Our daughter is approaching 2 and has consistently had issues with bedtime.
At the mention of bedtime, she will regularly start crying (but still follows me upstairs to bed). In general, one of us takes her upstairs at 7:30 pm, changes her into pajamas, turns off the lights, and turns on her nightlight. Our daughter usually helps with all of these behaviors. We then sing some songs in the dark and I pray that she's fallen asleep.
This always seems to be crap shoot. Either she's conked out and fallen asleep, in which case I can put her down and leave; the whole process taking maybe 30 minutes (out at 8:00 pm). Or she's not asleep at all, and the suggestion of leaving causes her to throw a tantrum that one of us has to mitigate or we have to endure for something in the range of 2 hours plus (she won't fall asleep until 10:00 or later).
If we let her do as she pleases, she would play around downstairs until about 10 pm and then fall asleep on the floor. This isn't acceptable to us for a litany of reasons.
Furthermore, her nighttime sleep pattern is not consistent. She's often prone to waking up at any hour of the night between 1:00 am and 7:00 am.
Is there something we should be doing to break these tantrums? Is there anything we can be doing different to keep her sleeping through the night?