Wide awake toddler in the middle of the night, what to do?(7 Posts)
DS is 17 months old (15 corrected as he was premature). After a difficult start with colic, since he was about 7 months old he's been a great sleeper usually going from 7pm to 7am with just the occasional grumble when he's lost his dummy. I know we've been really lucky with this! However, the last few weeks we've had a few nights where he's woken at 11pm ish and just won't settle until 3 or 4am, which is pretty stressful when I have to be up for work at 6am. When he wakes he cries but is the perfectly happy once held/brought into our bed but stays wide awake and just wants to play. If I put him back in his cot he gets upset and cries. I'm really not sure what to do as I don't like to leave him to cry but also I don't want to teach him to think it's ok just to wake up in the night and DH or I will just sit with him or he can lay in our bed playing
trampling all over us and grabbing our faces! If anyone has any suggestions of what to do in this situation id be so grateful!
Most importantly, you be REALLY boring. You may have a couple of worse nights before it gets better, but it will.
Pick a phrase, doesn't have to be the same phrase every night, but you pick a form of words and you say exactly those words, in exactly the same tone of voice, and you say nothing else at all for that whole night.
Toddlers cries. In you go, lie them down, say the boring reassuring phrase of the night (mine was usually "you're not on your own, I'm just close by but it's time to go to sleep now") and, as soon as they're calm, you walk out. If they cry, count to 10 or so, literally just long enough to show that you had left and then returned, and you do it all over again. It can take over an hour, you may have to do it more than once a night but, in 2 or 3 days it will be over.
The message for your toddler is that they are safe; if they cry, you will come back but cuddles & games are off the table. A little back rub & some soft (but boring) words are all that's on offer. It's hard. You have to turn it into a game in your own head "how boring can I be?" but if you can stick with it, the prize of sleep awaits.
Good luck. Sweet dreams to you all, Fingers crossed for you.
My dd did that a few times. She suddenly snapped out of it.
I have both
- a spare single bed in the nursery and
- a travel cot in my bedroom (with a folded up double duvet on the bottom to make a more comfortable mattress)
Since night wakes are only occassional and really my DD just wants to be near me, I either go sleep in her room or bring her into the cot in our room.
Once she's in the same room as me, I basically just ignore her completely. She usually doesn't cry because she just wanted to be near me. Plus my sleep isn't disturbed because I'm in a bed and she's in a cot.
Usually she is on her own in her cot as normal. It's only the odd night or three every few months. But I accept that very occassionally she will wake (and is likely to for several years yet) and I think her being in a cot is better for us both than cosleeping, even if occassional.
What are day time naps like? Maybe look at the total sleep in 24 hours and check that he is not having too much in the day.
Rule out thirst and hunger and then if you are happy to have him with you just do that but don't play or engage.
You have my sympathy though. I have had 3 bad sleepers and co sleeping was the only thing to save my sanity.
DD did that, she went through quite a phase of it. What I did was make sure her room was babyproof, had a safety gate on the door, and just dozed while she played.
Thanks all for your really helpful replies. I've been trying to think what's happened on days when he's been awake at night and you're right Avebury, I think they may have been days when he's had a longer or later nap. Monkeyface, I'd really like to give your technique a try, I might leave it till later in the week though when I've got 4 days of not working! One problem is though that when I try to soothe him in the cot he just tries to stand up, any ideas what to do with that? The idea of a travel cot is also a good one, might have that on hand this week incase of emergency! He is usually a great sleeper but he just does have these random nights and usually they manage to coincide with me being at work the next day which is so stressful. Thanks again all!
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