different. Good luck.

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