Mary’s problem had suddenly arisen in the past few weeks, Jaden was a good sleeper but now, at 15 months he suddenly had turned into a monster at night! At 2 am for the past week, Jaden would become restless and then call out and eventually start to cry. Going in to him, he would ask to be picked up and want to go out of his room. He simply wanted to go to the lounge, watch some TV and have a bottle there. He would play quietly on the floor for up to two hours before looking drowsy again. His mom was at the end of her tether and was exhausted when having to get up after two hours sleep at 6am to start her day.
Occasionally toddlers and even younger babies start to be very awake in the middle of the night. Try these steps to manage your older baby back to a good night sleep:
- Make sure your little one is not going to bed too late. 7pm is the latest a baby or toddler must be in bed and any later and you could be looking at a little one who is simply overtired. Over tiredness often leads to night wakings and even night terrors.
- Deworm your toddler if he is over one year of age as worm infestations of the gut can wake little ones at this time and they battle to settle again.
- Make sure your toddler has a good diet with sufficient protein and iron.
- Make all interactions between 6pm and 6am muted – calming and not stimulating.
- Set a boundary, even if your little one goes through a stage of being wakeful in the middle of the night. Set the boundary that he may not leave his cot. Sit with him and offer a sip of water but no feeds and definitely do not leave the room with him.