Posted by: Tired mom | 2012/06/26


Toddler awake at night occassionally

Hi Doctor,
Thanks for all your advice on this column. My daughter is 27 months old and has now for the last few weeks, at least once a week woken up at night and battles to go back to sleep for about 2 to 3 hours. She wants my husband or myself to lie with her and she will lie there quietly and then chatter a bit and then lie again and then want to go somewhere either to potty or some other excuse. She is wide awake and lies with her eyes open. I am concerned this is becoming regular and as she doens''t cry that she is sore or unwell, doesn''t have a temperature and has normal stools, so not a tummy ache, I don''t know the reason for her waking. What makes a toddler so wide awake at night? She is still having naps at creche, for about an hour but we battle to get her to nap at home over weekends unless she is in the car. We follow a bedtime routine of play when we get home, supper, bath, stories and bed times. She will be having a brother in a month and a halfs time, if it was anxiety related she would want me all the time but she loves her daddy and wants daddy often over me. please advise,
tired mom today

Expert's Reply



Thank you.Your daughter shows all the signs of being a very clever little girl. She is enjoying this nightly performance with you and her Dad as the audience. Unfortunately if you do not nip it in the bud now there is no knowing how long this is going to carry on. It will be even more exhausting when her new brother arrives. I presume that she is in her own room. The only reasonably direct way of stopping this regular and prolonged waking habit she is developing is to use the 'controlled crying' method It is hard on the nerves but it will work if you are determined.Read about this method on Google.

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user comments


Posted by: Purple | 2012/06/26

Sounds like she has outgrown her need for a day time nap. This usually happens somewhere between about age 2 and 5, with an average age of about 3 1/2.
I found that children outgrow their day time nap at home quite a while before they stop needing it at school where things are busier.

If your school has a sensible approach, they will probably have a quiet play area for those children who don''t need to sleep so that they can rest or play quietly or look through books. If you have the old fashioned type of school who still force children who are well passed needing a nap to sleep, then perhaps try a later bedtime for her - though this is not ideal and she may then be exhausted later and difficult to get to bed.

Reply to Purple

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