My toddler now screams at bedtime

The following question is one of the most common questions I get from new clients and while I’m sleep coaching my clients.

My baby has been self settling himself to sleep since he was a wee baby and he has been sleeping really well. He’s now 2 years old and other than occasional travel overseas and adjusting to jet lag, there hasn’t been much change to his environment or routine. Nowadays though, he screams bloody murder when I place him in the cot. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what could be causing this sleep to get so disrupted. Is this normal for a 2 year old?

My answer: Yes, that sounds very normal for children not just for 2yo but at any age as they are continuously developing and going through a number of changes. They’re also sorting out in their brain of their new experiences.

As a sleep coach/consultant, I would investigate the root cause of why and when this started. To be honest, sometimes I can’t help my client to pinpoint exactly what the reason could be. It could have been reasons not uncovered yet (he’s in the middle of something) or have been hidden and now surfacing (perhaps now he feels safe to release big feelings).

It may be he just needs extra support right now.

If that’s what you’re going through now, I encourage and invite you to tune into your instinct, and let go of any expectations or beliefs that you may feel limiting.

Let go of the thought that if you “give in” to your son, he would now develop an undesired sleep behavior.

Get quiet and feel your son’s needs and ask yourself, “what does he really need from me right now?”

If my close friend, husband or older daughter needed my presence to comfort them due to something they are having a challenge dealing with, I would absolutely be there for them.

I would apply the same for a younger child without any fear that this going to create a setback or limitation.

Just to share with you a quick personal story. My family and I have moved back to Malaysia last week and we are in the middle of a transition + settling in to our house without our furnitures which are targeted to arrive in another 2.5 weeks.

My 2 year old’s sleep has been pretty crazy over the last few days. Jetlag has hit us all hard and we don’t really have a proper sleeping arrangement yet. She now sleeps on the bed with us.

She’s been expressing fear of monkeys when the lights are out and it’s time to go to bed. She’s literally shaking and crying out “I scared monkey” over and over.

She really needs me right now and I’m giving her all the support that she needs but I know that once we are more settled after our things arrive, she will go through another round of sleep work with me.

It is what it is right now, and I’m alright with that. I don’t go into the fear of “what if she can’t sleep on her own and after this she must sleep in our bed from now on?” I just don’t work from that place anymore.

I’m hoping you are finding this helpful.

p.s. On the 8th Jan 2020, I’m opening up a new pop-up Facebook group where I’m going to teach and guide you how to use my Rhythm of Sleep Method to help babies from waking 5-6 times a night to sleeping through the night. If you’d like to get access to the group, be the first to be notified when you register here. The best part? It’s all for free!


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