Every new parent struggles to get enough sleep as they get up multiple times because their toddler wakes up crying every night. Putting toddlers waking up at night back to sleep can get really challenging. While lack of sleep can be frustrating and exhausting, understanding why toddlers wake up at night is essential – to handle the situation better for both you and your little one.
In this article, we’ll tell you 6 common reasons toddlers wake up at night and explore strategies for helping them fall back into their deep sleep & managing their sleep cycles.
Most Common 6 Reasons For Toddlers Waking Up At Night
Has “night awakening” become a common occurrence in your life? There’s no need to panic – toddlers waking up at night is typical.
Understanding why your toddler wakes up crying every night can be the first step to solving the problem and getting the restful sleep you both need. Here are some of the most common reasons for toddlers to wake up at night and tips to help toddlers sleep.
Anxiety & Separation: Toddlers waking up at night may be caused due to anxiety from separation from their parents. Creating a consistent bedtime routine will help your toddler understand that it’s not separation but time to sleep – developing a sense of security and stability.
Sleep Environment: Too much noise or light in the bedroom can stimulate toddlers, making it challenging to self-soothe back to sleep independently. Try reducing noise levels and turning down the lights at bedtime.
Temperature: Feeling too hot or cold disrupts your child’s sleep. Maintain a consistent temperature in the room – this will help toddlers sleep. Ensure your toddler is dressed in comfortable clothes – the material is appropriate for sleep.
Hunger: In the middle of the night, hunger pangs can also be an issue for toddlers waking up at night: the fast-growing babies or those who do not eat enough during the day/evening meals. Offering light snacks shortly after waking may satisfy hunger pangs, allowing them to settle back into sleep quickly.
Illness & Pain: One of the reasons for toddlers waking at night can be that they are a bit under the weather. They may wake during the night due to pain or discomfort from illness symptoms such as a fever or cold.
Over-Stimulation: You’ve probably heard the adage “calm before bedtime”, and it’s true: toddlers can become over-stimulated from too much activity and excitement before trying to sleep. If your little one played all day, ran around and engaged in high-energy workouts, it could cause them to have a hard time settling down for the night. To help toddlers relax and rest more peacefully, try establishing a pre-bedtime routine that involves quiet activities like reading stories or singing songs together. Doing this regularly will help signal your toddler that it’s time for bed and make them more relaxed when it comes time to tuck in for the night.
Nightmares & Fears: One of the biggest reasons toddlers wake up crying at night can be dreams. The elements of dreams can be unrecognized for your little one leaving them all scared – looking for you.
What You Can Do About Nightmares and Fears
If your toddler wakes up crying every night due to bad dreams or fears, you can help. Here are some tips:
- Focus On Daytime
Ensure your child has ample time to play, explore, and learn during the day. This will help them develop the confidence and security they need to deal with their nighttime worries.
- Talk it Out
Talk to your toddler about their fears, and tell them you understand. If they have difficulty expressing themselves, use stories to illustrate their worries and help make sense of their feelings – this will help toddlers sleep.
- Create a Comfortable Space
Create a calming environment in your child’s bedroom using soft lighting and soothing music. Ensure the temperature is comfortable, too – not too hot or too cold – as this can aggravate worrying at night. If a toddler wakes up every night – chances are they are not comfortable in their sleeping space.
- Get Professional Help
If none of these tips works, consider reaching out for professional help from a pediatrician or psychologist. They can provide additional strategies to help toddlers sleep.
When Separation Anxiety Is the Cause of Night Waking
Separation anxiety is among the common reasons toddlers wake up at night. This type of anxiety manifests when toddlers become excessively attached to their parents, usually due to exhaustion or stress. The child may be too scared to stay in their room and will become fearful or agitated and frightened when a parent leaves.
When this is the cause of night wakings, it’s essential to help the child learn how to cope with the fear of being away from their parents. Here are some tips on how best to address this issue:
- Reassure the toddler that they are safe, even when apart from you.
- Give them a “security object”, such as a favourite stuffed animal or blanket that can remind them of you while they sleep alone in their room.
- Use positive reinforcement like praise and rewards when they stay in bed all night without waking up due to separation anxiety.
- Keep a consistent routine before bedtime and gradually increase the time between your departure and sleep. This can help them better adjust to falling asleep without your direct presence.
- Speak calmly and confidently about staying in their bed – avoid scolding or punishment if they do wake up during the night due to separation anxiety to not increase feelings of insecurity or isolation from you in your absence.
- Understand that this can take time – some toddlers may need more than one attempt before they are entirely comfortable sleeping alone at night.
Toddlers waking up at night may happen due to various causes – but understanding these causes can help parents and caregivers make more informed decisions about strategies to address their needs- which will help toddlers sleep. Keeping a predictable bedtime routine, avoiding screen time close to bedtime and creating a safe and comfortable sleeping environment are vital steps that can improve the quality of your toddler’s sleep. To prevent toddlers waking up at night, it is essential you understand the reasons for toddlers to wake up at night
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