Three Reasons Why Your Toddler Wakes at Night
It’s actually pretty impossible to list all the reasons why your toddler might be waking up at night. Toddlers are unique individuals and there can be no denying that at times we parents just cannot figure them out. And let’s face it, we ALL wake up through the night- the only difference can be whether or not we can get back to sleep by ourselves, or whether we feel the need to discuss the importance of blue socks and the fact that dinosaurs might have been pink, not grey… We adults tend to just turn over and go back to sleep, but in the colourful world of toddlers this isn’t always possible! With this in mind its a good idea to look at some of the reasons why your toddler might be waking up, so that you can eliminate them in the hope of a better night’s sleep. Here are just three reasons why your toddler wakes up, and what you can do about it.
Toddlers can be fussy eaters most days. If it’s not toast perfectly spread and with all crusts removed then it just won’t be considered. Or maybe it has to be only white today. Or maybe only sweet. A toddler’s tea time temperament can change almost daily, and it’s hard to keep up sometimes. A result of this can be that our toddlers refuse to eat, leading to a growling tummy when they should be sleeping.
We’ve all been there. If you're concerned that your child is waking due to hunger, we don’t recommend getting them up for a full meal, but a quick cup of milk might just get you that little closer to being back in bed. If all else fails, a quick snack might be needed.
But how to prevent the hunger pangs waking your toddler in the first place, especially when food is the devil during the day?
Experts agree that allowing your toddler to try new foods is the best way to get them to eat a varied diet, but don’t we all know that’s not as easy as it sounds. If your toddler is refusing to eat anything but breakfast cereal for all meals today, then it might just be best to go with the flow for now. A good rule to remember is that something in the tummy is better than nothing. There are some foods you will definitely want to avoid before bedtime though- steer clear of sugar, processed food and greasy foods that could give your toddler a tummy ache. Make sure you offer lots of small meals and snacks though the day and don't worry if your toddler won’t sit down and eat with the family at dinner time. If you offer enough food in alternative ways, you should be able to keep hunger at bay.
Not tired enough
Toddlers will let us know that they no longer need an afternoon nap various ways. Some will refuse outright to even entertain the thought of a nap, others will start to nap for shorter and short periods of time, and others will take longer to fall asleep at night. Then there are those who wake at 3am, wide awake and raring to go because they simply are’t tired!
The best course of action here is to monitor naps closely and really take a good look at your whole daytime routine. Make the teaks that you need and hopefully the night time sleep will catch up.
The older children get, the more aware they are of everything around them, including concepts such as danger, monsters or separation. Some toddlers will wake due to nightmares, and this can be really hard to deal with as a parent. Sometimes the fact that your toddler is unable to tell you about the nightmare can make it even harder.
If you think that your toddler is waking due to having nightmares, there are a few ways that you can help:
- Remember that your toddler’s fear is real and should be respected. Reassure your child, and be there to provide comfort when it’s needed.
- Don’t overreact or become upset, no matter how distressing it may be to see your toddler upset over the nightmares. This will only add to the fear and won’t help one bit in getting everyone back to sleep again. If you remain calm and positive your toddler will pick up on this and is much more likely to calm down too.
- Resist the temptation to bring your toddler into bed with you. I know you want to cuddle them and keep them safe, and- of course- get back to sleep, but it might only start a new sleep issue that you need to deal with.
what is the top reason your toddler wakes at night?