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.

1 Like

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

1 Like

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

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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

1 Like

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

He does that because he probably got his way when doing it before. Ignore the behavior. Say “alright in x minutes we are getting ready for bed” if he starts the screaming just say “okay, I know you are mad or sad and that’s okay but you’re not behaving very nicely” and then dont acknowledge him again until he stops. My kids have slowly learned that throwing a tantrum just gets them completely ignored. It had worked for the most part


Get him a dog or cat.

From the time he wakes up to the time he goes to bed, have an everyday routine going if you don’t already. Children thrive on routine. Before bed, we do a dance party/exercise, snack or milk, then a lavender bath and brushing teeth. We use lavender essential oil on our daughters pillow and melatonin as needed. Along with white noise and patting on the butt/gently tickling her back if she wakes up! Just some things that help us!

Try a hot babble bath with a shower gel that smells a bit minty just before bed time ! Hope this helps.

After supper give him a nice bath make it fun but relaxing, put lotion of him there’s some that’s supposed to calm them, read a book and lay with him next to his bed until he falls asleep. Theres always a light that projects on the ceiling he’d probably enjoy watching and falling asleep too

Just recently started melatonin with my 3 year old. He was a severe colic baby and never slept after that. Or if he fell asleep he would wake all night. Finally as a last resort I gave it a try. We did 13 nights then stopped. He was staying asleep all night. Then he went to a few nights a week so with me not being comfortable giving it to him regularly we usually use it maybe once a week or twice on a bad week. It has helped wonders. Just my opinion but I think it will help him stay calm and asleep.

I’ve never dealt with the screaming to that degree but I sleep in a king size bed with my 4 year old and my 20 month old. My husband sleeps in the other bedroom. It wasn’t a problem when my husband worked nights but now it’s a bit ridiculous. 4 year old says he wants a bunk bed for Christmas and then he’ll sleep in his room… yeah we’ll see. Based off his personality, I think if I can get the 4 year old to sleep in his room, the 20 month old won’t be too hard to transition. My oldest has always been 10 times needier than the youngest so I think despite my efforts, he still views sleeping by himself as a punishment.

Put him to bed and let him scream? My 3 year old hates bedtime too. I still make him go to bed. Lol

Your son is going to be alright he had an unclean spirit he is blessed in the name of Jesus Amen

1 Like

I saw a couple other moms say to not announce bedtime. Just do what u normally do during the day…let it flow. When YOU know it’s time for him to go to sleep, start doing his bedtime routine. Do a nice bath…ask him if he wants to lay down in his bed n read a story…set up for bedtime and let nature take its course. Melatonin isn’t so bad to use to get him to relax right b4 g2sleep. Hopefully can make it happen without saying anything of the sort. If not, then maybe he had a dream or something that makes him scared to sleep. T2him n see why he does scream when its bedtime. If its something to do w monsters, make a monster spray bottle to assure him…if its nightmares n they’re consistent, then u might need further professional help (sleep study possibly). I hope it works out for u mama

He’s trying to get a reaction from you.

Can he sleep on his mattress on your floor. That’s how I got my son to sleep by himself. After a month on our floor I moved him. He refuses to sleep anywhere for now.

I had that problem. I rock my 2 year old to sleep. Literally hold him and just rock him. Times where it took almost an hour to rock him

Is he scared? My son had a hard time sleeping and would wake up screaming for months and we had no idea why. We tried everything and hate to sound crazy, but we actually contacted a paranormal investigator to come out because he was terrified to even go in his room. Turns out, it was his tent. He had a paw patrol tent in his room and he would panic thinking there was someone in it and so he had trouble sleeping. We took it down and put a night light in that corner and boom, no more problem. He was around 2 1/2-3 at the time.

