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Two Year-Old Has Trouble Sleeping at Friend’s House

Question:

My two year-old daughter is normally very compliant and even-tempered but when it comes to bed time at my cousin’s house, my daughter freaks out. After an hour of screaming I start to get upset with her. I don’t want to act out of anger but I also don’t know how to help her sleep at my cousin’s house without a fight.

Answer:

Having a two year-old in the home can be a challenge at times. It sounds like she is upset when you stay at your cousin’s because her routine has changed, and at two years-old, this is normal behavior. Now, let's tackle how to handle it! 

One way to try to dissolve the situation is to establish a bedtime routine. This might include helping her brush her teeth, reading her a story, saying prayers and singing her a song before she goes to bed. Whatever the routine is, it should be consistent. If you make it fun, she will think it's fun. We cannot encourage a bedtime routine enough, especially reading time. When parents read to their children, the child is learning the magic of language. When introducing a new routine or a parenting technique, you may find the child resists and this is a normal and temporary part of the process.  If you stick with it that will eventually go away.

Parenting can be difficult at times and we completely understand. It's important that you have coping skills to handle parental frustration. For some people this includes journaling, deep breathing, calling a friend or family member for support or listening to music.

If you establish a routine you can take certain parts of that routine to other places, such as your cousin's house. It may be a different geographical location but you can show her that she is safe by continuing your routine as you normally would. 

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