23 Month Old Who Wont SLEEP!!!

Updated on July 25, 2008
J.I. asks from Manassas, VA
7 answers


I have a son who is 23 months old. Who has been a great sleeper up until now.
He would take two naps during the day and sleep all thru the night and wake up until 7:30 or 8 am.
But for some reason everything has changed. Now he does not want to take naps even though you can tell he is literally falling asleep and yawning. And at night he will go to sleep at 9 or 10 and wake up 6:30 or 7am. And to some him sleeping all night long is the best thing that could happen. But if he doesnt sleep all day and is grouchy and sleepy and he sleeps only 9 hours, its wierd to me that he is doing this. And what could have caused it. He refuses to sleep during the day.

Any advice, would be greatly appreciated.


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answers from Washington DC on

I completely agree with a previous poster. Consolidate your two naps to one (1) nap a day. Do something active in the morning, have a quick lunch and then down for a nap around 12 or 1... then be active after his one nap, and then to bed for the night around 7:30/8:30.



answers from Washington DC on

Hi, J..
I have recently been experiencing some sleep resistance from my 24-month-old daughter, so I know how frustrating it can be. I agree with the mom who posted that 9 or 10:00 p.m. is a little late for bedtime and that kids who don't get enough sleep tend to not want to sleep; it is paradoxical but true. So, I would try to get your son to bed earlier by about 15 minutes a night until you have backed him off to around 7:45 or 8:00 p.m., if that is feasible for you and your family. As the other moms stated, a bedtime routine of bath and a few stories may help as well. Also, we find that our daughter responds well to being given a ten minute warning prior to ending play. We then clean up toys together and head upstairs for the bath and stories.

During the day, which is when we have experienced the most struggle, I have found that routine is still the way to go. We eat lunch, play for 10-15 minutes (during which I give her an update or two on how much time remains), and then head upstairs for toothbrushing, potty time, and stories before her "quiet time". I began calling it "quiet time" about three weeks ago after we went through three days' worth of screaming fits (despite routine) that ended in no nap. Now, my daughter knows that during "quiet time", she must stay in her bed for one hour (pediatrician suggested time frame) and either sleep or play quietly. To help her with this, I allow her to take a few books of her choosing to bed with her. Most days, she is asleep within a few minutes. On more defiant days, I just remind her that she doesn't have to sleep, and just saying that seems to calm her enough that she ends up sleeping anyway. I think that she really just didn't want to be "made" to sleep each day. And on the rare days when she doesn't nap or doesn't sleep well, we make a point of getting her to bed at least 30 minutes earlier than usual; sometimes she even asks to go as much as an hour before her scheduled time.

My one last piece of advice is to be careful with the car-ride method suggested by another mom IF your son is the type who cannot be moved from car seat to crib without waking. If I am not home in time for lunch with my daughter, and she falls asleep for even five minutes in the car on the way home, she will not go back to sleep for a full nap that day, ever. I know several toddlers who are like that, so I just wanted to share that.

Best wishes.



answers from Washington DC on

Hey J.,

I would just recommend to just let him stay up all day and hope that he would wear himself out to a point that he will sleep all night. Hang in there !

J. Z.
Independent Shaklee Distributor



answers from Washington DC on

Hi J.
This is very common. As kids get older, they want to be involved in what's going on and so they fight going for a nap becuase they might miss something. Try moving to just one nap during that day, say just after lunch time. Also, try having quiet time just before trying to put him down so that his mind will start to wind down and not be so stimulated. Two other things that work for me is putting my daughter (20m) in the playpen for some quiet time play while I go to the bathroom or some such. Sometimes when I come back, she's asleep in the playpen. Also, car rides are great for getting kids to sleep.



answers from Norfolk on

Different kids need different amounts of sleep. He may not still need two naps. He probably doesn't want to miss anything and it might help when you know he is tired either for a nap or at bed time for you to go in and lay down with him and read books and sing to him. When my kids say they can't sleep or don't want to I tell them they don't have to that they just need to lay down quietly in their beds. Once they are quiet listening to a story or singing they drift of to sleep. There is nothing wrong with helping a young child to fall asleep. I have done this with all of my kids and my older children 12, 11, 9, and 7 will all read quietly in bed by them self before bed. I still read to them all first and then they quietly read until they are ready to sleep. It sounds to me like you have a normal almost 2r. old. Relax and enjoy it goes too quickly.



answers from Washington DC on

I'm not sure what could have caused this change, but I do know that sometimes kids will change their routine for no apparent reason. Having said this, I think you should create a routine for him and stick to it. Since he is unpredictable, YOU have to be consistent. At this age, he only needs one nap. My suggestion is to pick a time to put him down for a nap and create a short routine (i.e. eat lunch, read a short story) that will let him know that it's time to lay down. My younger son went through a similar phase as yours and it was frustrating, but I just stuck to doing the same thing each day. Eventually, he started napping regularly and now even tells ME when it's nap time! Also, try putting him down to bed for the night a little earlier. Nine or 10:00 seems a little late, but the important thing is to have a solid bedtime routine that lets your son know it's time for sleep. Kids thrive on routine, so use this to your advantage. I read an article one day that said that when little kids aren't getting enough sleep, it has the opposite effect than you might expect- they tend to sleep less. I have found this to be soooo true with my own 2 boys. Good luck and remember that this too shall pass!


answers from Washington DC on

his sleep needs have changed. they'll continue to do so. obviously he doesn't need two naps any more. cut one out, and make the nap a 'rest' period where he can sleep or not, but must stay quiet and do something like look at books if he's not sleeping.
he'll regulate himself again if you allow him to follow his own rythymns.

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