Our little girl, who is 21 months old, has been sleeping really well pretty much from the beginning. We established a good routine sleeping through the night, no problem. Since Christmas however she hasn't gone to bed well, making bedtime a 3-8 hour process! Even though we haven't changed the routine at all.

She is a very active girl, so she should be tired, and I can see her yawning.

My guess is that she's too excited because I (Dad) am home all the time. When I just do the routine, put her down and say goodnight, she comes right out screaming, even if I keep putting her back to bed. (I've spent an hour doing that, back and forth.) If I stay and hold her hand, she works herself up and gets all excited that I'm still there and after half an hour, she's jumping up and down in bed, thinking it's playtime.

It's driving us crazy!

It's hard to describe the complexity of the situation in just a couple of paragraphs, but maybe someone has had a similar experience, or even just a few tips / tricks.

One more thing: I asked her grandma to put her to bed one night, with us out of the house: no problem at all. (of course)

  • Do you stay with her after you put her in bed, or do you just leave her there? We have to lay with our 22 month old for up to an hour before she goes to sleep (which is not particularly convenient). Dec 31, 2013 at 22:20
  • Welcome to the community Sam7 and thanks for your contribution. Jan 1, 2014 at 14:34
  • Same thing happening to me with our 32 month old. She wants to play forever. Her dad also had trouble sleeping as a child which makes me think we are going to be in this for a longer phase than most...
    – Rhea
    Jan 5, 2014 at 10:55

2 Answers 2


You've got a number of things going on that could be causing this little back-slide. In general, I wouldn't worry about it. Stick to your schedule and when everything else gets back to normal, your child will too.

Things to Keep in Mind:

Your daughter isn't far from turning two. You are in range of some developmental changes and when big developmental leaps occur. In my experience, a child's sleep patterns are often affected by a need for a little more sleep, over-stimulated brain that has a hard time shifting into sleep mode, or sometimes less of a sleep requirement. As I stated above, I recommend doing your best to stick to the schedule and simply ride the "wave." However, watch for big developmental leaps and if you think she is needing a change in how much sleep she gets, or her "downshift time," respond accordingly.

The holidays just mess with kids.

  • As much as you feel her routine hasn't changed, simply having extra people around changes things - energy level, noise and amount of movement in the house around her just to name a few.
  • This is the time of year for feasting and lots of special foods, candies, extra sugar (which isn't as impactfull as a lot of people think, but remains a factor). We all know what we eat in the hours before bed makes an impact on how we sleep.
  • There are also a lot of holiday lights which can make it harder to sleep. Is her room brighter because of lighted decorations the neighbors have put up? Perhaps a blanket over the window will help block out that extra light?
  • Most importantly for kids though, is the excitement of the season. Even The Night Before Christmas refers to the children's sleep when it says, "sugar plums danced in their heads." When a child is extra excited it is difficult for him/her to slow down and shift into rest mode because there is just so much to think about. It keeps the brain firing and more awake - longer. Often, this time of year, it can be helpful to add a little "downshift time" by reading one extra book before bed, or making sure to have a quiet family activity for half an hour to an hour before the child's bedtime - such as a fairly calm game session (go fish or candyland. .. ) or everyone snuggling on the couch to read together. It can really help that brain to stop over-firing a little sooner.

Finally, I think knowing that at around two, one of the "stages" many kids go through is a bit of a clingy phase may be super helpful for you based on the items you state in your question. This is one of those developmental things I refer to above, but I felt a focus on the "clingy" aspect of this age change might be beneficial.

This is an age where kids can become "attached" again to a specific person - usually mom, but not always. When this happens it can be exhibited by the child only wanting the one person to help with dressing, eating, going potty, going to bed, and etc. Most commonly, it shows up at times when that person/parent is leaving (for a night out, or work or whatever). Often, with the kids I cared for, once the parent to whom the child is "attached" is no longer available, all is well and the child does just fine without the attached adult, but while the child knows that adult can see or hear the child will make a huge fuss wanting that person only. All I can say, is reassure her that you love her and know she loves you, tell her why you can't be the one to put her down for bed (when you can't be) and then remind her she can look forward to the next night when you will be the one putting her down for bed.

Good luck and let us know how it works out.


Don't give up, and stick to a schedule. My two kids did great, with only minor glitches like you're going through, because we worked out a schedule for them. Wake-up time, snack time, nap time, lunch time, nap time, snack time, dinner time, story time, bed time. Always, every day, no matter what else was happening. Of course, we altered their schedule as they grew, but we never discarded it.

To this day, they sleep well and long enough. My oldest is 18 and at college most of the year, and she still gets up at a decent hour and chooses to go to bed early enough to get a good night's sleep.

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