2 year old crying at bedtime

Our 2 year old has trouble going down to sleep for a few weeks now. She has been sleeping wonderfully since she was 7 months old. There were some sleep regression phases but she is a great sleeper in general. Recently, she cries a lot at bedtime crying for mommy and/or daddy. We have no clue what’s going on. It seems to be a lit long for a sleep regression and she is not sick or anything. What’s going on and what would be the best approach to get her ease at bedtime. We also don’t want to manifest new and bad habits, so we are just surviving at this point and trying a lot new things to get her to sleep.

Answers

  • DrMonicaOrdway
    DrMonicaOrdway Member, Expert

    @WesleyOhana First question is whether or not she snores? Snoring should always be evaluated by a sleep specialist. Second, it is possible that she would do well with sleep training. Expect it to take 4-7 nights as long as you commit to the plan - if you deviate from the sleep training plan then the 4-7 nights start over again since babies and toddlers do not comprehend time. Be sure she is not taking a nap after 3:30pm. Most importantly, establish a consistent bedtime routine that ends with you leaving the room before she falls asleep. If you have not tried gradual extinction, then it may be a good solution. Start with a bedtime routine that includes 4-5 bedtime routine activities that last a total of 20-30 minutes each night and are consistently performed. Develop a mantra like "good night, I love you, I will see you in the morning" and repeat that phrase each night before leaving the room. If/when he beings to cry, wait 10 minutes before going in then calmly and quietly go to his crib and repeat the mantra in the same tone and with the same calming effect. Leave the room and wait 15 minutes before returning to say your mantra with the same loving, but firm and calm tone. Repeat this process, adding 5 minutes between each time period you go to his room. Babies do not understand time, but the consistent bedtime routine that includes hearing your voice with the same words repeated can provide predictability and comfort. This process allows young children to gradually learn to fall asleep independently while at the same time feel the comfort that you are not far away.