"Children show respect for parents by obeying them. Parents show respect for children by expecting them to obey. "

Curing the Bedtime Blues


Our almost 2.5-year-old daughter started to refuse to go to sleep. She doesn’t take naps at home anymore (only at daycare) and was fully sleep trained before age one. It all started with her requests to go to the potty up to 8 times in a row (she is now fully trained with no accidents) and then she would just scream and cry when I would come out of the room. I tried to leave her the nightlight, but that didn’t make any difference; opened door - still the same reaction; or just leave her to cry, which just made her scream and cry even more.

So now she falls asleep with me being on the floor next to her bed, which can take up to two hours depending on how tired she is. She is also extra attached to me in the past months. Have I created a bad habit or is it a phase? I want my evenings back!


Hello dear mom and thanks for your question!

Where bedtime is concerned, sleeping isn’t a primary issue, it’s all about parent and child learning to separate from one another. You are doing a good job trying out different strategies, hang in there!

John Rosemond tells us a history about his own daughter, Amy, that resembles yours in a certain way. Let me share a bit of it with you:

“By 10:00 o'clock, our patience having run out, one of us - usually me - would experience cerebral meltdown. I would start babbling incoherently and, eyes glowing red, would chase Amy back upstairs, beating my chest like something out of Where the Wild Things Are. This would terrify Amy so much she would be up another two hours, crying. It was usually midnight before the house was quiet.

After several months of this, realizing that persuasion, threat, and fear were not going to work, we thought of a way to outsmart her (no small feat, since children this age are much, much smarter than their parents) . One night when I was tucking Amy in, I leaned over and whispered, “When we leave your room, Amos, you can fool us by quietly closing your door, turning on the light and playing with your toys . If you're very, very quiet, we won't hear you! Mommy and Daddy will think you're asleep, and we won't get mad, and you can play until you fall asleep. Doesn't that sound like fun? Yes, it does!” Her eyes got big, and she giggled.

“But if you make a noise, or open your door,” I went on to say, “then we will have to put you back to bed and turn out your light. So let's see if you can fool us tonight, Amos. Let's see how quiet you can be.”

Magic! From that night forward, Amy delighted in fooling us. Every evening, as we tucked her in, we would remind her of our gullibility. We’d share a conspiratorial giggle with her, go downstairs, and revel freedom from parenthood. A child’s bedtime, is after all, for the sake of the child's parents.”

That’s what I suggest you do too. Make it a game and all of you can separate in a good way.

You can find the whole text in his book “Making the “terrible” twos terrific,” which I highly recommend you reading. In this book, John Rosemond presents several creative discipline hints.

Denise Rohrer
Certified Leadership Parenting Coach

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