Parenting--Toddlers/Infants/Pre-Schoolers/Toddler not sleeping any more


My 22 month old son has decided recently that he won't sleep unless my husband or I are either sleeping on the floor in his room or standing next to his crib.  This has been going on for a week.  Prior to this he was a good sleeper, sleeping consistently through the night since about 9 months old.  We put him down awake and he goes to sleep on his own.  We moved into a new house in May and he now has his own room compared to our old house where he shared with an older sister.  He has been in his own room for 2 months without issue.  In fact he likes going to his room and is proud of his room.  He still sleeps in a crib.  I told my husband not to give in and sleep in the room with him so we tried to cry it out the other night and my husband said our son was shaking the last time he went in.  The crying is more like a scream and he says "momma" or "dada" over and over.  Basically screams himself horse.  Stops crying as soon as we approach his crib, grabs our shirts or arms and won't let go.  If we lay down by him he lays down and most times falls asleep in minutes.  Other times he watches and if you move even the slightest bit he jumps up and says "no sleep here".  He has also been waking up 2-4 times a night.  No teeth coming in, not sick. He normally doesn't throw tantrums, if he doesn't get his way he will hit whatever is making him mad or stomp his foot (working on that).  Will sometimes cry when he gets put in timeout but even then usually just sits and talks to us (ignored) or sings songs to himself.  Daycare doesn't see the hitting, and said he sleeps just fine for them.  
Any suggestions appreciated.

HI Erin, This is a tough one especially since it has only recently started.  Some children don't like being in a room by themselves and it is hard to know for sure what would have brought this change in behaviour on so suddenly, although it is also not uncommon for two year olds to have sleep issues or regress in their sleeping habits.
Is it possible to try to put the crib back in with his sister? for four nights and see if he settles a little more then it may just be something about the room.  If this still continues after four nights of a new sleeping place then it could be a phase he is going through.  
I don't specialise in sleep issues mainly because I tended to give in to my boys because I would not let them cry it out and would prefer to comfort them especially when they can't really explain with words what is going one for them.  Bear in mind this could go on for a few more months until 3 or 4 years old.  
You could maybe put on some calming music and maybe tell him when the music stops you will be back to check on him (although he may not understand this at his age and would not work if he was already crying). If you want to start a reward chart but I don't know how productive this would be at his age.  Another thing you could try is if he gets beside himself and too worked up take him out of the room and try to take him back 20 mins later.  It is not an easy battle and if you can tolerate his screaming/crying and he goes to sleep from exhaustion then the phase will probably last for a shorter period. Please feel free to follow up.  Kind regards, Eleanor  


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Eleanor Formaggio


I can answer questions where practical advice is sought in relation to behaviour issues of 2-10 year olds. I specifically look at the influence of personality in a child's behaviour and tailor advice to suit the individual child and parent. This is useful since not all children are the same. I can suggest techniques for tantrums, child aggression and sibling rivalry and adapting to change.


I am a counsellor and child behaviour consultant based in Sydney, Australia and mum to three boys ages 12,10 and 6. I have been involved in setting up and facilitating community support groups for new mothers and run parenting workshops so parents can better understand their children's behaviour. I have spent alot of time observing personality differences in children and understanding how these differences can be used to make parenting easier. I developed the Early Childhood Personality Rating Scale for identifying child personality types in children as young as two. I am the founder of Parent with Potential and developed the Prechooler Personality Kit and READ personality system for primary aged children. More info can be found at

Book: In this Present Moment: Quality Time Ideas for busy parents.

I have a Bachelors Degree in Applied Social Science (Counselling).

Past/Present Clients
Parents of 2-8 year olds. Mothers with Postnatal Depression or anxiety attending a support group or seeking individual counselling or advice in relation to their child's behaviour.

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