Our child, 20 months old now, no longer lets me put her to sleep in the evening. We used to alternate with the mom and both cherish this part of parenting. It was fine -- we both followed the same routine.

However, about two months ago, the kid started crying unconsolably when I would put her on the changing table. I can hold her and disrobe her just fine elsewhere, but, when it is time for the diaper-change, screaming and crying begins. Mom comes in and happily takes over -- and the crying stops almost immediately. The kid even waves me good-bye smiling...

I'm hoping, she'll outgrow this phase, but I wonder, what is the reason -- and if I can do something about it.

  • 1
    I'm dealing with a similar situation. My son (26 months) is fine with me handling him exclusively, but once the mom is around as well, we're facing the challenge that he won't let me put him to sleep, change him, etc. We noticed a couple of patterns that feel bad - like when he doesn't want to do something at all then we can coerce him to perform that something with mom by letting him choose between me and the mom. We're going to avoid that pattern from now on, but still, I'm a bit puzzled whether this might be a normal phase or indicating something that should be "fixed".
    – Theuni
    Commented Dec 25, 2017 at 10:28
  • why does this have to be a one-parent-at-a-time thing? i would start by observing mom's technique very closely and trying to emulate it as best you can. are you forgetting the powder? giving her diaper wedgies? not singing her favorite song? Commented Dec 26, 2017 at 6:06
  • my child is autistic and whilst she loves my wife and tells her how lovely she smells all through the day, the moment that her pyjamas go on, it can only be me, ever, that she comes to. Its quite normal, and if yours is autistic there is nothing you can do but wait it out Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 11:17
  • Looks like she doesn't like the way you change her diapers. Does she cry if you allow mom to change diapers but you carry her to her bed and tell her stories ?
    – svj
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 12:03

3 Answers 3


Well, I’m a BIT authoritarian in my parenting style, so keep that in mind. But...

My general philosophy of parenting (and it definitely applies in this situation) is that Dad and I do what works for US, because we are the ones doing the work. Sometimes the kids like our decisions, sometimes they don’t, but no amount of screaming fit is going to change the decisions, because a tantrum isn’t going to change what works for us. And either way, the kids adapt, and it usually doesn’t take too long. (Or many tantrums).

If your daughter is 20 months, she likely understands some language at this point - I would explain to her that “Mommy and daddy take turns. Tonight is daddy’s night, tomorrow is mommy’s night. If you want a story and a song tonight, then it’s going to be daddy and not mommy. If you don’t want a story or a song, that’s ok and you can go to bed without one.”

Keep in mind that even if she seems to like mommy better right now, she will grow to like bed time with daddy too, as long as you keep insisting on that being part of her routine. And don’t take her screaming personally :) things are very black and white for kids - if they aren’t getting exactly what they want, they have a hard time seeing merit in anything else until they’ve tried it.


Why don't you try putting her to bed together? This way, you don't lose touch and she does not have to choose.

  • Because I can't make it home from work in time every day -- and when I do, I want her all to myself. Also because she gets distracted by the "party"...
    – Mikhail T.
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 22:10
  • even sometimes is good. Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 8:41

Welcome to parenting.

Take your kid to a doctor to verify there is no illness or health concerns.

If your child is healthy, they will grow out of it. This is very normal and many parents have felt the same way.

Good luck!

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