My 21 Month Old Won't Sleep

Updated on July 15, 2008
C.V. asks from Belleville, KS
9 answers

My 21 month old son won't sleep at night or take naps. He may go to sleep between 12 and 3am. If he falls asleep he will wake up then won't go back to sleep. We are about to go insane. Don't know what to do anymore. He screams and throws everything out of his crib. Need help and fast.

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

I am still having issues, but I think things will get better soon. I have found out alot of times he is hungry when he wakes. I just give him a little something to munch on and a little to drink and then he will go straight back to bed. Sometimes this doesn't work, but we are still trying things. Hopefully it is just a stage and will change soon.

Featured Answers



answers from Rapid City on

Some allergies can cause this also. I would take him to a pediatric allergist and they can test him for different allergies. I had to do that with my youngest, when we cut out the things he was allergic too, it helped so much. Also if he is one who has a active mind, putting on a lullabye music CD can help him concentrate on the music and put him to sleep better then just being put to bed. My kids always listened to music at bedtime to calm down their minds. It really helps.

More Answers



answers from Duluth on

it sounds backwards, but if a kid isnt getting enough sleep, they will have problems falling asleep. try to get him to get more sleep, going to bed WAY earlier. start a routine. bath, book, brush teeth, prayer (if you do a prayer) lights out. i dont encourage the cry it out method AT ALL

if its ok with you and your husband, try cosleeping. its relativly safe and gives the child a peace of mind ... its really great. :D we cosleep with our 19 and 1/2 month old son... have since he was 2 months. he finally around 17 months was able to go to sleep and stay most of the night in his bed, but will usually still want to come in bed with us at like 4 or 5 in the morning. he sleeps like a dream, gets laid down after the routine, and wont even stand up once! :D we never cried it out with him so the crib isnt ever a scary lonely place for him. he sleeps perfectly.

be willing to adjust to your childs needs, and they will have more confidence. :D just make sure it works for you. you know best!



answers from Minneapolis on

Brain activity and sleep are the connection you are looking to solve. You son has too much brain activity. To minimize it, read food labels to find the following brain activity stimulating foods to eliminate from his diet:

corn syrup and corn syrup solids, food dyes (FD&C red, green, yellow, blue...), caffeine and chocolate, corn meal, enriched white flour and refined sugar.

Start your son on a diet that is high in whole foods, fruits, vegetables and meats. Then make sure to give him a very high protein, no sugar snack before bed: cheese and whole grain bread, cheese and whole grain crackers, un-sweetened peanut butter and bread, beans and rice...

In our culture, children like this are labeled ADHD when in fact they are just fed too many brain stimulants. Eliminating these NOW will help him to calm down and become restful again.

You will also need to eliminate television at night - it is too stimulating for sensitive children. Long stories from chapter books before bed, read slowly and quietly, will prepare his brain for sleep instead of restless dreams.

Go to and look for his books on ADHD for more help with your active and sensitive son.



answers from Des Moines on

The nap part might be a phase, because my boys stopped taking naps most of the time by the time they were 1 1/2 yrs. old, and then started up again at about 2 1/2 yrs. old. You might try switching to a regular bed though for getting him to sleep. At a year old we switched our boys to toddler beds, and after that it was easier to get them to go to bed. Before hand they would just scream non-stop when we put them to bed, but after we switched them to toddler beds we were able to put them in bed, and one of us would sit in between their beds and put them back in every time they got out for 15 min. Then we would read to them for 15 min. and after a couple of times of that they would be out. One of them would get up and join us in bed in the middle of the night though, but after they hit two years old and we moved them to full size beds that stopped.



answers from Grand Rapids on

C.; first of all when he is asleep , at 12 take all his stuff out of the crib, maybe he is rollling on stuff and cant sleep, second of all, maybe he needs a bit of food, in his tummy before going to bed, also he may be lonely , and may just want to be held or he had a bad dream, we all do that, we all get some of those dreams that wake us up and we dont want to go back to sleep, any way , just love him and he should be better, D. s



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi! I'm very sorry this is going on-we never get enough sleep, and with a fussy little one, it just makes matters worse.
First off, how is his nighttime schedule? Does he have a set bedtime? My son (who is 20 months) started waking up from about 11 to 2 a.m, and would scream and thrash around- nothing could console him. We checked around on the internet and asked his pediatrician, and found that one of the main reasons for this is overtiredness. We pushed his bedtime back 1/2 hour and it stopped.
Maybe your little one needs to get to bed earlier? Even if it takes him a while to fall asleep when he's in his bed, he can use it for quiet time and calm down a little bit.
Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

Have you tried putting him in a big boy bed? My daughter wouldn't sleep through the night until we put her in a big girl bed with rails at 26 months and she has slept through the night ever since.




answers from Minneapolis on

Your child is overly tired. You need to get a sleep book. We had problems like that when our first was six months old. And we got the book Good Night Sleep Tight, by Kim West. It saved us. And we haven't had problems since. Nap training is hard to do so start with his night sleep. He should be going to bed between 7-8pm. It also sounds like he doesn't know how to fall back asleep on him own. The book is great with that and you don't have to let him cry it out. Once you get his nighttime sleep under control then you can start with the nap training. Trust me go get the book. We found the book because the "Sleep Lady" as she is called was on Oprah. But yeah it is just that you child is overly tired.



answers from Omaha on

I've heard from several other moms that a child who won't sleep could have an ear infction. Have you had him checked by your doctor?