Toddler Bedtime Screaming: Tips to Prevent Nighttime Crying
When your toddler is around 17 months of age, you will find a new vocal talent subtly inserted into their repertoire of skills: Screaming! It will almost seem as though they are making it a point to showcase their screaming talents.
It’s inadvertently at bedtime, that you will find them screaming the loudest. The worst part is, often you cannot pinpoint the underlying reason.
If your baby is crying at night and you cannot seem to turn down the volume, don’t worry. We have put together a list of things you can do to prevent a baby from screaming at night while sleeping. But first, let’s try and garner an understanding of the ‘why’ behind your toddler screaming at bedtime.
Why Toddlers Scream at Bedtime
Before looking at ways for how to handle a crying toddler, one might want to ask ‘why’ they even scream, in the first place. Here is a quick look at the most common reasons.
- Experimentation. At this tender age, toddlers love experimenting with every new discovery they stumble upon – in this case, making sound, a.k.a. ‘Screaming.’
- Cause and Effect. Your toddler is far smarter than you think. They know that the mere act of screaming will get you to come running to them, and they will use it well to their advantage!
- Fear of the Dark. Many adults have this too, so really, no surprise here! Those toys they play with at night, might suddenly turn into monsters.
- They are feeling unwell. Perhaps your child is not feeling particularly well on a given day. The best way for them to express the same, would be screaming their lungs out at night. It might also mean that they might be coming down with a bad infection.
- Tired – too much or too less. If your child is oversleeping in the day and not getting enough exercise, they might find themselves not tired enough to be able to fall asleep. Conversely, if they are sleeping too less, they could become hyperactive and struggle to wind down.
The Amount of Sleep Toddlers Need
You might be thinking, how much sleep does my toddler even need, in the first place? The answer is pretty clear cut: 11-14 hours of sleep, every 24 hours.
A simple breakdown of their sleep time would look something like this: sleep of 10-12 hours in the night, and 1-2 hours during the day.
Sample Toddler Sleep Schedule
Typically, the sleep schedule for a toddler would look something like the following.
- 7 a.m.: Wake Up
- 1 p.m.: Nap time (not more than 2 hours)
- 3 p.m.: Wake up
- 30 p.m.: Bedtime
Note: Some toddlers like to wake up as early as 6 a.m. Putting them to bed later at night in the hopes of having them wake up later, doesn’t usually work. In all probability, they will still wake up earlier and be grumpy from too less sleep.
How to handle a Crying Toddler at Bedtime
Looking for how to calm a crying toddler at night? Here’s a list of the best possible ways to keep those nightly antics at bay.
Create (and stick to) a consistent Bedtime Routine
Is your baby crying at night for no reason? It might very well be because you are not all that stringent, where it comes to setting a fixed time for them to go to bed.
To do: Kids thrive on a sense of predictability and not having to worry about what’s coming ahead. If you haven’t already, set a consistent bedtime routine – like Best Bedtimes for Kids that they can stick to, such as Bath Time at 6.45 p.m. and Lights Out at 7.30 p.m.
Create a positive sleeping environment
When looking for how to calm a crying toddler, this one might just do the trick succinctly well.
To do: You might wish to install a night light or leave the door slightly ajar, if you think your little one is afraid of the dark. Another thing you could do is get them to transition into a toddler bed. Seeing their favourite characters on the bedsheets, will help get them excited to sleep!
Ask Daddy or another adult, to put them to bed instead of Mumma
The thing is, a lot of times little children act up with their mothers at bedtime. This makes it especially difficult for poor Mumma, who has her hands full at all times, where it comes to taking care of baby.
To do: Make it simpler for both Mumma and Baby. Have Daddy put baby to bed, or perhaps even Grannie! You might be surprised to see how easily baby is lulled to sleep.
Experiment with their naps
As we have seen above, ‘how much’ your child naps during the day, might just be an underlying cause of their bedtime screaming.
To do: Perhaps your toddler hasn’t got enough sleep in the day, and is beyond overtired.
Solution: Move the afternoon lap later in the day, or bedtime earlier than usual.
Consider the changes in your toddler’s life
Your toddler might be coming to terms with changes in their life, like perhaps a new baby in the family or even starting school!
To do: Spend more one-on-one time with your little one. This will serve to assuage them, thus helping them cope better with the changes in their life. If going to school is a problem, try reading them books about going to school!
Don’t let them watch TV or play games before bedtime
You really don’t want your child to get overstimulated before bedtime. That’s a clear ‘no’, where it comes to getting them to wind down.
To Do: Replace TV Time with a selection of good books. Besides, reading has this uncanny ability to lull babies (and adults) to sleep.
At EuroKids we are of the firm opinion that sleep is an important part of your toddler’s development, aiding in both cognitive and emotional development. That is why we deem it essential that you keep your toddler’s sleep resistance in the form of that screaming, well in check.