1 1/2 Year Old Daughter Will Not Sleep in Her Own Room....

Updated on April 16, 2008
J.R. asks from Jacksonville, FL
4 answers

I have a 1 1/2 year old daughter who will be 2 at the end of August. She has had the best sleeping habits ever. She has always slept in her room and bed time is 8-830. Last Friday (4/11) she woke up screaming and crying around 12 am. She did not want to be put back in her bed and didnt fall asleep until 3am (which was with me on the recliner). Ever since that night, she has not fallen asleep in her room. When I would put her in there, she would cry and scream. I tried letting her cry it out, but it would go on for 20 minutes or so. I got her and laid her on the couch, waited until she fell asleep and then put her in her bed. She didn't wake up when I moved her. In the mornings, she doesn't want to get out of bed.

I tried changing her bed from a crib to the day bed. She was excited at first, playing on it and saying "night night", but as soon as I said it was night night time, she flipped out again. I tried staying in there with her, she was not having it. So, I did the same thing, put her on the couch and waited until she fell asleep. I changed the day bed back to the crib.

I dont know if she had a nightmare, if there was a bug (I clean her room once a week), or what. I am at my wit's end! I dont know what to do! I was thinking of rearranging her room, making it different somehow. Any suggestions would be wonderful. I will try anything at this point!

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answers from Jacksonville on

Hi J.,

I don't think changing her room will help at all... I think she is resisting change, if anything, not embracing it. Toddlers thrive on routine, I firmly believe that and have seen it in action with my 2+ year old, time after time.

I would try to figure out if she's getting molars, is developing fears (very natural at her age) or just testing you to find out where her boundaries are (also completely developmentally appropriate for her age). Letting a child at this age cry it out if you are sure she's not in pain is fine but it needs to last more than 20 minutes to be effective. I have done it myself, and while I wholeheartedly recommend it, you have to enlist your husband or a friend to help you be strong and NOT go back in there NO MATTER WHAT. It's quite simply the fastest, simplest method of training a child to fall asleep on her own. You may go through what you're dealing with for weeks or months if she doesn't understand that you are serious. Crying it out lasts a max of 3 nights... with the first being the hardest (I cried for most of the 35 minutes my daugther did one night 1), and then it gets easier and easier as you see results almost immediately. She may test you again sometime within the first two weeks but if you stay strong and don't give in, you will be done for months. It worked for me.

If you honestly can't deal with it and are not sure if she's teething... try a proper dose of motrin at bedtime and see if that helps her to calm down. It's possible she's in pain from cutting molars that you can't fully diagnose and just needs that comfort of pain relief. I would do my best to be sure of that before going the "crying it out" route. You really want to know that you're not leaving your child to cry for valid reasons, not just the "testing" that occurs naturally.

Please feel free to write me again and let me know how it goes... I know how hard this is, because I've done it as a single mom who works full time and yet, I also know it WORKS.

Good luck,



answers from Pensacola on

I had the same problem with my son at about the same age. I think in my sons case he was having separation anxiety and really just wanted to sleep with us. Not wanting to sleep with a toddler, I continued to put him to bed at the same time each night and I would go in and soothe him but never took him out of the crib. Eventually, he got over it and is now sleeping through the night again. I was very tired for about 2 months but continued getting up and telling him everything was ok and to go night-night. Currently he is 23 months old and sleeps 10-12 hours a night!



answers from Orlando on

Ugh! I say you have a few choices here-- Once is to try and wait it out a little longer--this could just be a phase since she has always been a good sleeper until now. Give it another week or so and see what happens. It could be she's teething or has a small bug that is waking her up. Try giving her some baby motrin and see if that helps her sleep better.

How's her nap? Over tiredness=resistance to sleep. Has she recently dropped her second nap? What time is she napping?
If she has recently gone to one nap, you may need to adjust both her nap time and her bedtime. One nap kids usually need a nap about 5-6 hours after they get up in the morning--maybe sooner if the morning nap has been dropped recently.
Another thing to try is moving her bed time back about 30 min (in 15 min intervals). I had to move my sons bedtime back a full 1/2 hour when he dropped his second nap. Also--kids go through growth phases and have differently activity levels during the day and she may just be overtired because of that. And overtired children tend to resist bedtime and don't sleep as well. If she is not sleeping at least 11 hours a night-I would definitely recommend moving her bedtime back.

If you don't think it is overtiredness, then I would recommended just letting her Cry it out--only 20 min for the first time is probably not long enough. It may take 45min+ the first time min with her age and depending on her temperament.

If you can't handle letting her CIO that long, try building it up--first wait 15 min(make sure you are timing it and not guessing because hearing your child crying always seems much longer than it is)--go in there, comfort her and calm her down and then put her back down-and then leave, if she continues to cry, this time add 5 min before you go in there, and continue. This method can take longer than CIO, but may help with the stress of both of you. Sometimes I find too that my son will just get so worked up that he does just need to calm down. Once he calms down he may cry some but the quickly goes to sleep...
Regardless, since she has been a good sleeper up until now, it shouldn't be too hard to get her back on track...
good luck!



answers from Daytona Beach on

Hi J.
Hmmmmm could be she had a bad dream. You could leave a low level radio playing and a nightlight on. Put her to bed at 9 instead, cut her nap times down a little, take her for walks to tire out her legs and body, give her less to drink at dinner and maybe she won't wet her diaper which may be what's waking her anyway. I know it's difficult with your full schedule and you're so tired, so it can be very aggrivating when she wakes up, but you neeed to put her back to her bed each night and wait out the crying. But I think if you cut her naps, and drinks, and run her hard playing outside before bedtime or dinner, she's sleep better.
Good luck

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