Sleep Troubles

Waking Without Fear

All children surface several times each night and usually turn over. If nothing interests or disturbs them, they drop straight down into sleep again without anyone ever knowing that they have woken. If your child insists that you know all about his awakenings in the night, even though he can put himself to sleep without your help at nap times and bedtimes, check some of the following:

  • Do you wake and go into the room whenever he murmurs or moves? You may be disturbing him. If a toddler appears to sleep much better when Father rather than Mother is in charge, it's almost always because Father sleeps better. Your child is not a fragile little baby anymore: if he wants you, he will let you know.
  • Does your toddler go to sleep on top of the bedclothes and then get cold in the small hours? If so, either put him in a sleeping bag or blanket sleeper or keep a separate crib blanket to drape over him and his toys at your own bedtime.
  • Does your toddler's room get pitch dark on moonless nights? If so, give him a 15-watt night light. It will not stop him from waking, but it may stop him from needing to call you when he does wake.
  • Does he use -- and lose -- a pacifier? If he does, put two or three pacifiers close beside him when you go to bed. If you are exceptionally lucky he will be able to find one without crying for you or it.
  • Is he being disturbed by outside sounds? As with a younger child some room reallocation and soundproofing may help.
  • Does your toddler get hungry in the night? Some toddlers are so tired by bedtime that they cannot eat as much supper as they need. Breakfast then seems a long way off. An earlier meal with a drink of milk and a snack at bedtime may be a better pattern in these months.
  • Does your toddler get thirsty? A few parents, even at this early age, believe that restricting evening drinks will help diapers do their job. It won't. If the brand you are using leaks, change brands. Your child must drink as much as he wants right up until bedtime.

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