My 3-year-old screams every time it is bedtime: Advice?

I’ve tried everything to have a smoother bedtime, I’ve changed times my three-year-old is put to sleep, I read books, I’ve tried singing him to sleep, we’ve gotten him so tired from playing all day that he can barely keep his eyes open, but that doesn’t stop the problem. Whenever we say bedtime, he will just start high pitch screaming and what I like to call the “fake cry” it’s so loud I’ve seriously thought my ears were bleeding. I’ve had neighbors come over and ask if he’s okay… I even had cops come once because it literally sounds like he’s dying. I’m at a complete loss! He has his own room, and he sleeps in his own bed with the door open, and as a last resort, we started going to bed a little earlier with him sleeping with us but the same thing. He’ll scream and cry, and when he finally does go to sleep, he kicks in his sleep and wakes up every time we even move so him sleeping with us is not an option because it doesn’t work, and we prefer him sleeping on his own anyway. His doctor mentioned melatonin, but him getting tired is not the problem; it’s the screaming. I’m just at my wit’s end, and I can’t keep taking the screaming, so please and Thank y’all in advance.


I noticed you guys have tried all except a hot bubble bath before bed. Good luck. My 2 yr old also sleeps on her own and refuses to sleep in any other bed but I haven’t got there yet so I can’t say but so much.

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Following because it takes 4 hours to put my 2 year old to sleep most nights even with melatonin.

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So stop saying bedtime…dont say anything. Just say sleep tight or have a good rest.

Kicking = restless leg syndrome?

Try subliminal music for sleeping on YouTube

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I have no advice, just words of comfort! This too shall pass :purple_heart: however I can fully relate to the kicking in his sleep and waking himself up , my 18month old randomly wakes herself up crying “NO NO NO” between 3/4 times a night… xx​:woman_shrugging:t3:

Sounds like your little views bedtime as a punishment. What’s your nightly routine ? Make it fun, make a game out of it for him. Reward him for brushing his teeth, putting pjs on, etc.

Does he wake at night screaming? Perhaps he has bad dreams and is afraid to go to sleep? Hopefully he grows out of it soon.

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For the screaming, do you have a no screaming rule during the day? When I nannied we had a rule where they were only allowed to scream if they were hurt or if a stranger was talking to them, enforcing the rule during the day made it easier in the evenings because they would start screaming and I would get their attention and say “what’s the rule for screaming?” I started it around 2, and they understood the concept, so 3 would definitely understand. It may take a little while but it’s worth a shot.

I have trouble with our 3 year old too, we have a red light, and Mozart etc playing on his mobile, but I’m assuming this, like everything else, is just a phase. I must admit since the introduction of the red light/white noise/lavendar defuser hes actually sleeping better once we actually get him to sleep. Perhaps try one of those?

Start routine bedtime right after supper with things that will help to wind him down a hot bubble bath a storybook red laying down with him in his bed maybe just for 10 to 15 minutes and like the other woman said sweet dreams keep it a routine and if he continues to scream just you have to walk out of the room and just let it happen but continue your routine of the bubble bath the story the calm down time maybe even a walk in his stroller no nice cool air in the evening

Have you asked your child why he acts like that? Maybe he’s scared of the dark, maybe he needs a sound machine, maybe he has nightmares?

Have a set routine and you need to have consistency
5:30-6 supper
6-6:30 bath
6:30-7 story time
7:15 bedtime
Also give ur kid multiple time reminders so every 5 mins remind him you have 10 mins left of bath time then u get story time and then bed then in five minutes give a another reminder but remember u need to have consistency and keep it the same every time


Have you tried building a cool fort around his bed and making it fun to get in bed?

Have you tried laying down with him in his bed/bedroom? That way when he finally does to sleep, you can go to your bed without disturbing him. Also, don’t say anything about bedtime or going to sleep. Just go in there and lay down with him. I used to just lay with my kids real still and quiet and eventually they would stop wiggling and talking and fall asleep. Sometimes I did too! LOL! I’m sending waves of encouragement and strength to you.

Have you tried holding him & rocking him to sleep? I rocked both my boys. They would never just go to bed and go to sleep. They had to be rocked

Maybe don’t call it bed time anymore. Say nap? Or explain when it’s dark outside it’s time to close our eyes. Its helped my kids alot! I’ve found explaining things to my kids rather than getting frustrated gets results much quicker. Do you do bath before? What times his bed time? Is he getting a full night’s rest? Is he comfortable in his bed?

Don’t announce bedtime, trick him to sleep

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I used melatonin after dinner for about 2 weeks to train mine to go to sleep