I just got engaged and my fiancé has a 2 year old and he won’t sleep. He says he’s been like this since he was born but I just find it overwhelming. He won’t go to sleep with out his silly cup or a TV on. Even with everything he won’t sleep until 9-10 and wakes up at 1:30-2am and won’t fall back asleep unless he is in the bed with his dad.

It’s been 4 months since, I’ve been in the process of transitioning him from our bed to his own and switching from cartoons to soft music, but nothing. I have tried counting down, reminding him it’s bed time soon; he has a night routine that stays pretty consistent when he is with us. I’ve tried letting him cry it out, he will sit there and cry for 4 hours until my fiancé gets fed up and brings him in the bed. I’m feeling so emotional and exhausted over this, I don’t know what else to do ....he shares custody with his ex so we have him Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and she has him Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

  • 4
    There are a lot of answers related, such as this: parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/15077/… and parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/26658/… , but in the big picture, this little child's life is unsettled and dramatically changing (Dad getting married, going between multiple homes, minimal time with mom) and he's probably scared or insecure. Not all two year olds are developmentally able to sleep through the night even with ideal conditions and no family trauma.
    – Meg
    Dec 26, 2018 at 16:42

1 Answer 1


I think this is important enough to discuss with the child's mother. Don't insinuate that she is doing anything wrong, you are just asking what the child's sleep routine is. How does she put the boy down for the night? Does he wake up in the middle of the night? The goal is to find an acceptable middle ground so the child is seeing a consistant routine between both households.

  • Establish a reasonable bedtime hour. [Suggest halfway between when you say bedtime and when she says bedtime is.]
  • Is the TV on when he goes to bed? [If he needs the TV on, then he should be in bed earlier. [Turn it off after he falls asleep.]
  • Do both homes have a night light for his room? [if not, get the same kind for both homes.]
  • Does he wake up crying in the night? What does she do about this? [Perhaps a sippy cup with water by his bed. Then, when he wakes up, someone can go in, get him up enough to drink some water, and rub his back for a few minutes to soothe him and get him back to sleep.]

There are a few things that would explain his poor sleep habits. He is too awake at bedtime (he is too stimulated), so turn the TV off for everyone while he is getting ready for bed. Bedtime is not playtime, so no tickling or anything that would get a child hyped up. He may be waking up because he soils his diaper or pull ups (at 2 he probably isn't potty trained). He is having a dream and doesn't understand this concept, which frightens him. He is waking up to a dark room and is frightened because he doesn't recognize where he is. All of those things can be resolved. So, first step for you and his father is to try to analyse the problem and resolve it. I'm sure you will.

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