Sleep

Why is My Toddler Waking Up at Night? Causes & Solutions

Reviewed By

Is your toddler waking up at night and disrupting your sleep? Our guide explores common causes of night waking in toddlers

Uploaded on:

31/3/24

Last Reviewed:

7/4/2024

Reading time

8 min

Table of Contents

As a parent, you should be concerned primarily about your child's sleeping habits. If your child wakes up during the night, it is a sign that something is not going very well. Remember that their health depends on both of you getting a good night's sleep.

 Identifying the possible reasons for your toddler's irregular sleep schedule and finding workable fixes may help you deal with this widespread issue many parents have noticed.  Toddlers sleep habits are fundamental to their development.

Why is my toddler waking up at night?

It's essential to figure out why your toddler is waking up at night so you can give them the best care possible. Here, we'll look at the usual reasons for toddler sleep disturbances and offer some ideas to help solve them.

You can also check our blog about toddlers sleeping issues

Teething trouble 

Teething can be a significant factor contributing to your toddler's nighttime awakenings. The discomfort and pain associated with teething can lead to disrupted sleep patterns, causing your toddler to wake up during the night seeking relief and comfort.

Environmental disruptions

Environmental disturbances can significantly impact your little one's sleep patterns. Any changes in their daily routine, nap schedule, or exposure to new things can disrupt their ability to sleep peacefully throughout the night.

 These disruptions may result in more frequent awakenings and restlessness during bedtime.

Separation anxiety

Separation anxiety is a typical stage of development that many toddlers go through, usually reaching its peak between 15 and 18 months of age. During this phase, your little one may wake up at night feeling upset and needing comfort and closeness.

“Separation anxiety and fear of strangers is common in young children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years, but it's a normal part of your child's development, and they usually grow out of it.”
💡NHS 

Changes in routine

Alterations in your toddler's daily schedule can significantly affect how well they sleep at night, causing them to wake up during the night. 

Whether it's changes in nap times, disruptions in their usual activities, or adjustments to bedtime routines, these modifications can impact your toddler's ability to sleep peacefully throughout the night.

8 Solutions to help your toddler sleep through the night

 To answer the question: how to help my toddler sleep through the night ? Check out these helpful tips to assist your toddler in sleeping soundly all night long.

1. Establish a consistent bedtime routine

A reliable toddler sleep schedule is a parent's magic tool! It helps everyone get quality sleep by telling your child when it's time to wind down and get ready for bed. 

2. Choose calming activities

The bedtime routine should be a relaxing experience. Here are some ideas for incorporating stories with massage. Take a look! 

Turn down the light, curl up in your bed, and download our favorite StoryBook App. There, you will find everything from good massages to meditations and affirmations.  

💘 Extra tip:  A warm bath can be an excellent way to signal that it's time to unwind. Add relaxing bath toys or calming essential oils (approved for toddlers) to create a spa-like experience.

3. Set a schedule

Aim for consistent bedtime and wake-up times, even on weekends. This will help regulate your toddler's internal clock, making it easier for him or her to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.

4. Respond strategically to night wakings

Nighttime awakenings are a typical stage in toddlerhood. However, your response may impact when your child returns to sleep. Here are a few strategies:

  • Check, don't comfort: Allow your child a minute or two to go back to sleep before rushing them back to sleep the moment they wake up. You can skip picking them up or having long conversations to check on them regularly.
  • Provide comfort carefully: If your toddler appears upset, give him or her a quick hug or pat on the back while using soothing words. Avoid engaging in activities that could cause subsequent night wakings, such as singing, playing, or nursing.
  • Be consistent: Adhere to your selected response strategy night after night. Your consistency will help your toddler learn the expectations and routine for bedtime.

5. Offer comfort objects

A cozy blanket, a beloved plush animal, or a unique "lovey" can offer your toddler safety and comfort before she sleeps. They get used to these things and link them with sleep, which facilitates falling asleep.

💘 Extra tip:
Lullabies have been a bedtime tradition for generations for a reason! The calming melodies and familiar lyrics create a sense of security and promote relaxation.

6. Consider sleep training methods

Your toddler can reach that point with sleep training methods. Sleep training aims to teach your child how to go to sleep on their own, not to let them cry it out all night. 

Several approaches are available, each with a unique methodology. When selecting a strategy, consider your toddler's temperament and your parenting style.

7. Limit screen time

The blue light emitted from electronic devices like tablets and televisions disrupts the production of melatonin, a hormone essential for regulating sleep.

8. Create a sleep-friendly environment

A healthy sleep environment for our kids is essential for encouraging sound sleep. Here's how to make your room secure and favorable to sleeping:

  • Temperature: Ideally between 68 and 72°F (20 and 22°C).
  • Light: The sleep hormone melatonin is produced more when it is dark. A sleep shade or blackout curtains may block off light.
  • Noise: Try to find a peaceful setting. White noise, however, can benefit confident toddlers as it muffles irritating noises.
  • Safety: The crib mattress needs to be securely and firmly fitted into the crib frame. To lessen the chance of suffocation, remove any cushions, stuffed animals, and loose bedding (SIDS).

“Creating a safe sleep environment will also reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is when a baby younger than one year of age dies unexpectedly while sleeping.”
💡National Library of Medicine 

Are toddler night wakings normal?

Toddlers waking up during the night is not unusual and should not be concerning. You can be reassured that your child's development is progressing normally. 

Your child's sleep schedule will return to normal after a few days or weeks. Even though they can be annoying, try to keep cool, follow set procedures, and remember to give lots and plenty of hugs. 

“Creating a bedtime routine is an easy change that can significantly improve the child’s sleep and the mother’s quality of life. ” 
💡American Academy of Sleep Medicine

When should I be worried about my toddler's night waking?

 Toddler won't sleep? They may wake for various reasons, from needing to use the bathroom to wanting reassurance. However, some signs might indicate it's time to talk to your pediatrician.

3 Millions of families already trust us

The #1 app for parents and kids in more than 150 countries.

Download now!

References

  • Prokasky, A., Fritz, M., Molfese, V. J., & Bates, J. E. (2019). Night-to-night variability in the bedtime routine predicts sleep in toddlers. Early childhood research quarterly, 49, 18-27.
  • Jodi Mindell, PhD, professor of psychology at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA.,

More Sleep Posts