The 7 Types of Twilight Toddlers & 5 Tips to Get Them to Sleep

I’m an acrobat in Cirque De Twilight. I slowly lift my body off the mattress and rotate into a downward dog position. As I hover over the baby I lift one leg up and over the crib. Shifting my weight juuuuuust right so the movement doesn’t wake her. I lift the other leg and slide suspended on the top of the crib slowly onto the floor. I tiptoe gently through the creeky grenades hidden in the wooden floor. It’s a VIP performance for my sleeping babe. This kind of show is only performed when the girls are suffering a fever, or are inconsolable and want nothing more than their mama. Those nights nothing can soothe them I summon all the patience I have and get into the crib with them so they can fall asleep in my arms.

This post is sponsored by DockATot. I was gifted these DockATot grands to give my honest review. This post does contain some affiliate links. This is at no cost to you but it does provide some pocket change for my coffee addiction. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Binkies & Baubles blog.

Rocking a baby to sleep is a romantic notion when you are pregnant and dreaming of your sweet bundle of joy. A year later when they still want to be rocked to sleep it can be a little frustrating at times. Babies go through so many developmental stages that affect their sleep it can be so difficult to stay on top of “sleep training”. The transition from crib to the toddler bed can be a tough one. They develop some new sleep trends that can lead to a whole new world of bedtime battles. From speaking with the other moms in my tribe I’ve concluded there are 7 different types of twilight toddler personalities. Which one is yours?

“My son, at 21 months, still to this day when I say its time for bed he grabs his sippy cup and walks his way to our bed and says “up.” …what has helped is now I pick him up and say its time to go to bed and I start singing Twinkle Twinkle. We do two rounds then I tuck him into his bed and he doesn’t cry…. I’m such a sucker for his love and cuddles I know”! – Darcy Denise from A Modern Mommy

Playtime Partier The playtime toddler will get out of bed to play. Depending on your parenting style, they might even fall asleep in the middle of the room with their toys. They have wonderful imaginations and an abundance of energy. Cora was never brave enough to get up out of bed. Either that or she had no desire. Bexley has taught her though… as we have started transitioning them into the same bed with their new DockATot grands, they love to get up and play. Now we wait till Bex is asleep and sneak Cora in after.

Singer There are 2 types of singers really. One that wants mommy to sing to them and the one that sing to an audience of me, myself and I. Usually, they stay put with their head on the pillow humming their sweet little tune. My youngest happens to be a singer, and I find it annoyingly adorable.

Mover & Shaker  Both my kids are restless sleepers. Bexley will flop around like a fish some nights, but will eventually fall asleep in some odd position I’m sure is an advanced yoga pose. When Cora was little we thought she might actually suffer from restless leg like I do. She will rub her feet together at night, just like I do. Her feet have always been her tell… if they aren’t moving, I know she’s asleep. When I would rock her to sleep as a baby I used to have to sit cross-legged and pin her arms and legs down so she would stay still and fall asleep. If I could swaddle her as a 4-year-old, I would! The next best thing to a swaddle has been our DockATot. Both girls sleep more sound in their cozy little beds.

“My son requires that I lay on the floor and hold his hand until he falls asleep. To be fair, initially, he only required the hand holding it was my idea to lay on the floor because I was so tired and now I’m stuck!” – Inez Bayardo from The Love of Mom

Adventurer  Cora, like I mentioned above, never really dared to get out of her crib or bed. She tried to escape her crib once, and it traumatized her. I remember sitting on the front porch, eating a spinach and strawberry salad, and reading a fashion magazine with the monitor in view, expecting a nice relaxing lunch break. I glanced up from flipping the glossy fashion page to see her weight shifting up and over the crib rail. I ran to catch her, obviously, I didn’t get there in time and she fell to the floor. With Bexely we had to put her in the toddler bed before we ready because she kept climbing out. Bexley is a climber. We’ve known since she took her first crawl that she would be trouble, and we were right. She never fell to the floor, she knows to hold on until her feet are below her. She is always out of bed standing at the door or laid out on the floor peeking under the door. We’ve started leaving the door open with the baby gate and she still comes to the gate to see if she can spy what excitement she is missing.

Staller A staller can come up with every request and excuse in the world to postpone closing their eyes. Water, snack, bathroom, one more book or song, and snuggles. My personal favorite is the “I just want to tell you something..”. These little buggars know they can sucker us into staying if they love on us… Manipulative little munchkins. How can I tell her to stop rubbing my face and giving me kisses and whispering sweet nothings. As a mommy, there is literally nothing I enjoy more. It’s like a magic spell washes over me and I’m hypnotized by their tiny human love. Ugh! Gets me every time!

Stage 5 Clinger I find the first child is usually the needy one. They are so used to being rocked to sleep and attended to with the slightest disturbance. Part of parenting classes should be interacting with babies going to sleep so first-time moms & dads can experience a waiting period before responding. There is a HUGE difference between letting a baby fuss a little bit and fall back asleep, and letting them cry it out. First time parenting is so tough. Hearing your baby cry is the worst sound. It makes your hormones go all crazy, your boobs start dropping milk, you get a hot flash, and your brain is telling you-you’re a terrible mother. By baby number 2 you realize that all passes, and they’re just fine. Let them be and if they really need you, you’re here.

