22 answers

Waking up in a Bad Mood.

Hello everyone. My son is 21 months old. Whenever he takes a nap he wakes up in such a bad mood. He whines and does this fake cry thing. We try holding him, talking to him, give him as much comfort has we can it is horrible,it can last an hour or so. He has been doing this since he turned about a year. Has this happened to any of you and what did you guys do to make it stop.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My daughter also wakes up in a bad mood occasionally. Not too often though. When she does this, I usually just back off. I don't talk to her much, and I don't try to pick her up or get her to do anything right away. I just wait for her to decide she wants me to hold her, etc. If she should have a fit upon waking... I treat it just like all of her other tantrums. I tell her that when she is calm down mommy will come back in the room. Then I leave the room and let her have her fit. It won't last forever...

frist how long is that nap? some chilrend need a little bit more time to get up also try some soft music that way he'll know it almost time to wake up I know I'm like that I need a little bit of time to get up I am one of those who loves too sleep

More Answers

Dear S.

my daughter (23 months) also quite often wakes up after her nap in a horrible mood - whining and crying. I guess it has to do with making the transition back from dreamland into the day, which is a much quicker one at daytime than waking up from a night of sleep - and it can become quite intense at that age as they start understanding much more of what is going on and are increasingly scared by dreams. I started giving her loads of time to 'get her bearings': I sit down next to her without picking her up from her bed (that seemed to make it worse) and let her stay sitting there talking to her in a low voice. She calms down much quicker that way and eventually decides for herself that it is time to engange with the world again. I pretty sure it is different for every child - for her it seemed to work best to leave her to find her own 'timing' and things have improved greatly since.


He may just be one of those people that until they fully wake up they are not in a very good mood. I would just give him the hour he needs to get fully awake and not make a big deal out of trying to make him happy. He also may act the way he does when he wakes up because of all the attention he gets from you guys trying to make him happy. Just let him have his time alone. I know how I am in the morning before I have my coffee and it ain't pretty!!! Good Luck!

Do you think he is getting enough sleep? How long does he sleep at night and at naptime?
Or if you know nothing is wrong, (like he's not hungry, sick or wet diaper), have you tried telling him to stop instead of comforting him? I know that probably sounds mean and insensitive...but my son does that too sometimes(he's 19 months) and if I've tried everything else and he is still doing that-I just have to tell him to stop it and if he knows I'm serious, he usually does. I know that sounds kinda mean but I can't handle the whining!!! If he can talk- try getting him to communicate with you.If anything else, maybe he just wants you to hold him. Try doing that when he's not crying so as not to reward behavior you don't want. Know what I mean?
I hope something helps. Let me know how it goes.

As a sleep trainer of infants and young children, I can tell you that almost always when a child wakes up fussy, it is because he hasn't had enough sleep. Your child should be sleeping about 10 hours at night (uninterrupted)and taking a nap of 1 1/2 to 2 hours every afternoon.

This same thing happened to our son at about that age, he grew out of it. We thought maybe it was low-blood sugar or something and when nap was over wed be armed with apple juice or a popcicle. Which actually seemed to help sometimes, but mostly he just wanted to be held and not talked to, just held as we went about our business. It would last at least 30 minutes. Usually with him crying full on. Being quiet seemed to help, not talking directly to him helped. Just holding.

My daughter (now 4) is the same way. We just let her "warm up" and shake off the grumps. She is fine by the time she gets to preschool, but it take about an hour. Hopefully she will outgrow it eventually as she matures. Her brother (2 years) wakes up happy and sweet. It is just a personality difference.

We had this problem with my little boy when he was that age. It was for a few months, it was in the morning and after a nap. We still had a monitor in the room at that time so as soon as i would hear him i would run in there and tell him its ok, we are right here. Besides probably being a phase he was going through. I kinda just tried to get his mind on something else, not ignoring his crying, but not giving him all kinds of attention for it. Bring up something like, asking him if he is hungry for his favorite food, or if he wants some juice, or if he is ready to go watch his favorite movie or show, or if is ready to go play outside with his favorite toy. Also, just be really happy to see him and give him a big hug. Thats what worked for me. Just don't really acknowledge his fake crying.

A question to ask yourself too, is how did he fall asleep? Was he crying? Because i always notice if he goes to bed mad or sad, thats how he wakes up. So i always give him a warm bath and read a book before bedtime. This tends to calm him down and relax. If he needs to calm down for a nap, i just read him a book or two.

You are a working mother, so does he go to daycare? If so, have you checked with them, how they do naptime and what time of day?

Hope i have helped somehow. Good luck, but remember, he won't do this forever, eventually he has to grow up!! :)

To begin with, stop rewarding his behavior. Speak to him in normal tones and tell him that when he can talk to you in a good boy voice and have a smiley attitude you will read him a story. You are trying so hard to meet his needs that you are not purposely trying to get him to continue this behavior but that is what you are doing. Then when he stops whining, offer to read him a book or a desired activity. You also may need to consider if he is needs a snack before nap time. Part of it may be low blood sugar upon wakening. See if not rewarding his whining will get rid of it. Don't be surprised if it takes about 3-4 weeks to accomplish this and maybe a little longer cause if you do it for 2 weeks then give in you will have to do it longer the next time to see results. Maybe keep a chart to document how long his behavior lasts before it changes. Theoretically it should start to be less time after a few days and less every day.
Good luck

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