We had this problem as well because he refused to sleep by himself. We had a set bedtime and we read a book with him so he knows yes it’s bedtime . It took several weeks for him to 100% adjust and not get out of bed each time we walked out . He has an iron man light he is 3 so we told him we will keep the light on if he stays in bed and we check for “monsters” . We also have a star board and going to bed on time is one of them which also makes him excited to go to sleep and wake up to put a star on . It did take a while but set a routine and consistency is important . He has to learn . When he gets up just put him back to bed without fussing at him . Try to get to his level and understand why he is acting like that before bed and reassure him

Wow!.. I definitely feel your pain. My granddaughter is 4 and its definitely tough when they refuse to listen. Just remember that when one phase ends another starts and each phase doesn’t last that long. Its VERY frustrating and tiring. My grandbaby is my shadow…I cant go into the kitchen, bedroom or bathroom without her or she’ll scream that I didn’t hold her hand. I have to go back and hold her hand or she will repeat it 100 times!! Sometimes we think she has OCD because it gets that bad.
( I’m not exaggerating the 100 times) I noticed that since shes been in daycare things have gotten a little better and this past week I had her for a sleepover and it was the first time that she didn’t scream for me to hold her hand when I left the room. I try to remember the old saying, " always hold yr childs hand because one day they won’t want to." And yes, bedtime is another thing she hated. But she got a new big girl bed and a new nightlight that she loves. It projects colorful stars on her walls and ceiling. I think it lulls her into sleep ~
Best of luck to you and yr sanity!!:shamrock::shamrock:

Give him a good ole butt whipping. Give him something to scream about! JKJK. I’m kidding of course!


Ear plugs. Please no rude remarks to me
I’m not being sarcastic. I had the same problem with my Son. The tantrums and screaming were unbearable. I had tried everything also. Reading, warm bath. Literally everything I felt like such a bad Mom that I would go outside and cry
I could still hear him screaming. I finally just did the bedtime routine, bath, brush teeth,read a book to him in his bed, tuck him in, kiss him good night and leave him there. He would sometimes scream for a hour. It’s torture. He finally stopped. It took probably a month or more but he finally would go to sleep. My thoughts are with you two. I know the struggle. Don’t give in or the next thing will be harder. He’s grown now, we both made it through. He is still hard headed but he didn’t stop loving me. Good luck to you both


Maybe try telling him all the fun things you will do tomorrow but he’s got to sleep first. Also, does he appear to have night terrors and is scared to go to sleep? My son suffered from night terrors bad and most nights he didn’t want to sleep because the dreams scared him so much. Melatonin worked great for him.

We dont use the word naptime at my house. Instead we use quiet time where mine can read books. It was frustrating at first but now she reads books in her room until she goes to sleep. So obviously she cant really read but she remembers what the pictures say.

Put him in his room and shut the door if nothing else is working

Sounds like you’ve done everything :woman_shrugging:t3: maybe a good old ass whooping is in order. There’s a difference from abuse and smacking that ass. God gave kids fat thighs and an ass for a reason. Seemed to work for a few hundred of years.

Tantrums didnt last long in my house

1 Like

Will I get jumped if I say spank him.

Seriously though I went thru something similar. I forced myself to ignore went to a different room even cried ect. It stopped eventually.


Smile, and say, you’re so silly! or Good job you’ll be tuckered out in no time! They’re often are just being contrary. So make the contrary work for you. Next bed time try* It’s time to use up the lungs before bed!* If he thinks that it’s become part of the routine, it won’t be so much fun for him.

talk to your dr about meltoinin warm bath before bed with baby bath lavender

1 Like

Hes probably scared to sleep. Maybe having nightmares and is afraid to sleep. Maybe hes not taking enough melatonin to stay asleep.

1 Like

Bribery is always an option, promise him something he really wants if there is no screaming, sometimes even something small is amazing to lil ones…

1 Like

I spray lavender into my sons room if he’s having a hard night. I also use a lavender based soap so that the hot shower plus the smell of lavender relaxes him. Before bed maybe make a short game where he is using energy so that he’s tired before bed

1 Like

Invest in a good pair of earplugs and noise cancelling headphones on top of them. Then get a really good book or computer game or something. He’s fed. He’s clean. He’s safe. He’s warm. If he’s still upset, maybe he’s over tired. Maybe he has serious FOMO. Regardless, he has to sleep, and you’re not hurting him by putting him in his room and leaving him there. You can check in on him every 5 mins one night, kiss him, lay him back, say you’re ok, and leave. Then next night, say goodnight, kiss him, leave, go back every 10 mins, you’re ok, give a kiss, leave. The next night 15 mins, then 30, then once every 60. Then once every 2 hours. If you stick hard to the same bedtime and the same routine, he’ll catch on and learn to let go.

