Everyone actually wakes up throughout the night as we transition from one sleep cycle to another. However, as adults, we are used to falling asleep on our own, so we aren’t even aware that we wake throughout the night. However, a toddler is still learning how to fall asleep on their own and might need support to do so in the middle of the night or at bedtime.
What should parents do when this happens?
The best thing to do is get your child back into bed as quickly as possible without sleep aids. Empower your child to fall asleep on their own independently.
If it seems like nothing is working and bedtime is stressful for you and your child, call in an expert. When we need help with our plumbing, we call a plumber. When we are sick, we consult a doctor. Call someone who specializes in sleep! Parenting is already the hardest job out there, let someone support you through this. I recommend finding someone who truly knows toddlers rather than a coach that works with babies. For example, I work only with toddlers and primary aged children because their sleep is completely different than infant sleep.
Is there cause for concern?
Sleep is just as important as nutrition and water. Sleep is when the body recovers and grows, quality sleep improves emotional regulation and cognitive ability. The immune system is strengthened, and the brain forms neurological connections during sleep. Reach out to a sleep specialist or your pediatrician to gauge if a change should be made.
How can parents prevent night waking?
Preventing night waking begins with bedtime. Until bedtime is easy and your toddler doesn’t need help to fall asleep, they will most likely continue to wake throughout the night. The good news is toddlers take to new routines very quickly. They are so intelligent and capable, so making an adjustment to bedtime and sleep is much harder for the grown-ups than it is our little ones! If you start a new routine that works, you are likely to see results quickly. Stick with it and give your child the sleep they deserve!