Is it always a struggle to make kids sleep on time?

I tell people my now 15 month old has been refusing to sleep since he was a young baby. They say he’ll pass out once he’s too tired, and then I know they are underestimating my situation, because this has never happened in his post newborn life. He will literally blast past nap times, sleep time, grow dark circles under his eyes, rub his eyes till they're red, get slow and cranky, even melt down, and if you put him down he will still get back up, no matter how often you try. Again and again. Then they will ask, "Well, have you tried..." Yes, I have. Whatever 101 technique they are about to mention that can be googled, I've tried. Singing him a lullaby. Nope. Just makes him more energized, and he demands I sing it again. On loop. Puts in the request even sometimes before the song ends. Rocking him and/or singing a lullaby until he's drowsy. Nope. Soon as I even start to put him down, he pops up alert. Doesn't matter how drowsy or even asleep he is. Once he begins that decent to the sleeping surface, he springs into action. Sleeping next to him. Nope. I just end up being the one who falls asleep, and then I'm too tired to stop the kid who is climbing all over me. Putting him to sleep in X location. It doesn't seem to matter whether he sleeps in my bed or in his pack n play, in our home or somewhere else, he'll refuse to sleep anywhere. Making his sleep area conducive to sleep. Haha. Lights off, temperature warm or cool, a speaker softly playing his favorite lullaby on one hour loop, all toys and stimulus put away, with or without his favorite stuffed animal as a sleep buddy, with or without a sleep sack, fresh sheets, expensive new mini crib mattress, fancy pillows, making the space as boring as possible. I've. Tried. It. All. The only result is that I'm out more money and hours of my life that I'll never get back. Tiring him out. Hahaha! By experience that's giving the little terrorist what he wants. Establish a sleep routine. He's literally had one since he was a baby: bath, moisturize all over, change into pjs and fresh diaper, brush, read book, fight to sleep. Taking him to his doctor. On many occasions we've seen his pediatrician, several nurses, Parent-Child counselors, veteran parents, and baby whisperers. They all said nothing unusual seems to be the case with my kid, and that he seems perfectly healthy. Then the 101 tips come. Crying it out. Seriously, this is the only thing that's remotely worked, and only half the time. Not great odds. When it doesn't work, he will cry endlessly. Or he'll cry, fall asleep, fight sleep and get back up, cry some more, repeat. He's louder now as a toddler and our walls are thin. No one and none of the neighbors win. I'm worried someone might call the cops on the noise. What we resort to doing now is scolding him when he keeps getting back up. It's come down to yelling at him after 20 minutes of trying to help him sleep with all of the above, because it will be countless hours if you don't. I hate this!!!! I hate that I have to get yelling mad at my kid every damn night before he will do something he ultimately wants to do. I hate that the rest of the household has to be exhausted and livid before he'll stay down. I hate that if you don't do this, the entire house will revolve indefinitely around getting him to sleep, fruitlessly. And even scolding doesn't always work. Is this something I have to live with indefinitely? Or is there a way for a kid like mine?

  • Anonymous
    Dec 01

    My baby girl is the same way. Seriously. A few times she has passed out for a nap because she was beyond the point of exhaustion. But otherwise it’s always a struggle. And the only thing that will actually put her to sleep is having a bottle even though everyone says we need to be weaning her. She’s now 15.5m.

  • Anonymous
    Dec 01

    Don't hire a sleep trainer. You'll survive this. My daughter is 2 years old and has never slept through the night. Bed time could range anywhere from 9pm to 1am depending on the day. She would wake up anywhere from 7 am to 10am. Sometimes shed nap. Sometimes she wouldn't. She would wake up anywhere from 2 -10+ times a night and the longest she went without sleep was 37 hours. I honestly came to hate every parent who offered there crappy sleep tips, thinking there six month old who woke up once a night was a bad sleeper. My daughter turned two in October and has just turned to a "schedule". I dont know what clicked exactly. I became fed up and noticed she slept better when she went outside so we started spending 4+ hours a day outside. I became strict on sleeping past 8:30am. Eventually I moved the cut off to 8 am. She seemed to routinely go to bed at 11 do I started moving it 30 minutes early week by week and no longer let her nap. I still have to rock and sing her to sleep. She is usually in bed by 8, definitely by 8:30 and up at 7. She never naps. talk to your doctor and see if they have suggestions. Other than that, it takes time and patience and no amount of sleep training, books, and sleep trainers is going to fix it. And scolding him definitely wont, he has no clue what you're scolding him for. I'm a single mom so the always being up with my daughter thing was extremely difficult and I'm so sorry you have to deal with it. It will eventually resolve on it's own and if it's becoming too much ask for help or discuss it with the pediatrician.

  • Jess
    Dec 02

    We have a 19mo old that doesn’t sleep. Always been a horrible sleeper with us since day one. Will take 2-3 hour naps at daycare but never with us on the weekends. In bed by 8pm and up every morning at 5:30 on the dot. Won’t fall asleep unless we are laying down with her rubbing her head. We actually moved her to a twin bed on the floor as we couldn’t handle the back pain of leaning over for 30 minutes every night 😀 Honestly don’t know if age or bed but the bigger bed helped. Sleeps thru most nights now. She is also a power napper... if she gets a 20 min nap in the car.. that’s all we get for the day. I don’t have any advise except to say you’re not alone!

  • Eleanor

    Mine had serious sleep challenges, too, for years. The good news is that she did eventually grow out of them! I tried everything, and literally nothing worked. It just took time. She started sleeping through the night with some regularity at 2 1/2 and now sleeps though the night 7/10 nights at 3y 2mos. Good luck!!

  • anonymous mom

    This sounds so tough!!! I feel like I spend so much time worrying about my child’s sleep but your story is so much worse so I won’t pretend it’s not. Hugs to you!! The only thing I can think of that you didn’t mention is a pediatric ent. I have a friend whose sisters son was refusing sleep to the point of absolute meltdown and then he’d only sleep a few hours and it turned out he had some kind of breathing issue. His pediatrician kept blowing them off but finally gave them a referral to the ent. They did a outpatient corrective procedure and he is now able to breathe efficiently while lying down and this has helped his sleep tremendously!!! I know it’s like a Hail Mary but maybe worth considering?? Good luck! ❤️❤️

  • Lari

    With crying it out, it’s not necessarily leaving him there until he falls asleep, but teaching him to fall asleep independently. Consistency, every night. I recommend the fb page and book precious little sleep or instagram @takingcarababies. You need to be consistent. It sounds like you have tried a lot of things, but keep in mind all these will take some time to stick and for your toddler to learn. If you keep the routine, a good schedule and put him down independently, it should work after a few days or a week. Also, overtired kids have a harder time falling asleep. Can you get baby to nap in the car or something for a few days so you can sleep train at night? Good luck!

  • Anonymous

    My fail safe is a car ride on a freeway, any long drive over 45 mph. I’m sorry though, if waking up is a problem as well I don’t have a tip for that. Is the diet good? Not a lot of sugar or fruit before bed? I wish you the best.

  • HR

    Would it be worth it to try to get a referral to a sleep clinic? Maybe they’d be able to figure something out?