Waking in the night is a common problem of toddlerhood, after which time it is usually out-grown. Most children can resettle themselves without needing you, but there will inevitably be times when they need your help to get back to sleep. And while it’s important to respond to your child’s cries in the night, if it happens on a regular basis you’ll need to find a way to deal with it so that you – and the rest of your family – can get your much-needed sleep.
When she wakes in the night:
- Wait for her to cry or call out for you before responding. If you can hear her moving around or talking to herself, try to resist the urge to go to her as she may just resettle herself without your help.
- If she calls out for you, go to her and quietly remind her that it’s time for sleep, then leave the room.
- If she cries, go to her and give her a cuddle as you settle her in her bed. If she’s too upset for you to leave, try not to engage her – just sit on the edge of the bed without making eye contact or talking and hold her hand or pat her back. As soon as she’s calm leave the room.
- If the crying persists, you may need to consider using some Controlled Crying techniques to teach her how to resettle herself.
- If your child comes into your room when she wakes, get out of bed and lead her back to her bed – don’t carry her as you’ll be giving her a cuddle as you do and that may be all the incentive she needs to continue getting up at night.
- If she consistently gets into your bed each night, try putting a mattress or sleeping bag next to your bed. When she appears in the night, settle her on the floor so that you’re still close but not too close!
Most children will voluntarily leave their parent’s bed for good by the time they start school, so if your best efforts are failing you, take heart that you won’t still be sharing a bed with a smelly teenager!
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