I have a 15 month-old son who still doesn’t sleep through the night. He goes to bed at 9:00 pm and will wake up around 2:00 am. Then, he refuses to go back to sleep and he will stay awake for about 2 hours before he goes back to sleep again.
This happens every day!! Please, can somebody help me!!
Yeimun (Toronto, Canada)
Tips When Toddler Is Awake At Night
Oh, poor you! You must be exhausted!
What happens when your baby wakes up at 2 am? Do you talk to him or put on any lights? Does he cry – or is he just awake?
Most children g through phases of being awake at some point during the night. I have even heard my kids babbling or playing in their cribs, so it’s not unusual for babies to wake… the problem is when they want you to wake up too or they can’t go back to sleep without help!
Here are a few things you can try:
- If you do interact with him a lot, then he probably feels that it’s worth his while to wake up – whereas if he doesn’t receive much attention, he may stop altogether. I don’t recommend ignoring him if he is crying, but if possible, I would recommend keeping the lights off and not talking AT ALL – and instead just patting him for a little while so that he knows you’re there, then leaving him as soon as he is calm. Then, if he’s still not settling, you can return and do the same thing again. That way, you’re not providing any stimulation, but at least he has the reassurance of knowing you’re there.
- It’s also important to provide as much stimulation as you can throughout the day, taking him outside as much as possible to reinforce the idea of being awake in the daylight, asleep in the dark. If you need ideas on what to do together with your baby, have a look at our baby and toddler activity tips here.
- If he has any long naps in the day, make them shorter or fewer. It can be tempting to let babies have a long daytime nap – especially when you’re as tired as you must be – but it creates a vicious circle where they then wake more at night! Take a glance at this baby and toddler sleep schedule month by month and see if there are any adaptions you would like to try.
- Check your little one’s diet – try to ensure none of the foods he eats contain additives such as food coloring, which has been shown to increase hyperactivity in children and could possibly contribute to night waking.
- I’ve always found a musical crib toy invaluable for getting my little ones to sleep – I put it on every time I put them to bed, so it becomes a signal for ‘sleep time’. It might help to get into the pattern of using one – by the time my children are around your son’s age, they have switched it on themselves at night to soothe themselves back to sleep (we have one of those light-up aquariums that just need a tap to turn on).
- Also – if you think he may be a light sleeper and waking in response to noise, consider creating white noise to help him stay asleep. We use a box fan for this, and it works wonders :)
I do hope that one of these suggestions helps,
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Paula Dennholt founded Easy Baby Life in 2006 and has been a passionate parenting and pregnancy writer since then. Her parenting approach and writing is based on studies in cognitive-behavioral models and therapy for children and her experience as a mother and stepmother. Life as a parent has convinced her of how crucial it is to put relationships before rules. She strongly believes in positive parenting and a science-based approach.
Paula cooperates with a team of pediatricians that you find here. They write or review all health-related articles.