Toddler waking at night

My 2.5 yo daughter has stopped her afternoon nap :cry: and since then has been waking up two or three times at night. She comes into my room for cuddles then I’m able to take her right back to bed after a few minutes. She has a good bedtime routine, goes to bed around 7pm up for the morning between 6-6:30am. I just don’t know how to stop the multiple wakeups at night. Once I tried immediately putting her back in bed, but that just led to lots of screaming and a lot longer time for her and me to get back to sleep.

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Oy! You poor mama!! My daughter did this also around the same age. And all the rules of not speaking to the child in the middle of the night and gently taking him/her back to bed didn’t really help me because she was still waking up. I wish I had thought to do this then, but now she sleeps with a heavier weighted blanket. I actually do too and it’s really helped with the quality of my own sleep. Maybe try either some heavier blankets or a weighted one based on the amount she weighs. It could help her get into and stay in a deeper sleep

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Let’s see if anyone else can offer some tips @Jennifer_babich @SleepCoachAshley @SleepSoundly @ViaGraces

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Hey mama!

2.5 is younger than I like to drop the nap, so the first thing I would try is to bring it back! Some things that can help bring it back are putting jammies on at naptime and using Crib 90.

If there’s no way to bring the nap back, bedtime MUST be earlier – she’s likely waking extra at night because she’s overtired due to no longer napping. At her age with no nap, I’d try putting her down for bed about 11 hours after she wakes in the morning, so if she’s waking at 6:30, I’d be doing bedtime at 5:30! Yup you heard me right!

When she does wake in the night, you need to choose how you’re going to handle it and be very consistent. If you sometimes put her back and sometimes bring her to bed, she’s going to fight for your bed because it’s more fun! You can find my recommendations on this subject here.

For more tips and help, find me on Instagram! I do a weekly Q&A in my stories :slight_smile:

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Hi Laura,

Ugh- the night waking and middle of the night visits are exhausting for everyone! I agree with trying to bring back the nap. In the morning, make sure she gets lots of activity and exposure to natural light. This can help her sleep better when it is time for napping in a dark environment. If she refuses to nap, institute a rest time during the day. Have her stay in her room and rest or play independently with a few safe toys. You can make a bin for rest time that include books, stuffed animals etc. Waking throughout the night is almost always an indication that the child is overtired. Making bedtime earlier is a great way to help a child catch up on much needed sleep. Try putting her to bed between 6-6:30pm. If and when she wakes at night, walk her back silently each time. She should get back into bed on her own. Giving her the least amount of attention at this hour is best. She will have less reason to get out of bed. Let me know if you have other questions. I am happy to chat. johanna@sleepsoundlyconsulting.com

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Hi Laura,

Weighted blankets as @tots-allison said are a really great option just make sure it’s not too heavy it should be between 5-10% of your child’s body weight but no more than 10%. Lycra sleep sheets/ sacks are also great and can give similar deep “input” as your cuddles and hugs do. They are sheets that zip or go around the whole mattress and your child slips in as if it is a sleeping bag. Happy to give you some links on amazon if you would like.

Hope this helps but it definitely is a hard stage.

Stephanie

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Hi! I have a few posts about this that I’ll share here. With a child that age though I would definitely try for nap as hard as you can. I recommend offering quiet time each day, in hopes that it will turn into a nap, which it often does at this age. It also sounds like your child may benefit from a good night ritual to get through the night https://www.instagram.com/p/CFHWscPAgF6/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
Hope these tips help and feel free to reach out for more more support.
https://www.instagram.com/dreamcometruesleepconsulting/

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Hi Laura,

I know a few other sleep consultants have chimed in, but I thought I would share, as well! 2.5 is on the young side to drop a nap, however it’s not unheard of! My daughter dropped hers a few months before she turned 3 :slight_smile: Can I ask more about how the afternoon nap stopped and what that looked like? Was she just refusing it all together, or staying in bed but never falling asleep?

If you do think her nap is gone forever, like the other ladies said, I would definitely pull her bedtime early for a while (6ish!) and give her that quiet time during the day. It generally takes 4-6 weeks for kids’ bodies to fully adjust to a transition like dropping a nap, so you’ll need that earlier bedtime for a while! It’s also helpful to have a little screen time around 4 pm to give her body a rest, as that’s generally when you’ll start seeing her fatigue really affecting her behavior.

A few more questions to help you! Was she sleeping through the night until she stopped that nap? And what does your bedtime routine look like and is she falling asleep independently or does she need you in there with her? It sounds to me like she’s waking up from the overtiredness and then isn’t confident in her sleep skills to get back to sleep, so comes to you for help getting back to sleep.

I have blog post on my top sleep tips for toddlers and older children, so check that out and let me know if you have any more questions! I also have a free resource about how to build bedtime boundaries with toddlers and older kids, that’s ALMOST ready that will be perfect for you, so if you check back in a couple of days it’ll hopefully be all set!

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Thank you all for the great tips and feedback! I do think I need to give her more outside activity in the mornings and work on earlier bedtimes.

She is almost 3 (in January). Her stopping the nap came sometime after we switched her to a toddler bed (August). For awhile she kept taking them, but then she just became interested in playing in her room during that time. So I do make her stay in her room for quiet time (1.5 -2hr) and go through the same nap time routine everyday. She starts out in her bed but doesn’t always stay there very long. (She also waits until naptimes to poop since she has a pull up on then, which I think could be part of it as well). Some days she does still go to sleep, maybe once/twice a week, usually after a busy active morning out or busy day before. She has always gone to sleep well on her own and slept through the night, before dropping the nap and moving to the toddler bed.

I will take a look at all your resources and really appreciate the help!

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Not sure if you have an ok to wake light but that may help some over time for the middle of the night wakings also.

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Since she’s so close to 3, I would say you don’t need to bring the nap back, as it will likely be a huge struggle! So that early bedtime will be your best friend :slight_smile: And for your quiet time, I would aim not to put her in her bed but just to have quiet activities in there for her to play with. And visual timers are really helpful to teach them to stay in their rooms for quiet time!

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