22 Month Old Now Screaming When Put in Crib for Sleep

Updated on March 29, 2012
A.L. asks from Buffalo, NY
9 answers

my daughter was going into her crib easily, without crying, since she was 6 months old. all of a sudden, she has started screaming when we try to put her down for a nap or sleep for the night.
we have a nap and bed time routine, so i know that's not it. she also goes to sleep around the same time, and exhibits signs of being tired. we're trying to let her cry, but going in at intervals (which makes her scream harder) and putting her back down.
please help- it hurts to hear her cry out for us!

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answers from Dallas on

My daughter was exactly like yours. Its probably time for a toddler bed, believe it or not! My daughter wanted a bed like ours, she just could not say it! So We started with her crib mattress on the floor for a couple weeks, that was a good start, and then when she could stay on it all night and not roll off, it was time for the toddler bedframe. She adjusted beautifully from night one!



answers from New York on

I don't have any advice... just sympathy... as we are going through the same thing with our 24 month old son. He has always had a twin bed in his room, near his crib. This is where we cuddle with him before he goes to bed. And just this week he started asking for "cuddle big bed" any time we tried to put him in the crib. We have outfitted the bed with bed rails and for 3 nights we had great success with him sleeping in the "cuddle big bed." Last night, however, he got up giggling time and time again and woke up at 5:15. So I'm not sure our problem is completely solved. But at least he's not screaming about the crib.



answers from Spartanburg on

I have never seen anything like it. My kids were easy to put to bed even as toddlers. Bedtime was quiet time. I never had a child try to manipulate me. My 22 month old granddaughter just out of the blue started crying like someone was killing her when we put her to bed! It was ridiculous. I was shocked. It got worse, she actually climbed out of her crib and fell to the floor! It didn't hurt her that we could see, but she was very tired and sleepy and it did scare her. It scared us!!! We had to get out the pack n play and put her in it. If she climbs out at least she will be closer to the floor, What we discovered is if we leave her bedroom door open, she doesn't cry and goes right to sleep! We close it after she is asleep. She has always had a small night light, a lullaby CD plays quietly too, since she was about 3 months old. She loves the music.



answers from New York on

Went through this at exactly the same age. It lasted a little while, but my daughter is still in a crib at 29 months.

I prep her before I leave her room. I put her down and tell her not to cry for me. It's bedtime. We are all getting ready for sleep. I get her to be content with the fact that I am leaving. I also added some things that make her happy to her rouutine. She gets to turn off her light, turn on her night light, and turn on her mobile. It's almost like she is putting herself to bed, so she is more accepting. And again, I let her know that there is no reason to cry and that if she does, I will not take her out and I will not turn on her mobile again. I stick to that. She eventually stopped crying because I told her that it wouldn't get her anywhere and after many trials, she saw I meant it.

I do still go in if she cries to make sure she is ok and to remind her that she needs to go to sleep in a gentle way. But I don't give her what she wants.


answers from Rochester on

I agree that she is probably ready to move on to a twin or toddler bed (we only ever used a twin). It helped us a lot to completely boy and tantrum proof our son's bedroom before switching him so if he didn't stay in bed, we knew he was still safe. It will be another transtition, but she is almost 2 years old and is probably ready for that. Naps are also going to come and go. For a few months (more or less), our almost-3-year-old did not take a nap at all, but thankfully (for me) is now back to taking a good nap and still sleeping well at night. As soon as you think you are in a routine, something seems to change. Good luck!



answers from New York on

I think it is completely normal. I think your daughter is a little bit older now so she understands what bedtime is. And to a toddler it sometimes means that the play and fun of the day has stopped. My daughter went through it also, but we kept her in her crib. We just explain that tomorrow is a new day and we can play again. Or at nap time we tell her that after nap we will continue to play (or whatever activity is happening for the day!).

The only other thing I saw in your post was about how you "put her back down" after you go in. I would say that may make it worse. I would go in to let her know that she is okay, but do not take her out of the crib. Recover her, rub her back for a moment, play with her hair. If you take her out it is giving her false hope that she will be able to leave the crib and get her out of bedtime.
Good luck



answers from New York on

Hi A.,

It sounds to me as if she may be ready for a toddler bed. My twins did the same thing & they would scream until I got fed up & put them in bed w/ me. I finally converted their cribs to toddler beds, got them sheets in characters they love (Dora for her & Cars for him), then I got them each a bedtime book w/ the same characters. It worked like a charm! Of course they got up every once in a while & I did it just before their 2nd bday. Hope this helps! Best of luck.


answers from New York on

Hi A.:

I believe your daughter may benefit from a Flower Essence Consultation. It is possible that the heart of the issue is emotional and this wellness approach would greatly assist that. In a consultation, I would ask various questions to determine what is going on and based on the answers be able to put together different essences to address all the different emotional upsets, that will ultimately assist her to sleep well.

Feel free to contact me to learn more.




answers from New York on

My son does this every now and again. It is getting better, but it peaked at about 22 months (he is 26 months now).

I think it is a control issue. She simply does not want to be told what to do. For whatever reason, she is choosing to implement control in this specific area and wants to duke it out with you.

I would try to give her choices surrounding bedtime - the pink or the orange PJ's? The teddy bear or bunny to sleep with? etc. Also, having a night light in the room helps too. Perhaps choosing a bedtime book to read may help.

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