Just put him to bed and walk away

Does he nap OK during the day? Could it be something medical/physical that causes him pain when he lies down? Would he sleep better in a recliner or propped up?

There are professionals who help get kids to sleep. Maybe contact one to help you.

Maybe he’s not sleeping well? Have his tonsils/adenoids been checked? My daughter had to have hers removed because she slept awfully and would wake a lot/snore/have nightmares

1 Like

Its become just bad behavior. Just keep to a routine, tell him he can play quietly in his room for a while and if he doesnt wind down himself, you can either ignore the tantrum or what i used to do was go for a car ride. He would fall right asleep in minutes and i would carry him in and tuck him into his bed once he was asleep. It may not be the perfect solution but it worked for me and it broke the tantrums at bedtime routine.

Have u ask him why hes screaming.

1 Like

I see a lot of suggestions for melatonin. Yes, it’s all natural. With that being said, a child that young shouldn’t NEED melatonin to help him sleep. That’s like parents giving their kids benadryl or cough syrup to put them to sleep. Too many parents use it as an easy out because they don’t wanna deal with their children and wonder why there’s so many addicts in this day and age. Yall are teaching your kids to take a pill and make it all better. I just had this discussion with my daughter for giving it to her two year old. My children took it when they were 10 YEARS (and older and only when they couldn’t fall asleep after an hour of trying to) and the dr recommended it. I’d never heard of it until the dr recommended it. Get him ready for bed and tell him it’s quiet time and that he can play quietly with a few soft toys in bed. Try not saying bed time. Read to him and then have quiet time. Don’t just give a pill (or gummy) just because it’ll knock him out.

1 Like

If he screams when he sleeps with you also I’d say he has had nightmares or watched or seen something that he thinks will get him at bedtime…does he have a night light in his room or a tv that you can dim so he can watch and slowly fall asleep…something has triggered him to where he is scared to sleep specially with the way he reacts in his sleep he us afraid of something and not having very good dreams

Try essential oils! Look up which ones would help with like calmness sleepiness and whatnot

They are really good all natural ones u can buy, no chemicals!

I know I may get some comments about this, I don’t care.

you try praying, with him the first few nights so he’ll know the prayer. it may help him feel safer within his dream. I don’t know your religious beliefs, but I say a prayer with my older daughter who used to scream and sometimes still does (she’s 4 going on 5 in Dec) and she goes to sleep afterwards.

the prayer is:

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I shall die before I wake, I pay the Lord my soul to take.
God bless my mom, and Dad, and every one I love and care about.
Let your angels camp around our house, so that no harm or evil come to us.
beat up all the monsters and cucooman (or boogyman, whatever you call him) and let no harm come to us.
Keep us warm and safe, in the name of Jesus, aman.

all it take is the faith of a muster seed and he’ll hear you. It’s up to you to protect their physical world, but he may need help either in the spiritual world or mentally. The prayer helped my daughter feel safer and stop screaming before bedtime. I don’t know if you believe, but kids can see things we cant, I can feel unseen things but that’s besides the point. Maybe he sees something in his room at bedtime that scares him and he doesn’t want to sleep cause whatever is scaring him hurts him in his sleep. It’s worth a try at least.

Will he fall asleep anywhere else during the day? If he does then wake him up. Maybe he isnt tired enough to go to sleep at night. Take him out to the park and let him run around and use up his energy. If he is sitting watching a lot of tv he isnt using up his energy. get him a mini trampoline and make up an obstacle course outside or in the house. Just keep him moving all day and see if that helps.

