"I have a one year old that does the same thing your second did; everytime she goes to bed she will scream (like someone is trying to kill her) for a few minutes and then fall asleep. She HAS to do this or she will not sleep. It took me almost 8 months to figure that out. I just want to know how long this lasts because she is in daycare and they won't let her scream (they really can't for the sake of everyone else) so she doesn't nap well. Every night I have a tired, cranky baby and I just want to see her when she's happy. I don't have other childcare options right now and I haven't found a solution for her to get more sleep during the day. Please tell me this won't go on forever!"
That's a coincidence, because my babysitter won't let my younger one cry at all ever, so he's been getting really awful naps for the past two weeks. Today it was half an hour. At least in your situation they have a valid reason for not going along with what the kid needs.* (I appreciate my babysitter's desire to comfort my son, but it's really counterproductive because it takes him under 3 minutes of crying and then he drops off like a boulder for two hours plus.)
I wonder if there's any way they could separate her from the other kids during nap time and have her in a room she could scream in. Or figure out some other way to help her release the tension. She's too young to be able to just run around until she drops (I've seen some kids do almost exactly that--they run and run and run and then sit down and within 2 minutes they're asleep).
I wonder if getting her laughing would serve the same purpose?
Clearly, I'm grasping for straws here. Does anyone else have any ideas? I just don't know what to do about a kid who really just needs to wait for a few minutes but can't. I think eventually she'll learn to fall asleep somehow (millions of kids survive non-optimal naps sleep situations--ask any mother of two how the second one gets the nap shaft), but there's got to be some way to ease her into falling asleep without howling and waking the other kids.
I just can't think of it yet.
* If you weren't reading for my discussion about some kids needing to cry briefly to release some tension before falling asleep this all won't make sense. I'm too lazy to go find the original post about it, but this one also contains my completely unoriginal "at least two kinds of kids" theory about crying to sleep.