“Bedtime for us is a major event. When we even get close to that time of night, my daughter becomes anxious. When we put her to bed, she cries and cries. It’s gotten quite traumatic for all of us. What can I do?”
Are you establishing a clear routine? It is important to establish the same bedtime routine every night starting in infancy. For example, bath time, story time, snack time, and bed time. That way, she will know what to expect every night.
Also, from the very beginning, be sure your child knows that she should sleep in her bed, not with you. It’s all about establishing habits and routine. Let your toddler know that you run the show, not her. That means no getting out of bed, no constant cries for juice, no 30 stories read to her. If she is asking for these things, she is trying to manipulate you into postponing bedtime. Although it may be difficult, be firm with her. Going to bed never hurt anyone.
If establishing a firm routine doesn’t work for your daughter, consider talking with your pediatrician to rule out any emotional problems or anxiety issues.