Getting Your Toddler Back to Sleep

If your child wakes persistently at night, allow him to fuss for a couple of minutes to see if he can settle down on his own.

If he continues to fuss, try this method over several nights:

  • Go check on him quietly, leaving the lights off. Make sure he isn’t ill, in pain or in need of a diaper change.
  • If she’s sitting or standing up, gently lie her back down and then leave. Don’t pick her up to soothe her.
  • If he cries again, wait just a little longer to go in each time.

If you repeat this pattern over several nights, your toddler can learn to self-comfort and sleep better through the night.

This method of progressively delaying your response has been effective for many parents, but every child and family is different. You may find another method that comforts your child and suits your parenting style.

You may also find that your toddler sleeps better with a consistent bedtime routine. If she gets used to you being there when she goes to sleep initially, she may need to repeat that “sleep onset” experience when she wakes in the middle of the night. Therefore, it makes sense to work on having her go to sleep on her own after your usual bedtime ritual.

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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