Time to Let 2-Year Old Cry It Out?

Updated on September 21, 2010
M.A. asks from Cambridge, MA
7 answers

My little guy has always gone to bed without much fuss....co-slept for a few months, was in our room until 1 year old, and has done well in his crib in his room since then. Lately, he fights going to bed every other night or so - and sometimes during naps. We do the same routine of stories and music before bed, and sometimes he's happy to get in and be tucked in, while other times he doesn't want to get in the crib, or, like today's nap, he'll get in and happily play for 45 minutes and then get mad and want to be taken out of the crib. Today's nap battle is what prompted me to write - he threw his blankies out, took off his pants and threw them out, and then cried and screamed for both. I finally went in and rubbed his back until he fell asleep -- note that once he is asleep, he is down for at least 2 hours, so I know that he needs the sleep.
Is it time to let him cry it out?
Do you have other tips?

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answers from Honolulu on

This happens at this age.
Its a phase.

Just stick to your regular daily routine for naps and bedtime.

He still needs a nap.

Both my kids were like that too, AT that age juncture.
They are changing so much at that age, developmentally.
Growing pains.

It will normalize.

I did not cry it out for my kids.
I just stayed in their room/sat in a chair with a magazine... cued them verbally to sleep, allowed them to wind-down PRIOR to nap time... kept everything quiet and calm etc. A toddler needs to WIND-down before nap. It takes me about 1/2 hour to wind down my kids. I don't interact with them, only minimally... and then they lay down. I told them "nap... quiet Mommy is reading..." without looking AT them.

Make sure, he gets run around time in the MORNING before nap. NOT right before nap. Otherwise, a child will be too 'wired' still, to nap and wind-down. So, make runaround time in the MORNINGS... boys, need that. Then they get spent and tired/ready for a nap at their nap time.
Boys need to physically, get out their energy.

So time everything, per his nap time.
ie: wake up in the morning, eat, go outside and do active runaround things. Physically active things. Go home. Eat lunch. Poop. (my son for example will NOT nap/sleep, unless he pooped first). Wind-down. Get things CALM and ready for nap. Go in room. Lay down, get himself geared down. Nap. Mommy leaves the room. Or you step out and say good night and close the door.

Keep to a daily routine. Do not give up your nap routines... or it is harder to get back to naps. Again.

That is what I did. My son is now 4 and he still naps everyday in the afternoon. He naps for 2-3 hours. He needs it. Otherwise he turns into a fussy tired monster. He does not last all day without a nap.

all the best,

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I guess you are mainly asking about naptime, so here is my 2 cents. My youngest son acted much the same way at naptime when he was 2. He just hated to be left in his crib for a nap, so I let him have naptime on a pallet on the floor instead. That worked for a while and then we tried napping in the recliner with a dvd. He has been napping happily in the recliner after watching a little bit of a dvd ever since. When one thing stops working just try another. It's better than cio.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

at 2 he's old enough to understand that throwing the fit gets him what he wants. With our daughter, we'd put her back to bed 1 time, any time after that she had to do it herself or cry it out. She learned quickly that she didnt want to throw pooh or teddy out because then they slept on the floor that night.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Fort Wayne on

At 2 he's old enough to manipulate you. He's learning if he cries, then Mommy comes. It's SUCH a fine line to walk though. On one hand you don't want him to think that you're not going to be there if he needs you, but on the other hand, you don't want to let him rule you. It's SUCH a tricky thing, at least in my eyes. I don't like cry it out for little babies, but at 2 he's old enough to know better.
I would say if he throws his things out, go back up once and say "Ok, now you have your blankies. It's time to lay down and go to bed now." Then walk out. Next time just hand him his stuff and walk out. Next time don't go up at all. It's HARD to do, but he'll soon learn that throwing things and crying doesn't get Mommy's attention.
He might do better in a toddler bed. We switched my daughter when she was 2 and she did really well with it.
Good luck! I think, for me personally, sleeping issues are one of the hardest things to deal with.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Topeka on

I do not agree with the cry it out method...I never used it with my children and neither of my daughters have ever allowed their children to CIO. When children cry they are signaling that they want something...and imagine how they must feel when the one who they count on for love and comfort doesn't come to sooth their fears, or upset.
Has somethign changed in his daily routine? Is he sleeping longer during his nap after he does go to sleep, so he isn't as tired at night? Have there been any major changes in his life...going to preschool...moving to another home...new sibling?
Maybe you could try what one of the other Mom's suggested...go in and sit in a rocking chair in his room...read a book and don't interact with him..just be there to help him soothe himself to sleep. I also agree with the idea of letting him run off plenty of energy during the day so that he is more ready to go to sleep at nap time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I think you should try it out...it is going to be tough at first but it might be harder later if you find ways to soothe him temporarily......but here are some other ideas that might help you out as well:


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