Bedtime Battles

We have been so lucky with our children.  They have both always gone to bed very easily.  We rocked both of our babies to sleep every night until they didn’t want to be rocked any more.  With my first, he just started acting like he didn’t want to be touched when he was going to bed, so we would just put him in his crib and he would go to sleep. Our second has been pretty much the same.  She is almost two and she will go to sleep on her own.  They both have been great sleepers too – it is rare when one of them wakes up in the middle of the night.

Something has really changed in the last couple of weeks.  My son (he just turned five) has all of the sudden become scared to go to bed.  To me, it is irrational and I’m having a really hard time understanding it.  Nothing has changed.  He is sleeping in the same bed that he has slept in since he was 3, and it is the same room.  He is scared of the dark and scared to be alone.  Tonight, my husband and I both had to go into his room 4 times to try to calm him down.  He just loses it.  He screams that he can’t do it, meaning he can’t stay in his room by himself and go to sleep.  Then he started telling us that we don’t take care of him.  Any mom can imagine how much this hurts – it has me quite emotional!

I’m just not sure what to do at this point.  We all end up getting so worked up that I’m more exhausted than I would be if I had gone to the gym.  We try to stay calm and calm him down, but some nights that simply doesn’t work.  We encourage him that everything is ok and just go to sleep, but rarely does that get us anywhere.  We tell him to lie down and not come out of his room, but that doesn’t work either.  It ends with both of us crying most nights – it is so hard to see your child struggle with something like this.  I understand his fear, as I myself used to be scared of the dark.  Of course I don’t remember what I did to get over it.  It just goes away.  I had an older sister and I would just go sleep with her. So I write now with no great advice, no “here’s what we’ve done”.  I know he isn’t the only child struggling with this fear, so I’m looking to other mamas for some advice!

Is bedtime a battle at you house?  What have you done that has worked to win the battle?


  1. Have you put a night light in the room? I used to be scared of the dark, let’s be honest…I still am. Add a light somewhere in his room so that he doesn’t have to go to bed in the dark. Also, you might looking into using Essential Oils. We just started them in our own family and there are a few that help with aiding in rest and decreasing anxiety. You can diffuse them in the room or rub them on the bottom of their feet. I’m happy to answer any questions!!

  2. We don’t have an issue with our little guy (3 1/2 years old) seeming scared about going to bed but he does like to come out MULTIPLE times some nights…requesting a drink, having to pee, needing a certain toy to sleep with, etc. We have learned not to make a big deal of it. If he asks for us to lay with him for a bit, we do it, but just for a bit. I agree with above about a night light or Wyatt sometimes takes a flashlight…or 2…or 3 to bed with him. We just don’t fight it. We know it is a phase and as long as he goes to sleep and doesn’t bother us in the middle of the night we don’t fret about it. Does Colton get up in the middle of the night and have this same behavior?


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