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Mother and father at the end of thier tether with toddlers not sleeping Lock Rss

Hi, i am after some advice with my two toddlers. I have a 3 and a half year old daughter and a 23 month old son who flatly refuse to go to bed at night. I have tried everything I possibly can from bribery to controlled crying, everything but nothing seems to work. We have tried being nice, getting angry, laying with them, leaving them by themselves, you name it, its been tried and still nothing. My husband and i are at our wits end and are suffering from lack of sleep ourselves as most nights we are still fighting with them til after midnight. None of the routines we have put in place have worked. We need some new ideas before we go round the bend.
Please help
Hi Mandy, I can only imagine what you're going through. We have a service here in Sydney called Karitane, which mainly helps in sleep/settling strategies for children 0-5 years. You can visit their website at and see what they suggest. My suggestion is that you have a consistent bedtime routine of dinner/bath/clean teeth/story/cuddle/bed. This is a signal that bedtime is approaching. When you put them to bed, tell them it's time to sleep, and that you'll be there when they wake up. Walk out of the room when they're awake. If they cry, give them a few minutes to try and settle themselves, then go in and pat them, saying "shhhh" until they stop crying (but NOT to sleep). Walk out again. Repeat until they finally go off to sleep (don't make eye contact). For every time they come out of their bed/room, put them back in-this is giving the message that you're boss, and whatever you do, DON'T LIE DOWN WITH THEM!!! (I know this is hard). This routine may take a few days or so, but don't give up and be persistent. E-mail me and let me know how you go. Good Luck!!!

Angela, NSW


Hi. I also have a 3 1/2 year old (boy) who for all his life has been a terrible sleeper who didn't regularly sleep through the night until he was 2.

Bed time was always a bit of hard work until I stopped his day time sleeps which in itself took a bit of work as a tired 3 year old is not easy to deal with on top of trying to keep them awake.

However, he is now used to not having a sleep and by bedtime (8 pm) is nice and settled and ready for sleep.

I most days also try and take him for a good walk in the afternoon.

I also have to agree with cookyboy12's advice on routine.

Hope you find an answer.


Therese, BRISBANE, 3yr old boy 6 wk girl

Hi. I am a mum of a 21 mth old boy who at 18 mths old was still falling asleep in our arms and then put into his cot. He would get hysterical if we put him into his cot awake. We did the comfort cying thing and it wasnt until I purchased a sleeping bag for our son to sleep in that the comfort crying actually started to work. It took a good 2 or 3 weeks for our son to actually not cry when we put him to bed. I am sure it was the bag that did it. I would suggest getting a bag and persisting with comfort crying-it really does work in the end.
Hi, how much do they sleep during the day, you might find they are not tired enough to go to bed when you want them to. My son never used to go to bed at night because he wasn't ready. I let him stay up as long as he wanted. Now he sleeps 3 hours during the day and goes back to bed at 8.00pm till 6.30am. Maybe don't let them sleep during the day if they still do.

Karen stircrazy


If things haven't improved since you first posted your message I would recommend you contact your health clinic in your area and ask to come in for a day stay. If day stay are not able to help you out they will refer you onto Riverton (at Clayfield) in Brisbane where you and your little boy will stay at the centre for a stay (might be 5 days) where they WILL have you and him under control with the going to bed thing. this is a free service and has a good reputation. They also have a 24hr hotline where they will talk you through it or if you are at your wits end and he is in his room crying, they will give you the reassurance and advice you need to get through it.

Hope this helps!

Nae, Qld, SAHM with DD 7yrs, DS 5yrs & DD 22mths

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