HELP! My 2 Year Old Wont Stay Asleep.

Updated on August 05, 2010
C.S. asks from Apache Junction, AZ
9 answers

Hello everyone. I need some advise. Here is my situation. I have a two year old little boy and we have recently moved in with my boyfriend. We are in the process of setting up his own room, but have made him a makeshift bed in the living room for the time being. During the day he's a good boy for the most part. Every once in a while he gets a bad case of "baby distructo" trying to destroy everything in his path, but that's manageable. My biggest problem is bed time and getting him to sleep through the night. He has always been a night time child, so he doesn't go to bed till 10. I religiously lay him down in bed, lights out at 10. He FREAKS out the second I walk out of his sight. So I tend to stay in the same room with him till he falls asleep. Recently he's started waking up around 2:30/3:00 every single morning and then it's a fight to get him back to sleep. He is wanting to crawl into bed with us. Since I am trying to get him into a routine of sleeping on his own. I wake up and walk him back to his bed and lay him down, and here is where the "fun" begins. He usually screams his head off and repeatedly tries to get out of bed or just sits there screaming and crying. I am at wits end. I don't know what to do, but something needs to change. As it stands now I'm LUCKY if I get 3-4 hours of sleep per night. I am running on fumes and need to somehow solve this. I've looked up everything I can think of and nothing seems to work. Has anyone else had this problem and if so, what if anything works? Thanks for your suggestions.

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So What Happened?

Well, we got his bedroom set up. My Mr. calls it a "mini man cave." We got him a race car bed (twin sized) a play rug that has train tracks and streets, a big toy box that sits in the bottom of his closet, and a whole bunch of mustang posters (a couple with pretty ladies... boyfriends touch). So far so good. We removed the door and put in a secure baby gate that has the gate. The first couple of nights was really rough. He threw EVERYTHING over the babygate and threw an epic fit. Even bruised his lil leg trying to escape from his room. I'd go in there and check on him. Reassure him that mama was there and would never leave him. How proud I was of him for being in his big boy room and how much I love him. He is now sleeping in his room by himself the whole night through, but still wakes up at least once a night, sometime around 3. It's not nearly as big a deal though. I sleep walk over to his room. Turn him around (he's usually sleepwalkin himself) and tuck him back into bed. Telling him to go to sleep and goodnight and that I love him. Last night I put him back to sleep once and my boyfriend got him the 2nd time (he's an amazing man). So far. So good. Next on our list to tackle is potty training. :o) Wish me luck parents. Lord knows I'll need it. :o) Thank you very much to all that replied. Your suggestions were great.

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answers from Toledo on

He is not getting enough sleep, and he's telling you the only way he knows how. Get him in his own room tonight. Whatever he's sleeping on can go in there if you don't have everything ready. Put him to bed no later than 8:00, and shut the door. If he protests, (and he will), go in, soothe him for a minute, and leave. Keep doing this until. He needs to form new habits, so it will take awhile, but don't give up. It will be worth it.

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answers from Atlanta on

How is his relationship with your boyfriend? You are in a new place and many changes are going on and his life has changed as he knew it as well and you being his security is being jeoperdized as he sees it by having to share you with someone else. You will have to lay with him each time until he falls asleep and let him know you love him and he is always number one to you. Your boyfriend will have to understand that your child needs to come first and his needs satisfied so yours can be as well. He needs to feel secure in this new environment and until he is, you will have to do whatever it takes to make that happen.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I know you say he is a night time child , but he only knows what he has been allowed to do , and from reading the post I am thinking he is far too over tired , so by 10pm he is completely wired and then cannot go to sleep , being over tired also contributes to waking during the night. I think you need to change your routine altogether , he is only 2 after all , and needs to be in bed around 7/7.30pm , start bedtime routine around 6.30 with bath , PJ's , milk and then into bed. If he still has an afternoon nap , let him take that around 1pm for 2 hrs and then wake him , that way he will be refreshed enough to go through the afternoon and still be sleepy enough come 7pm for bed.

