Why Do Toddlers Fight Sleep? What Can You Do To Help?

Restless toddlers are one of the reasons why parents lack enthusiasm for having more kids!

Toddlers fight sleep for several reasons, all of which cause them to have an active mind, limiting their sleep quota and making it difficult to fall asleep.

Toddlers all over the world resist sleep… and often, sometimes, this issue goes away for a short period to return once again. This can cause parents to lose patience and become frustrated, but you need to understand that all parents face challenges when raising toddlers.

Sleep regression is one of these challenges!

Some toddlers might not have trouble falling asleep, but they might have other issues such as social anxiety, being too picky about food, etc.

Every child is different, and you need to understand your little one’s requirements before jumping to conclusions and losing it with them.

Why Do Toddlers Fight Sleep_ How Can You Help_

Toddler Sleep Problems – Why Do They Fight It?

toddler crying before sleeping

Not tired enough to go to bed

Toddlers have a tremendous amount of energy. They will never let you put them to bed if they don’t get enough opportunities to expend their pent-up energies.

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To know whether this is the issue, look at how much physical activity your child gets throughout the day, especially late in the day.

Plus, check if your tiny tot has the habit of taking naps in the evening because resting in the evening will keep them feeling refreshed and energized till late at night.

Making simple adjustments to the napping schedule and increasing outdoor activities will resolve this issue, and should also see your toddler suddenly sleeping more!

Is too tired to sleep

Too much activity and lack of a proper napping schedule can make a child overtired and cranky.

When this happens, children go into a frenzy, and their bodies start producing adrenaline and other stress hormones which prevent them from falling asleep.

This is a common issue that many parents face, and the solution is to relax and allow the little ones to calm down on their own.

If you begin reacting to their tantrums, it will become worse. You can also prevent this situation by ensuring that your toddler gets a proper nap early in the day.

Too much fun keeping them up

As far as children are concerned, the world is their endless supply of fun and entertainment. We also reinforce this belief by providing them with all kinds of activities to keep them active and engaged all the time.

The result?

They don’t want it to end.

They will do anything to explore the next exciting endeavor, even if it means staying out of bed. If your kids are hyperactive, you need to help them tone down.

Are they afraid of something?

Toddlers get scared very easily. At their age, imagination can run wild, meaning there could be a boogieman, a monster, or even a troll that keeps them up at night.

Sometimes the environment can also create fear in them, such as loud sounds from your t.v, dogs barking, the sound of the wind at night, etc.

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Fears begin to surface during their lives because their nervous system is sensitive and still developing.

Even the slightest spooky image or sound can turn on their fight/flight mode, keeping them up all night. If you suspect this is why your toddler doesn’t want to sleep, you might want to co-sleep with him/her until they feel safe in their room.

A scared toddler results in sleep regression. Toddler sleep goes out of the window. So does yours!

Bedtime is so boring.

Kids love having fun. If something lacks entertainment, they will stay away from it, no matter how hard you try.

If you hear your toddler saying bedtime is boring, you need to develop an exciting bedtime routine that they eagerly look forward to every day.

Since every child is different, you need to figure out what entices your little one and design a bedtime routine around it. Get creative and have some fun yourself.

They don’t want to leave your side.

Nighttime is eerily silent and dark, which tends to make some toddlers anxious. They want to cling on to you to feel safe and secure.

Given a choice, most children will want to hang out with people they love than be alone in their room. See if there is a change in your children’s behavior as it begins to get dark.

Separation anxiety is a common issue that needs to be dealt with. Patience and love are your friends here! It is the only way to get your toddler to sleep through the night again.

How can parents help toddlers sleep better?

toddler sleeping (1)

There are many things that parents can do to get their toddlers to go to bed without any resistance. After all, you need to make sure your toddler gets 14 hours of sleep each day.

But to do that, you need to figure out why they are resisting going to sleep. Getting enough sleep is a challenge each and every day.

If you feel that one of the factors mentioned above is why your toddlers fight sleep, the solutions discussed below will help you.

Create an attractive bedtime routine – the key to fighting sleep regression

Bedtime rituals for babies are easy; all you need is a soothing song. But toddlers are more demanding; they need a more creative routine.

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You can ask for your little ones’ input, and together you can come up with a bedtime ritual.

You need to take care of not making it too active instead of developing a peaceful routine.

For instance, a warm bath, cuddling up, listening to some nighttime songs, or reading together can help any sleep regression issues you have.

Gadgets and the power screens – turn them off to help your toddler fall asleep.

Any light emanating from electronic screens stimulates the brain to stay active. Harsh rays reduce the production of melatonin and serotonin, the hormones which cradle you to sleep.

This can make toddlers dynamic when they should be toning down and resting.

Make it a point to power down at least an hour before bedtime to make sure your toddler is ready for bed.

You might want to spend more time together.

Kids deprived of enough love, care, and attention end up craving more of you when it’s time to go to bed.

Toddlers whose parents are away the whole day look forward to the evenings to spend time with them. If you feel your children have separation anxiety, make sure to interact with them more.

Co-sleeping is also a solution.


If your toddlers continue to fight sleep even after your best efforts, try to step back and see what is going on.

Why does your toddler always fight you when it’s time to go to sleep?

Up until the age of five, parents need to teach them to sleep. If you are not able to deal with the situation, you can talk with your pediatrician. They will be able to help with any toddler sleep issues.

Good luck!


About ME

Let’s start with the obvious, I’m a dad.

I have 2 kids. One was dragged out from the comfort of his Mother’s womb kicking and screaming, and the other was a little easier.

Dad Gold was created to give tips that I wish someone had given me!

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