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Thread: Terrible bedtime tantrums

  1. #1

    Unhappy Terrible bedtime tantrums

    DD has just turned 3.

    We weaned her off the dummy a few months ago, it was long overdue but every time we tried before was just too distressing for her and for me.

    Until recently, she has always gone to bed without any problems and settled well.

    But now almost every night (well it seems like it at the moment) she has the biggest tantrum when going to bed. She cries and cries, won't get in her bed, calls out for me, plays with her toys, turns the lights on and off.

    My first thought was 'she doesn't know how to settle without her dummy' but that theory has been proven wrong by the many nights she does go to sleep without a fuss.

    I am just at my wits end. I've tried taking her stuffed animals out of her room and then returning them to her when she calms down (she is very attached to them and won't sleep without them) - this sometimes works, sometimes doesn't. I've tried explaining to her that it is bed time and time for sleeping. I've tried taking her out of bed and putting her in time out. Tonight I have just let her cry because I have no idea what else to do and DH isn't here. She's been going for an hour on and off, I've been in about 4 times.

    I also have a 12 week old who is still establishing his self settling etc and I just can't deal with 2 of them at once.

    I just don't know what to do for my poor baby girl. I feel completely helpless, I'm out of ideas.

    Does anyone have any suggestions??
    Last edited by Willow; January 26th, 2008 at 07:16 PM.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    home sweet home.


    Sorry Willow, no suggestions here but just wanted to offer you a big :hugs: Could it be her just getting used to the baby and wanting Mummy to put her to bed like the baby?

    Hope she settles down soon, it has to be tough going when DH is away.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2005


    So her routine of having a dummy in bed has gone...maybe she needs a new routine. ??
    Brushing teeth, closing the crtains,turning on the lamp,choosing a bedtime book, getting into bed, and reading the book? - let her choose the book. Make a big deal about the storytime your both sharing just before bedtime....i dunno, it works for us. My DD whom is 4 also likes us to summarise in a sense what we did in the day too...'today we got up, had breakfast, then we went and played on the trampline whilst mummy hung the washing out"...sort of like finalising the day in a sense KWIM?
    I dont think you can stop her from playing with her toys unless you move the toys out of her room...we still find DD#1 playing with her toys, i often just have to tell her once, and then she does eventually fall asleep.
    When DH is on night shift and i have to put the three of them to bed on my own, i just lie Sam - 4 months old - on the bed with us...
    Hope you work something out.....

  4. #4


    Thanks girls.

    Mbear, she does have a bedtime routine, has since she was a few weeks old. I've tried story time but she wants to read the books herself! I don't have a problem with this but some nights it just doesn't work.

    I always put her to bed, I make a point of it so I don't think it's that either. DS is usually already in bed asleep by her bedtime. I have no idea.

    If it was every night, then I'd say OK, this is a settling problem, but the previous 3 nights she went to bed without a problem. So I think it's more of a 'i don't want to go to bed, I want to stay up with mum and dad and play'.

    She ended up sleeping with me last night because it got to 9pm, she'd woken the baby up and I was out of ideas. I was soooo cranky with her, not my proudest mummy moment

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2006


    Hugs Willow.. I know where you are coming from, I don't have any advice but just wanted to say "I feel your pain" and we all have those not so proud mummy moments.. GOod Luck with it all. xxoo

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2006


    Hi Willow,

    I'm sorry but I have no ideas for you, except maybe give the health centre line a call. I call them all the time and they always have some good suggestions to try.

    good luck

  7. #7


    Thanks girls.

    Had another, but much shorter, tantrum tonight. I don't know if she was just putting it on last night because she knew daddy wasn't here?

    DH and I had a talk about it today and are beginning to think it's less of a bedtime/settling issue than a general behavior issue - she's been horrendous all week, not listening to what we tell her, tantrums etc.

    Ahhhhh, the joys of the mighty toddler!

  8. #8


    Just wanted to update and say that I think my theory was right, because she has gone to bed without a problem all week.

    We just sat her down and explained to her that bed time is for sleeping, ran through her routine with her (ie, we brush our teeth, say goodnight, hop into bed and put our head on the pillow and read our books, then we go to sleep) we did this over a few days and it seems to be working. When leaving her room I told her firmly that I was not coming back in (I think me going in and out was just escalating the situation). The first two nights she cried for about a minute after I left but has been perfect ever since.

    I am sooooo relieved. I couldn't cope with it every night when she's always been such a great sleeper.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jun 2003


    WOOOHOO! Don't you love those mummy moments where you feel you just get it Good on ya hon I would have done exactly what you did!!! Go have a nice champers to celebrate

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