It’s never fun getting a “MOMMMMMMMYYYYYYY” wake up call from your toddler at 2:30am. Never. But most of us do. Night wakings from a toddler can be such a challenge. It can often make us feel like the stage will never end. You’ve tried it all and nothing seems to work. You have a consistent bedtime, eating all the right foods, not sleeping in bed with them. But same old same old, you get that call in the middle of the night.
Recently I had a client that was in this similar position. Her son was 3 years old and for most of his life was considered a really great sleeper. Never any issues and if he would wake, it was easy to get him to go back to sleep. Even during the transition from crib to big boy bed, he did it with ease. Dream baby! Until suddenly, a little after his third birthday, he began to wake in the night. It was only for a moment but as the days grew, what was once easy to get him to go back to sleep became a battle. Fighting it for 3 months, mom and dad had enough.
Immediately we jumped into his day. Around this age, naps can be a hit or miss. His were a hit and he was sleeping extremely well….2 hours like clock work. He didn’t fight going to bed; mom and dad were able to lay him in his bed, tuck him in, and step out as he quietly drifted himself to sleep. But around 1:45am the battle began.
The plan I suggested was simple and one I often use for children with these similar characteristics…ready for it…before mom and dad go to bed for the night, I asked them to go into their sons room and give him a hug and a kiss and cover him back up with his covers. That was it. They were to walk right back out after they did so and see how the night turned. Guess what, he didn’t wake the ENTIRE night. Mom and dad thought it might have been a fluke, as I’m sure I would have felt the same way, but they did it again the next night and the night after and each time, he slept through the night.
The most important point of this tip is to not wake your child up. That’s not the goal. The goal is to slightly stir them so that once they get out of their sleep cycle, they can hop on over to another cycle of sleep and break free of the constantly habitual waking. This pattern often times breaks the waking in the night and allows for a solid nights rest. If your child does wake, immediately handle it with a gentle sleep technique that will allow for them to fall asleep on their own. Still waking? Don’t give up – contact us and we can dig deep in your child’s sleep and figure out a plan to help!