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Toddler won't sleep in bed

Discussion forum for parents in Australia


Toddler won't sleep in bed

So my wife and I have a 16 month boy old and a 5 and a half year old girl. We live in a 2 bedroom apartment, a place we've lived since our daughter was 7 months old.

Our son's bed is in our room, however he doesn't sleep in it. When he falls asleep at night and we put him in it, it's an hour at best before he wakes up crying and sometimes inconsolable.

He's very different than his sister. He's very attached and will scream when we don't pick him up or hold him much of the day. At night, I am usually up with him in the big comfy chair until he falls asleep, but whenever he goes in the bed, he generally wakes up. Sometimes I get a couple of hours but most of the time not.

If I hold him all night he'll sleep the whole night through. I try not to do this but often I fall asleep too.

I mean he's more than twice the age our daughter was when she got her own room, but we're stuck in our apartment. We have tried for a house but that is financially out of our reach and any apartment with 3 bedrooms are similarly unobtainable.

He's too young to share a room with his sister as he doesn't go to sleep when we ask him to like his sister does.

Letting him cry it out is also not possible; he actually has a toddler bed, he didn't like the confinement of the crib bars, we thought something more open would make him more comfortable and feel safe . This has not helped.

We don't know what to do. This has been going on a year.
Super contributor

Re: Toddler won't sleep in bed

Hi @Daddy-McFly, welcome to ReachOut and thanks for sharing that. I can only imagine how frustrating this must be for you, considering it has been happening for one year now. Sleep is such a delicate issue and impacts both parents and child. it sounds as though you have been doing your best to get to the bottom of this issue Smiley Happy We feel for both you and your wife, it must be such a challenging experience.


Our service is for Australian parents of teenagers aged 12 - 18, seeking support for their children's mental health. This means our support and referrals are limited by age and location as it appears that you are located in the USA. Have you thought of talking to a GP about what you have been experiencing? They may be able to direct you to local services that can help you through this. In Australia, we have a Parents Line - perhaps your country may have a similar service? You could run these keywords through Google to see if anything comes up. Please keep an eye on your email, as I will be sending one through Heart


Re: Toddler won't sleep in bed

Your little man has his own personality.  He's his own little person and has no understanding how to  conform to your daughter's construct.  Your little boy  just wants to be with you. If by having him nestled by your side for a few months, or a year or two, accommodates an acceptable familial sleeping pattern, then so be it.   He won't be sleeping in your bed when he's 10 years old.

If you're open to having him in your bed to placate all concerned .. so be it,  You may enjoy and reflect.
When he's a little older ... he'll have his own bed and you'll miss him being with you.
Unfortunately, parents are told  they need to separate themselves from their babies.  In my mind, your son was nestled and nurtured  in his mum's tum for 9.5 months. He knows your voices ... that is what soothes and comforts him.
Do not take on anyone else's advice ... do what works for you!  He is your child - be firm & loving.

I've commented on your post because your circumstance is the same as mine was .. my daughter just celebrated her 17th birthday (in isolation - as the rest of the word is) and she's just as an ordinary, everyday teen.   
You'll be fine.  He'll be fine.  Just go with the flow,  If having him sleep with you works for all ... just go with it !!

Active scribe

Re: Toddler won't sleep in bed

Have you tried moving him to another room when he falls asleep?