“My oldest was scared of monsters around three at bedtime. We told him the monsters were scared of my husband’s (his step dad’s) smelly feet. So my son used to take one of my husband’s socks to bed with him at night for protection. It totally worked though!” – Kate Aquino Losito from Homebound But Hopeful

Scaredy Cat Being an adult that has always been easily terrified, I have much empathy for the littles that are afraid of the boogeyman. Not ashamed to admit (maybe slightly embarrassed) that I’ve always been afraid of the dark. There is nothing friendly about the things that go bump in the night! Cora is going through a scared phase lately and it is challenging. I want to empower her to be brave, but I don’t want her to become dependent. We ordered some magic pajamas and a magic necklace, and they help a lot. I also think the snugness that the DockATot gives her, emulate her sleeping with mommy and daddy.

Bedtime has, and always will be, a struggle that is REAL! Cora and Bexley are two very different twilight toddler personalities. Cora is the oldest and is used to being rocked to sleep since birth. It used to take me hours some nights to rock and sing her to sleep, and sneak out of her room successfully. As she got older she would put herself to sleep, but every few months we’d go through a new transition. When Bexley was ready to sleep on her own, we moved Cora back into the bed with us. It made sense she liked company to fall asleep. Right now she transitioning with her new DockATot to sharing a bed with sister. She loves having her special “pillow”, she calls the DockATot. She is afraid of the dark, monsters in the closet and ghosts. She’s never been the child to get out of her bed to play or come out of the room, not even to potty in the night. She has always screamed for us to be with her if there is something the matter. Cora used to be a master staller, but I’ve learned to make sure I check all the boxes before we are in bed so the only stall she can use is snuggles. Most nights I’ll allow it for at least a few minutes. Afterall, they are only so small and needy for a short period of time.

When Bexley was born she coslept till about 6 months then we moved her into the nursery and Cora came back into our bed. I was too exhausted to even think about trying to get them to sleep together in one room. Bexley being the second child has been a natural at putting herself to sleep. We give her a bottle, her binkie, and a blanket, and she is off to dreamland. I wish we had that same attitude with Cora as a baby, but when you are a first-time parent you just don’t know. Now I spend at least 15 minutes a night aiding the oldest into the unconscious. When Bex wakes in the middle of the night she usually calls for us, but no loud screeching like Cora. She is a climber and likes to play but most nights goes right to sleep without issue.

Some of these twilight toddler personalities sound familiar? Here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way to win the war and send them off to dreamland.

Create a Comfortable Environment Our surroundings can affect our mood. We all love to decorate our nurseries and toddler rooms, but keeping them clean can help with overstimulation and temptation to play. Most babies like to be swaddled. We had to double swaddle both our little escape artists so they would sleep through the night as babies. It’s no shock to me that once we got our dack-a-tot grands they both started sleeping better with the comfort of a snug space.

Routine This is one of the top recommendations for babies during their sleep training. A bath, some nighttime stories, and song all help them to recognize that sleep comes shortly after. We love doing nighttime yoga or meditation together. It can be helpful to introduce something new after a transition. They may not get the positions right, or understand the meditation yet, but with time they will! It also gives us the opportunity to center ourselves quickly in case we have a situation that calls for some extra patience once the lights go out.

“We have a bed time song and he sings it with me when *he’s* ready. If I sing it without him he makes me do it again.” – Julie Smeltzer from Fab Working Mom Life. 

My kids will say there’s a dinasour in the room and insist they heard it even if I am there. Afra Said Ahmed from Through Mama’s Eyes

Personalize It Both of my girls are very different at bedtime. I’ve created special bonds with each girl and their need before bed. Cora and I put our noses together and I promise her that mommy will keep her safe. Some nights we take 3 deep breaths to get her to stop chatting, and now she has her magic pajamas and necklace. Bexley has a tuck in routine with her binkie, blankie, bottle, and either her stuffed Poppy or Minnie.

Play to Their Senses  We’re about to get all Hippie Dippie if you are into that kind of thing, cause I totally am! Amber lighting is great for those afraid of the dark. The amber is a calming nightlight and the light itself is made of Himalayan salt. Once lit, as the salt warms, it immits negative ions into the air and purifies the air. Massage can be a great way to calm a child. Click here to view the chart of their feet and pressure points. We love using our sound spa. Ambient noise is a huge help to aide them into sleep. If you use it when they are infants I recommend leaving it off every so often. You don’t want them dependant on it. We wouldn’t be real hippies if we didn’t mention that we love to use lavender pillow spray and essential oils. Use the oils to massage, defuse, or spray. Lastly, make sure you have a calm energy. This is the hardest time to conjure patience, but they feed off your energy 100%! I’ve had to leave the room and let them cry for a minute to catch my breath and get my barrings to go in again.

Be Flexible I was the furthest thing from flexible when Cora was a baby. If she didn’t fall asleep for nap or bedtime easy I was a frazzled mess. Not the cute Meg Ryan kind, the scary villainous, pulling out my hair kind. A missed nap would knock my whole day of track. I have the most understanding husband. I used to call him freaking out that I couldn’t do this, I can’t be a stay-at-home mom. I’m not sure why it got under my skin so much, but I felt so silly later. Being a stay-at-home mom is what I wanted. With Bexely I would recall my husband’s advice from when I was home with Cora. He’d say “so she misses her nap today, it will all be ok, she’ll go to bed early…”. My argument was that “she is SO tired though..”. She was so tired, but you can’t control children. You can’t make them fall asleep or force feed them dinner. You learn to be flexible. Take it from me, practice it early, don’t wait till number two arrives to have your ah-ha moment.