Parents of toddlers, a little sleep advice please


11 Years
Jul 1, 2008
Portland, Oregon
Sleep has been one of the biggest issues of my son's life. He's now 2 years, four months old and his current issue is that he will nap for everyone but me. He goes to two different sitters during my workweek and they say he is a champion sleeper who falls asleep in 5 min or less for them. If my husband, who works nights, happens to come home for his nap, the two of them snuggle up and fall asleep very quickly.

It doesn't work that way with me.

He tosses and turns, sings, asks questions, plays, has to go potty, needs water, says, "mom! mom! mom! mom!" - all sorts of things except sleep. Sometimes at nighttime (I put him to bed at night), it can take an hour and a half to put him to bed. It never takes less than an hour for him to fall asleep for me.

I've asked them all about their routines and tried to follow them as precisely as I can. Nothing doing. This kid just won't sleep for me. I'm starting to really feel like a bad mother. How come everyone can get this kid to sleep but me? I've tried EVERYTHING. Every possible sleep strategy and nothing works for me. Everyone else just lies down next to him, either facing him or facing away, and the kid just zonks out. Once last week, he fell asleep for his sitter in 45 seconds flat. It's NEVER happened for me once. What am I doing wrong?!


8 Years
Oct 16, 2011
Eatonville, WA
Oh, man! I feel your pain! Both our kids have always been tough for us to get to sleep, and easy for the sitters. Even my daughter who goes to a daycare center with lots of other kids lays right down to sleep there, and nothing doing here. We've even resorted to car rides, but they're pretty expensive these days. One night my husband hit an elk and did $8800 worth of damage to the car, but DD stayed asleep and insurance covered it, so we considered it something of a win. (For the humor impaired, that was exaggeration for dramatic effect. We were horrified by the accident...But DD DID stay asleep!)

I have no answers. Just sympathy. Remember, though, that at some point your child will hit an age when you want to phase out naps, and it'll be easy for you to do at home! (Good luck convincing sitters to do the same, though.)

Best of luck!



11 Years
Jul 1, 2008
Portland, Oregon
Oh man, thanks for the story and the empathy. That's hilarious and it makes me feel better. I was really feeling down on myself this afternoon after a failed attempt at getting him to nap!


9 Years
Jan 4, 2011
My son was the same way about naps. He is now 4 1/2 and naps (or at least is quiet) at school, but never naps at home. Bedtime used to be bad, but I established a routine and eventually he went along with it... I do snuggle with him, but only once he is really sleepy. I get him ready for bed, read two books and let him look at books quietly in his bed with a small lamp. If he varies from the routine (gets out of bed, tries to play...) the small lamp goes out and he has to stay in his bed in the dark. I usually hang out in a nearby room until he is really sleepy and then he asks me to snuggle and he is out in 5 minutes.

He was doing most of the things you mentioned, but I only let him read quietly in bed, and I just kept putting him back in the bed EVERY time he got out - in the beginning it was about 10x per night and usually ended in him crying, but eventually he got with the program...


9 Years
Feb 23, 2010
Just wait.

Talk about role reversal...

It's my daughter that keeps me from taking my naps now...
Noisy kid...


10 Years
Mar 9, 2009
Back 30 years ago, I used to just dare mine to wake me up at night, unless they were sick or hurt, or the house was on fire.


11 Years
Oct 31, 2008
The major challenge of napping with a child is staying awake until they fall asleep!
i would lie down with mine, tell them it is nap time, and close my eyes. Ignore everything they do EXCEPT getting out of bed. If they get out of bed, you *wake* up and put them back to bed. Then you immediately go *back to sleep*. If you are really boring and sleeping and they can't interact with you, there isn't much fun and they may as well go to sleep too!
As I said, the trick is to not actually fall asleep while pretending:)

Chicks on DL

8 Years
Feb 1, 2012
West Coast, Florida.
I had the same problem. Stick to the routine. He is just stalling and trying to get attention. Tell him it is bedtime and if he wants to stay awake fine just stay in bed. Worked for my son but not my daughter. I had to give up naps and at bedtime start giving her a little melatonin; about 1/4 a 3 mg pill. She just chews it up. My doctor approves with melatonin because it is a natural supplement; you should checkwith yours.
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Sonoran Silkies

Flock Mistress
11 Years
Jan 4, 2009
Tempe, Arizona
He wants time with you. Make sure he has plenty of time when the two of you get to interact and talk and play. And as theirhischickens said, play possum as you lie down beside him--no fun interacting with a mommy who won't talk or respond, but it is comforting to snuggle into her and let her cuddle you to sleep.

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