There are many rewards that come with being a parent. Being a mom or a dad is one of the most important roles you can have, and as such, it’s an adventure filled with pride and happiness.
Yet, that’s not to say parenthood doesn’t come without its challenges. Believe it or not, one of the hardest parts about being a parent isn’t the poopy diapers, or even teaching your child their timetables. According to most parents, the biggest challenge of parenthood is sleeping trouble. From the minute your child is born, to the teenage years, there will be ebbs and flows of sleeping patterns which can significantly impact you as the parent.
One of the most significant chapters of a child’s sleep development comes in the toddler years. Parents who thought they were out of the woods now that their children are past the infant years suddenly find themselves with the child waking up multiple times in the night again.
Exhausted parents with jobs to go to the next day you can find themselves wondering “what the heck is going on?” Lack of sleep isn’t just exhausting— it can affect your health! If this sounds like you and your toddler are suddenly waking up at all hours of the night, then here are some of the reasons it might be happening.
The toddler years are filled with some of the most important developmental milestones of a person’s life. From learning to talk, walk, and use the toilet, all these different developments and achievements can be a lot to pack in a child’s brain. Because there’s so much occurring in your child’s brain, it can disrupt their sleep patterns and leave them waking up at all hours of the night. As difficult as it may be to accept these night wakings, remember, it’s the result of a good thing.
Their evolving brains are something to be celebrated, even though you might be tired. Remember to stay patient and remember that it won’t last forever. Be as patient as possible and help them feel safe and relaxed in their bedroom. Try to create a consistent bedtime routine so that they get into the habit of going to bed at the same time every night. Eventually, this will reinforce their sleep habits and their bodies will memorize when it’s time to sleep.
If you thought teething was over during the baby years, then think again. They still have teeth coming in well into the toddler years, and it can be incredibly painful. It can cause jaw aches and headaches and is often likely the cause for their night wakings.
Offer them soothing remedies like frozen teething rings, or homeopathic medicine. Until their new teeth pop through their gums, you might find yourself in for a few restless nights.
You’re little ones are very attached to you, and still rely on you for reassurance. Now that they’re a “big kid,” they find themselves less attached to you as they did when they were a baby, constantly being held. This transition between little one and big kid can be tough for them. As they find themselves in the middle of the night alone without you, they may feel scared.
Instead of punishing them, or shaming them for needing you, be as reassuring as possible. Make sure that they understand that you’ll always be there in the morning when they wake up.
As your little one’s imagination is getting more active, the more they become susceptible to nightmares. They can easily find themselves waking up in a cold sweat panicking over what they just experienced.
It can be difficult for them to separate reality from dreams, so make sure that you reassure them as much as possible. Explain to them what a nightmare is, and always be there to comfort them. Pro tip: often, nightmares produce themselves as a result of feeling overheated, so check the temperature of your room if it’s an ongoing issue.