Toddler Bedtime Routine

My 1.5 year old is giving me and my husband and really difficult time at bedtime. She tries climbing out of the crib and screams until one of us rubs her back till she falls asleep. This just started about a month ago and I just don’t know what to do. Is this normal? I don’t want to just let her scream, but I also don’t want to feed into these new demands and let her develop bad habits.

Advice would be so appreciated!!!

Hey, I’m a sleep consultant and would love to help! What does her schedule look like during the day (what time is her nap, for how long, and when is bedtime?)? And prior this this month how did she fall asleep at bedtime? Last question…has she started walking recently, or hit any milestones, like more language, lately?

And you’re right on target with not wanting this to become the new norm, but also wanting to understand where this is coming from. It certainly doesn’t have to be this way!

Thanks for responding!
So right now she just takes one nap for about 2/2.5 hours in the early afternoon. And during the day she mostly goes down fine, but she’s usually exhausted.

Before this month, we would finish dinner, play, watch a sing-a-long show or two, then go up to her crib and she would lie down and I would sing the same two songs every night and I would leave her lying there awake and she would usually make noises till she fell asleep.

Now, right when we approach her room she starts crying and is fighting when we try to put her in the crib.

I never thought about it linking to milestones or anything, but her language definitely has been expanding in the last few weeks. Could that have something to do with it?

Her language development could certainly be a piece of it!

I’m also wondering if she is either overtired, or oppositely has enough “sleep pressure” to fall asleep well. An “ideal schedule” at this age would be something like:

7 wake up
12-2 nap
6:30 start bedtime
7 in bed

She needs a good 4.5-5 hours of awake time between her nap and bedtime, anything more could be causing overtiredness, anything less probably isn’t enough “sleep pressure.” It’s also important to aim for your bedtime routine to be 20-30 minutes long. Start with either a bath or at least hand, feet, and face wash, and the do teeth, jammies, stories, song, in bed. This helps her body and mind really register that sleep is coming!

Because she’s getting upset even going to her room, another suggestion would be to have some fun and really positive play time in her room during the day so it’s not just connected to the place where she protests sleep.

You might be right about the overtired part-I’ve actually been pushing bedtime later to try to put her in when she’s more tired, hoping shell go in easier. Obviously not happening.

I’m going to try keeping to your schedule suggestion and I think playing in her room also might help.

Thank you so much for your help!

Of course!! We’re all in this together :slight_smile:

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