My daughter is 3 years old. She has always had a bit of trouble sleeping; she will nap during the daytime because it is sunny out still. But for bed time, as it's dark, she puts the two together and won't sleep.

Everything was going well, but she got an ear infection and it all went out the window. She's not been sick for 2-3 weeks now, but it's still hell. Because she doesn't sleep, it makes her dad and me fight (which is obviously a huge stressor for her, which I get.)

She won't nap or sleep now. Our routine before was to wake her up at 7:30-8:00, but now I can wake her up at 6, keep her active all day inside and outside, yet she will still fight nonstop. I have a schedule for her but as soon as she catches on, it's over. I have to stick to the schedule throughout the day but even if I do we're at a loss.

I don't know if I should see a doctor or what. It does suck because we live in an apartment. When we didn't I would put her in her room when it was time for bed and let her scream and yell by herself but I can't do that with our neighbours. There's got to be something you guys are not saying to get them to sleep, lol.

For the past couple of days I finally got her to sleep with the TV on, but that only lasted for two days. I've done the schedule, the reading, the phone, the TV, the sleep animals, the bath, the lavender lotion, the hot milk, etc.

The irritating part of it is that after everything is said and done, she won't let herself relax. As soon as she says she's tired and she feels it, she gets completely restless. For example last night she was so tired, she fell asleep telling me what snack she wanted after hours upon hours of trying to get her to sleep.

If there is any more information needed, please let me know.

  • Hi Lisa, and welcome! I edited the question to be more readable. If I changes the meaning at all, please do feel free to edit or to roll-back. (To edit, click edit at the bottom left of your question and make the desired changes; to roll back, click edited [time] ago above my name and click "roll back" in the grey bar.) Thanks. Nov 19, 2015 at 5:43

2 Answers 2


We tried, as you have, experimenting with a lot of different things to see what works, but then after a few nights, it stops working and you try something else. It's only natural for those with a scientific mind to go through hypotheses of what might work, and trial and error, but we found that it's actually counterproductive.

The thing that worked like magic for us is to have pick a routine and stick to it.

It doesn't matter too much what your routine is, but it should be thought out in terms of something that you are willing and able to do each and every night

It takes some time, but eventually your kid will learn to associate and expect that sleep comes at the end of the routine. Here's ours, as an example.

  • Bath (every other night)
  • PJs
  • Brush teeth
  • Put on sleep sack and sit in parent's lap
  • Read 2 books (taken from one end of the book basket, put back in the other end so we rotate through all the books and it's not a battle about which one we're going to read)
  • Goodnight kiss, put kid in bed
  • Turn off the light and close the curtains
  • Say "goodnight, I love you, see you in the morning" - our cue phrase that it's time to go to sleep
  • Close the door

If there's crying, we go in after 10 or 15 min to check and offer water, diaper change (she's still in diapers), pain reliever medicine if sick or teething. We also live in an apartment, and haven't received any complaints about crying. I think your neighbors should understand that the adjustment is temporary and will in the end lead to less crying overall. Now, for example, 90% of the time, this routine works beautifully and our daughter goes to sleep on her own at the end without any tears.


here's my suggestions:

If she doesn't like the dark, put a little night light in her room, not too bright to keep her awake but light enough that she won't be scared in the dark.

When she's awake in the day and happy, say you want to talk to her about something. Explain that everyone needs sleep, and why. Say you are worried that she's not getting enough sleep, and ask her how you can help her sleep. If she says she doesn't know, ask her to think about what would help. Then do what she suggests, as long as it's within reason, or compromise.

The other thing is bribery. If there's something she really likes, for instance chocolate. Don't give her any during the day, but say that if she sleeps through she can have a small amount in the morning. It may take a few days for this to work, but she should get it and do it in the end, as long as you don't give in, and don't give her the treat unless she sleeps properly.

  • Yes! You know, I was able to potty train her over a weekend because I had a Halloween basket full of dollar store toys and candy. I didn't think about using the same for bedtime. Thank you for that.
    – Lisa
    Nov 19, 2015 at 12:57

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