General Question

splatterparty's avatar

How can I get my 18-month old to sleep in her own bed?

Asked by splatterparty (10points) October 26th, 2010

My daughter is 18 months old, and for some reason bedtime is always a huge war. It’s impossible to really keep her on a routine schedule because I work until 10 pm most night and she’s with a sitter until then. When she comes home, she doesn’t want anything to do with falling to sleep. She will finally get to sleep but will wake up within an hour of us putting her into her crib. My husband and I have to sacrifice “marital” time because she is in our bed EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Has anyone else had this issue with their toddlers, and if so how did you deal? We’ve tried to just let her cry and do the Ferber method, but we live in an upstairs apartment and the neighbors complain when they hear her screaming through the floor at one AM.

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9 Answers

marinelife's avatar

“Following a nightly bedtime ritual.
A regular bedtime routine will help your child wind down at the end of the day and get ready for sleep. If he needs to work off some excess energy, it’s okay to let him run around for a little while before moving on to something more calming, such as a quiet game, bath, or bedtime story. Follow the same pattern every night — even when you’re away from home. Toddlers love consistency; being able to predict when and how something’s going to happen helps them feel in control.

Stick to a consistent daily schedule, as well as bed- and naptimes.
As always, it’s also a good idea to set and stick to consistent bed- and naptimes as part of your daily schedule. If your child naps, eats, plays, and gets ready for bed at about the same time every day, he’ll be much more likely to fall asleep without a struggle.

Make sure your child is able to fall asleep on his own.
Don’t forget how important it is for your toddler to fall asleep by himself every night. He shouldn’t depend on rocking, nursing, or being sung to to fall asleep. If he does, he’ll never learn to settle himself back down when he wakes up at night. That situation is less than ideal for you, too — if he does wake up, he’ll probably cry for you.”

“At this age your child may have difficulty falling asleep or wake up frequently at night. The reason behind both problems is probably the new developmental milestones he’s reaching, especially walking. Your toddler is so excited by his new skills that he wants to keep practicing, even if you say it’s bedtime.

If he resists going to sleep, most experts advise leaving him in his crib for a few minutes to see whether he’ll calm down. If not, you may want to consider using some version of the “cry it out” approach. You’ll also have to decide what to do if he wakes up at night, can’t soothe himself back to sleep, and ends up crying for you. It’s fine to go in and check on or comfort him. But if he wants you to stay and play with him, gently remind him that nighttime is for sleep.”


Perhaps you could put some form of insulation on the ceiling to baffle the noise of your infant crying.

zenvelo's avatar

We kept the kids out of the bed by not allowing them IN the bed. We had a sleeping bag and pillow on the floor next to my side of the bed. Show it to your daughter while she is awake, tell her that if she comes in at night that will be her special place, but no getting into mom and dad’s bed.

It took a while but they got tired of not getting in between me and their mom.

MissPoovey's avatar

My suggestions are these;
Do not let the sitter put her to sleep. That is too much like a nap. Keep her awake until you get home and put her down yourself. Sit with her, not talking or smiling, until she sleeps. Make sure you do not allow her to play or move around while your sitting there. She must be still.
Second, if she wakes in the night, take her back to her bed and do the same thing as earlier.
This worked for my husband and me.
She will sleep later in the day, and you will have to rework her schedule to allow for the late bedtime.

Coloma's avatar

I always gave my daughter a bath before bedtime, followed by a story and a backrub while she fell asleep.

I agree that consistancy is the key here and that is why I never brought my daughter into our bed except as very tiny infant for the dead of night feedings and the occasional nap with mommy on a stormy day perhaps.

With your housing situation and disturbing the neighbors this makes it more difficult to break her habits.

I was always just non-chalant, ‘time for bed’, and never had an issue, but, I have had friends that struggled for years to get the kid out of their bed. lol

I strongly suggest you make her bedtime a positive experience that she will come to look forward to with massage and stories.

Good luck!

skfinkel's avatar

You don’t say how long you have been away from your daughter, but you must know that she needs to spend some time with you. If you have been away from her for the afternoon and into the night, don’t you think it is even healthy for her to want to see and be with you? She is just a baby, after all, and needs you. Your schedule is not a “normal” one (ie, dinner at 6 bed at 7:30 or 8), so, you need to be inventive for her and for your private “marital” time. Figure you will need to have about 1 to 2 hours with her after you get home. She will go to sleep late and be waking up late, as I presume you are. I am not so against babies sleeping with their moms, especially if the mom is away a lot. (You have to get inventive about the “marital time.”) And, I hate letting babies cry themselves to sleep—especially ones that don’t have that much time with their moms. Check out a great book: The Science of Parenting, which tells you just what happens in childrens brains when they cry themselves to sleep.

xxii's avatar

I was thinking the same thing as @skfinkel – do you work long hours? I’m not accusing you of neglect or anything remotely close to that, but she may just miss being held and played with by her mom. How much time do you leave after you come home and before you put her to bed?

YARNLADY's avatar

I lay down on the bed with my grandson until he falls asleep and then go to my own room. His parents do not find that this method works for them.

splatterparty's avatar

I don’t work long hours. I pretty much have her all day until 5 and I get off work at 10. She slept through the night perfectly fine up til she was a toddler. She just screams constantly when we try and put her in bed. In fact, she was asleep and just woke up and is screaming in my husbands arms right now. I would do the palate on the floor thing but we have a huge dog who sleeps right beside our bed and I’m afraid she would crawl under the bed or get into something she shouldnt (Shes very curious about things still). I just don’t know why she suddenly just jolts awake in the middle of the night after being so sound asleep. Maybe she is having nightmares, but every single night? It’s getting to the point where my husband is sleeping on the couch and I have Zoey in bed with me. Even then, shes flipping around, climbing all over me, not wanting to sleep at all. She doesn’t really nap except once around noon and I never let her sleep more than a couple hours tops. I am at a loss, I feel like I’m trying to do everything that people are telling me, but she is just not wanting to follow what I’m doing. It’s affecting the way my husband and I are interacting with each other because we are tired and frustrated and not getting much time as just the two of us. I guess thats just what happens after having a kid.

skfinkel's avatar

@splatterparty : I hear your frustration and how challenging this time is for you. First of all, I would suggest to you that whatever this is, it is just temporary. That is easy for me to say, of course, but it is true, and you need to remember it. Also, since you say she did sleep through the night, maybe something is going on that is causing this problem. Has anything changed in your world that could be affecting her? You talk about being tired and frustrated and perhaps this is affecting her as well as you. Have you been “short” with her? Blaming her at all for what is going on—either about her or about you and your husband? You have to remember that she is very, very young, and not in control of her sleep issues yet. Getting a sweet and low key sleep routine going, where she is assured that you are around, if not right there, might be a way to get started with this, and you need to tell her that you are beginning a new pattern together. Be really, really patient with her, and with your husband, and he with you. You will all get through this.

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