The toddler years are often challenging, but even more so when your peaceful, happy-sleeping little one turns into a wakeful toddler in the night. This is called toddler sleep regression and these nightmare nights can suddenly come out of the blue and leave both parents and toddlers exhausted.
Try to ensure they are settled before bedtime and keep them in their sleep routine as much as possible. They might be waking because they are unwell or teething so try these teething fixes or tips for looking after your little one when they are poorly.
There are many other less obvious reasons why your super-sleeper has suddenly turned into a night-owl but try not to worry. Whatever reason your toddler is waking, be reassured that this won’t last for too long. With lots of patience and by being consistent in your methods, this little blip in the sleep routine will soon be far behind you. We've compiled a few reasons why they might be waking in the night and what you can do to help them back to the land of nod...
Why is my toddler waking in the night?
As your toddler approaches 2 years old, their little imagination is a creation-station of ideas. This makes for wonderful day play, but can cause problems at night! Monster worries, fears of the dark, and spooky shadows all come from clever little imaginations.
5) Night fears and nightmares
What to do: Night fears and nightmares take calm and consistent handling. Invest in a little low-glow night light for your toddler's room. They may have always slept in the pitch black well before, but these new worries need to be comforted, so a low light will allow them to sleep, but also offer comfort if they wake in the night.
Ensure your toddler feels that their room is calm and safe, check under beds with them and don’t snub any monster thoughts by calling them ‘silly.’ To a toddler - monsters and spooky shadows are very real. Try some homemade ‘monster spray’ by adding a few lavender drops to water and spraying around the bedroom to destroy monsters!
For little ones experiencing nightmares, try and keep them in their bed and give lots of cuddles and reassurance that it was just a dream. Don’t leave until they are calm and feel safe. Nightmares are totally normal and nothing to worry about, even though they are often quite an upsetting experience all around.
If your toddler is teething that might be one of the reasons they are waking in the night. Other symptoms to look out for are red, tender gums, flushed cheeks, general irritability or drooling.
What to do:
If your toddler wakes up with teething troubles, wait initially to see if they will fall back to sleep by themselves. If they don't, give them cuddles to soothe them. If they still struggle settling the NHS
recommends cool teething rings, teething gels and paracetamol or ibuprofen (that are specifically designed for children with a smaller dose).
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