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What should I do if my toddler wakes up often throughout the night?

My toddler takes two naps a day, about 30 minutes each, but I'm worried they're not enough. He recently started waking up a few times throughout the night. What should I do?
Submitted by Parents.com Team

Toddler sleep patterns tend to shift for a number of reasons. It may be that your child's reached the point where two naps are too many, but one nap isn't enough. Instead of the conventional early morning and post-lunch naps, put your son down at a new time (like the late morning, for instance) and let him sleep as long as he likes. Chances are he'll be so tired by bedtime without his afternoon nap that he'll sleep soundly right through the night. The problem could also be that your child’s not getting enough sleep at night -- sounds contradictory, but sometimes being overtired can actually cause kids to sleep less, not more, creating a vicious cycle. If you try the one-long-nap idea and your son takes to it well, putting him to bed earlier than usual (like we said, he'll probably be tired by this point) might actually help him wake up less often.

Copyright 2002. Updated 2009

The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

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