Good luck

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answers from Honolulu on

He needs to nap during the day.
He is over-tired.
Over-tired kids... actually sleep worse, have a harder time sleeping, have a harder time falling asleep, have a harder time staying asleep.
Over-tiredness, can actually make some kids MORE hyper... and sabotages their ability to sleep.

Also, make sure he gets a lot of runaround time/play time, outdoors, during the morning... so that he can then nap in the afternoon.
Boys...are very physical... and they need to get out their yah-yah's... physically.... and they need to run around.... or yes, they get 'distructo.'

Also, he needs to go to bed earlier.... the longer/later he goes to bed, the MORE over-tired he will be and then be unable to settle down.

Have a consistent routine, pre-bed time.
Allow him to 'unwind' first, before bed time or nap time.
Verbally 'cue' him.... "bedtime soon... time to wind-down...." then let him finish what he is doing.... brush teeth, turn everything OFF.... turn off lights... turn off tv... etc.
Then, wind-down... and put him in his room. Keep things quiet.... with minimal interaction... and no horse-play.

No toddler, will instantly fall asleep after their head is on the pillow. They need to unwind first... and transitioned to sleep... some kids needing more help with this.

You say you 'relligiously' lay him down in bed at 10:00pm.... and lights out. But this is starting the process too late.... start the process earlier... because it takes TIME for a child to wind-down and then be 'able' to fall asleep. So, factor in at least 1/2 to 1 hour, BEFORE you want him to go to bed.... and start the wind-down bedtime routine, earlier... so that he is not starting the whole process at 10:00pm.

Then, have a chair to sit in, in his room. Keep things dark... tell him no talking or just quiet time.... read him a story. Do minimal interaction. Once he falls asleep, you can leave the room. Kids this age, typically do get scared of night-time/the dark. They may want company, until they actually fall asleep. They will outgrow that.
That is what I did with my kids.

all the best,

all the best,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

When wakes up offer him some warm milk and cuddles. Moving can be very difficult for a child that age. Its not surprising that it may take him some time to adjust. Just let him know that you understand and that its ok to take time to adjust



answers from Flagstaff on

Have you tried a nightlight in the room? When each of my kids were 2, they would wake during the night, and being able to see that everything was okay would help them go back to sleep. This might help ease the transition to the new home too.



answers from Yuma on

He may just be adjusting to the huge changes that are happening. You said that right now he doesn't even have a bedroom (or a real bed for that matter). That's a lot to deal with for anyone, much less a 2 year old. I agree that maybe until he at least gets his room, that sleeping with you from 2:30 on isn't such a big deal. He may need the familiarity. Then when he gets his room, you can start a routine that works for all of you.

Hope you get some sleep!



answers from Phoenix on

This might seem like a strange question, but what's so awful about him wanting to sleep with you from 2:30 on? I mean, that still leaves you plenty of alone time in bed with your man each night, doesn't it? And you guys have only recently moved in so he's probably suffering more from that than you realize. Kids don't handle change as well as we do, so now probably isn't the BEST time to be getting him in a new "routine" to sleep on his own (especially since that implies he's used to sleeping with you). It might just be too many changes at once, you know?

So my advice is to lighten up on the bed rules for a while. If he wants to come into your bed in the middle of the night for comfort, let long as he goes back to sleep, that is. Once he adjusts to being in this new environment (give it a few months) then you can work on him sleeping alone all night. Hopefully by then you'll have a bedroom set up for him as well, which will only make this whole process easier.



answers from Phoenix on

This is a HUGE change for a two year old. Sounds like he is having a hard time adjusting to the move/new surroundings, and not having a bedroom. He's probably scared and not feeling secure in the new surroundings and just wants his mommy there since you are familiar and will comfort him. Time and adjusting is probably the only thing that's going to work.

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