Night Waking

Is your child starting to wake up in the middle of the night again?

A toddler who had been sleeping through the night can start waking up before dawn for a variety of reasons, from coping with developmental milestones to taking too many or too long daytime naps:

  • Developmental milestones – A toddler on the verge of achieving a new skill—walking, learning to talk more, etc.—may wake more than usual at night. As his new skill becomes old hat, his sleep should settle down as well.
  • Feeling cold – Kicking off the blanket and getting chilled can also wake a toddler. When the temperature drops, dress him in warm pajamas or a sleeping suit rather than relying on a blanket to keep out the cold.
  • Daytime naps – Napping too much during the day may interfere with sleeping at night. Every child is different, but 2- to 3-hour naps in the afternoon may be too much and too close to the evening. You may need to experiment with your toddler’s schedule to see what combination and length of naps works best for her and for you.
  • Irregular bedtimes – Research suggests that a regular bedtime routine—same time each night, providing a bath, reading a story, etc.—may help your child sleep through the night better. Learn more about creating bedtime routines.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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