It can be exhausting when your toddler wakes up many times a night, needing you to cuddle her or sleep in her bed. You hear stories about babies sleeping all night, so when see that your two year old is waking 3 and 4 times a night, you realize that you are ready for a solution.
You have tried everything from ignoring the situation to co-sleeping, but nothing is working. The sleeplessness causes crankiness and temper tantrums the following day. I know this situation all too well.
Today, we are sharing tips from parents that have been through this and have come out the other side with a happy, well-rested child.
My Toddler Wakes Up Many Times A Night
- Be sure that your pediatrician has ruled everything out. Consider having a sleep study done for your child and perhaps a visit to the ENT to rule out any ear-infections or tonsil issues. I know friends that said that these things were life-changing.
- You will hear many people say “enjoy the cuddles” but after weeks of waking several times a night, it can be hard. So- to start, I want to say that you should NOT feel guilty wanting your child to sleep. You need sleep. Your body and your mind need sleep. It will make you a better parent.
- Set time limits: “You have 3 minutes to try brushing your teeth before Mommy helps.” Be firm. Give her a kiss when it’s time, and stand your ground. You’ll both be better off in the long run if you can normalize her sleeping habits and get her to self-soothe now. Oh, and turn the monitor sound down or off if you have one.” ~Emily Porter
- Try an earlier bedtime.
- More fresh air outdoors, for longer periods of time during the day, wearing her out.
- Skip nap time completely.
- Wake her up (just a bit) right before you go to bed. There is a reason for this!
- Print out a reward chart and use stickers every morning that she stays in bed or doesn’t wake up crying for you.
- Test your theories at “quiet time.” Try leaving her alone for quiet time to see if she is able to play by herself, without needing you.
- Be sure that she is eating enough for dinner. If your child is having a light meal at dinnertime, it may cause her to wake more often.
- Give her some warm milk and a banana before bed (both said to induce sleep).
- Wake her up earlier. 7:00am or 8:00am is a good waking time.
- Don’t talk when she wakes at night. Don’t get into her bed to lie down with her. Simply cover her up with a quick kiss on the cheek and leave the room. Cutting out cuddle time should stop some of the wake-ups.
- You may want to try letting her sleep on your floor. You can get a little toddler couch that folds out or lay a blanket on the floor and let her sleep there. A few nights of learning to sleep through the night again may be just what she needs to get back to sleep. You can transition to move her back into her room soon after.
- Let her sleep in an older sibling’s room. Sharing a room can be a big help for your younger child. This is the age when fear begins, so if it is fear that is waking her up, this would help.
- Try making a ‘build a bear’ together, where you put in a picture of the two of you.
- Be consistent! You could try using the no-tolerance method if you want your child to stay in bed.
- Try getting new sheets that she picks out (with her favorite characters on them).
This is hard, and you are tired. I sincerely hope that you have found some things here that will work for you. Children need their sleep so they will not be sleep-deprived, grumpy, and unhealthy.
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Good luck! In the meantime, head over to our Facebook page, where we share tips and advice from other parents constantly!