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Why Your Toddler Sleeps for Everyone but Mom

dad brushing toddler girl's hair

My toddler sleeps for everyone but mom.

The babysitter, the daycare, grandparents, and even the dad all seem to have no problem. But there is a problem. The toddler of the family will apparently fall asleep on cue for everybody but the mom.

And when the mother tries to explain to other family members and care providers, they all have the same reply. It goes something like, “your child? Why your child falls asleep as soon as he gets still.”

It doesn’t take much of the sleep issue to make the mom begin to doubt her ability as a parent. It could be quite frustrating. The child won’t sleep, and the family is convinced mom is exaggerating.

There could be some underlying circumstances preventing the child from sleeping around mom. The guide here takes a look into the problem, its possible causes, and perhaps a few suggested solutions as to why a toddler sleeps for everyone but mom.

Is your toddler on a structured sleep schedule?

Providing structure and consistency has always been, and always will be essential to avoid problems. No matter if it is with the child or the parent. The sleep cycle is no different.

Is the parent following a strict sleeping schedule and sticking to it? Perhaps mom works all day, and the toddler is better adjusted to a different schedule. A mom who says a nurse, for example, has a rather uncommon sleep cycle from the toddler. Both could end up frustrated with such a situation.

If mom is on a strange work schedule, there will be conflict. Trying to get a toddler adjusted to a changing sleep cycle is not normal. The mom shouldn’t expect the toddler to sleep all night and suddenly change to sleeping all day. A rotating schedule doesn’t allow for a lot of structure.

Is Mom a night person?

A toddler loves its mother. Unconditionally. The toddler wants to be with or near mom if mom is in sight or can be heard. When mom remains awake, the toddler just wants to be near.

There could be an issue where mom is more of a night person. Mom may find she can get more accomplished late at night. And the toddler wants to be near. Mom might need to adjust her structure for the sake of the toddler’s sleep cycle.

Put yourself in the place of the toddler. If we don’t want to do something, we don’t. If the toddler doesn’t want to go to sleep, it won’t.

Sometimes we need to observe what we are doing and then adjust accordingly.

Maybe your toddler isn’t sleepy.

As mentioned, all aspects of a toddler’s environment need to be structured. And we have made reference to a structured sleep cycle. But what about naps?

Toddlers need naps. For the most part, they need a mid-morning nap and one mid-afternoon. But do not wait until late afternoon and expect the toddler to go to bed soon thereafter. Too much sleep is as bad as too little.

Is your toddler very active and uses up large amounts of energy during awake periods? Or is your toddler a more laid-back, easy-going kid? These are some determining factors into how well he or she sleeps in the first place.

Of course, the more active toddler is going to require more sleep. Just make sure you don’t let them sleep two hours before bedtime. If your toddler just can’t hold their head up and it’s too early for bed, be decisive. Decide if going to bed this early is or is not an option.

If you decide to let them go to bed early, don’t get frustrated with them when they wake up at 10 pm. and want to play. You are the parent, and you make the decisions, and you should stick to them. Keep an open mind about this when they are awake at 3 a.m., asking you why you are so sleepy! You allowed it to happen.

Is your toddler’s room too bright for sleeping?

Take into account if the toddler’s room happens to be too bright to sleep. Maybe there is a very bright street lamp just outside their window. Or maybe their room is where passing headlights from cars flood the room with light every few seconds. I couldn’t sleep with that going on.

Perhaps you have a child who requires a light to be left powered-on. Convincing them on a night light may be better than actual light. Take every lighting source into consideration when trying to solve the sleep issue.

Moving the child to a different room may not be possible. You might consider the position of the bed or crib and perhaps the use of window blinds or tinted windows. It’s not just a mom thing; there is more than likely some underlying cause you can easily fix.

Your toddler’s room might be noisy.

If your toddler is a light sleeper, your cause could be noise. The daycare where they stay may have a designated nap time. During nap time, everything is turned off. No noise. Just an example, but still.

Perhaps dad has a few guys over to watch a sporting event. See what I mean?

Again consider the proximity of the room to the noise source. If you don’t bring the noise level down, don’t expect a lot of sleep from them. Again considering mom, if dad has the toddler sound asleep, then mom comes in from work and doesn’t expect the sleep to continue. Be mindful of making the structured sleep time a reduced noise level time.

Follow the local library’s rules. Use your ‘inside the library voice!’


Mom doesn’t think for one second you aren’t a good parent. There has to be a reason, a good reason your toddler won’t go to sleep for you. And most likely, it is one of the conditions listed here. If not, take the issue to another parent and get some feedback. And as always, treat the child with lots of love and affection.

5 thoughts on “Why Your Toddler Sleeps for Everyone but Mom”


    My baby never slept well (especially through the night) until I started using the website – that website has been by far one of the best things I’ve ever got my hands on to get him to fall asleep quickly. Best time is 45 seconds from awake to asleep! Can’t imagine life without it! I heard about it through a kindergarten teacher who uses it to put to sleep a group of 30 children. Check it out! SLEEPBABY.ORG 🙂 Best of luck to you and your family!

  2. Does anyone else feel like they just give their kid/s so much energy. When my daughter is around me she gets so much energy she’s ready to go out and play jump and do so much. But when she’s around other people including dad, she calms down. I had her pediatrician tell me that it could be due to me. I take her out to the park and I do a lot of one on one play, we interact so much and I’m very lean back. There for she acts different around me.
    I hope this helps

  3. That is helpful! Thank you for sharing with us.

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