Address the issue to get your little one back to sleep.
After surviving the up-all-night infant stage, you're probably looking forward to uninterrupted sleep, courtesy of your older toddler. That's why nighttime toddler crying can be such an issue. Unfortunately, this little setback can become a drawn-out nightmare if you don't nip the problem in the bud. Figure out what's causing the crying and you might actually get a few blissful hours of interrupted slumber.
1Figure out what's causing the crying. Toddlers wake up and cry for a number of reasons, including hunger, fear, cold, separation anxiety, fatigue and just about anything else that's off-kilter. Lucky you -- you're the one who gets to search out the offending issue. Of course, once you know what's causing the crying, you can work to remedy the problem.
2Arrange your child's day to ensure the best sleep possible. For instance, you may need to rearrange nap times if your little one is crying because she's simply not tired. Adding physical activity into her day and following a predictable schedule can also help prep your little one's mind for a night of uninterrupted slumber.
3Put safeguards in place to help acclimate your little one to a good night's sleep. For instance, if a noisy house is causing her to wake, install a white noise machine or fan to drown out sound. If she tends to wake up hungry, add a bedtime snack to her nighttime routine. If she's afraid of the dark, a nightlight or lovey can help.
4Go to your child when she wakes the first time, but don't take her out of her bed. Instead, assure her with a few soothing words and pat her back without actually disrupting her sleep. Even if she tries to climb out, lay her back down and gently tell her it's bedtime and you're there with her. Then, leave the room.
5Wait a little longer before going back into the room to see if she settles. Many toddlers will get the hint that crying doesn't automatically mean a free ticket to climb in your bed and settle down. If she continues to cry, go back into her room and offer a few more assuring words before leaving again. Repeat the process until she finally drops off.
- Visit your doctor if changing your child's sleep schedule or trying to seek out the problem doesn't stop the night waking. Your toddler could have developmental or health issues stopping her from getting the sleep she needs, particularly if she seems tired during the day, has issues with eating or seems lethargic.