Stroke his head. One minute he will be asleep. Keep preserving. Give him prompts bedtime is coming. Try lullabies at night

Bath&Body works makes this pillow spray that has chamomile and lavendar to help calm down. Spray it then have them lay down and read to him. Maybe just laying in the scent will chill them out and help

#1, Does he nap?

#2, he is testing you. Stop telling him its bedtime. Go through the routine without making the announcement. Without caving and giving in to him, change up what you are doing but remain consistent in following through with putting him to bed.


He’s scared of something no little kid should go to bed like that there’s is something wrong i have 4 kids i would never put my kids in a room they were scared of

Over face.
Hold until he stops moving.


Try just calling it or having a relax time, snuggle time and just talk. My kids would fall asleep just listening to me talk. Till this day, they still fall a sleep. LOL

Don’t say anything to him, just do what you naturally do each night, if he has a favorite toy hand it too him, and put on some soothing music, like waves from the ocean. and if he screams walk away, he will eventually go to sleep, you all give in to easily and he knows it, sleeping in your bed( Worse idea ever) He’s getting over on you all and doing a good job at it…Time for baby #2

Give the child . Mama’s shirt or dress. To hold on too. Has your smell.
Old trick.

I had that problem, i just stopped telling them when its bed time and let them fall asleep at their own time any where it please them, then carry them to bed as they grow older i changed it to suit me and they sleep on their bed with no fuss no noise or crying

My problem was similar to yours with my now 6 year old. She was about 3 at the time. She would scream and not stay in her room. What worked for us is we would say good night read a book give her kisses. Then we literally had hold the door closed until she finally feel asleep. We reversed the lock on her door but she figured out how to unlock it​:joy:. Let me tell you it wasn’t pretty and she didn’t give in until day 3 :pleading_face:. After She cried, screemed, kicked the door. While she was having these complete melt downs I wouldn’t engage with her. You have to just let them be because once you do the cycle starts ALL OVER AGAIN! Trust me I gave in a couple of times and I didn’t do me any favors. It was crazy!!! But you have to see it all the way through. Trust me I wanted to give up soooooooo many times! But didn’t and it worked.

We sometimes have to use melatonin. Our two youngest even though they are tired still need to have it sometimes (Both Autistic) 2 and 4 years old. What we found helps with the 2 year old is a pod swing that is easily removable from their bedroom. He struggles with transitions so we use the swing in between transitions. Even though your child isn’t special needs something like this may help? Good luck💙

Start a reward chart. Get a small whiteboard, make 5 columns. Everytime he does good he earns a star, bad behavior loses a star. 5 stars gets a reward. We use this every single day. I used a $1 whiteboard from the Dollar general. I reward with a trip to target to get a toy.

My kids used to make that high-pitched screaming. My best friend told me you need to teach your kids your triggers. My children were three and five at the time. told him you just please stop making a high pitch noise because when you do I spank you and I don’t want to but it did something weird in my brain. After I reminded them a few timesand I noticed that they were not getting spanked as long as you didn’t make that noise they stopped making a noise they didn’t want to get spanked any more than I wanted to spank him. As far as bedtime and I let them lay with me and it’s all good you cantalk to your three-year-old like a human being and like they have a brain and they can understand all you have to do is get on the same plane and connect first

Read John Rosemond’s books and check out his Facebook page for great advice on issues like yours. He’s excellent!!

Have you tried a little “love tap” lol jkjkjkjk.
Putting your foot down only lasts so long because we have soft spots for them obviously lol.
Dont let him know its bed time.
Maybe put a movie on, what’s what i do for mine.

Something about sleeping is scaring him.
Does he have nightmares?
Does he hear noises in his room? Talk to him.

1 Like

Sometimes you just need to let him scream and realize you’re not going to come back in the room

I feel for you but with this problem there is just no way to get around the screaming he has found it works and that he gets what he wants

Put on a pair of ear phones & let him scream the house down while you listen to some of your favourite music

1 Like

Dont say bed time say I’m tired let him see tired never react to his fits lights out it may take a while