Toddler Waking up in the Middle of the Night

Updated on July 16, 2009
M.S. asks from Tampa, FL
5 answers

Hi, Our 3 year old daughter has been waking up at least once (sometime 2 and 3 times) in the middle of the night. The first time is always at 4 a.m. She yell for me until I come in there. Then wants me to sit with her but will usually go back to sleep within 5 - 10 minutes. Sometimes she'll also wake up at 5 and 6 but always goes back to sleep as long as I go in her room and sit with her. This has been going on for about a month now. I feel like I've got a newborn again!! Does anyone have any experience with this happening? Advice on how to stop it? Ideas on how long it might continue? Thanks!

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answers from Tampa on

First look around and see if anything has changed in her life lately. Like a new sitter, furniture moved, new outing. What has she been watching on tv? A lot of grown up shows can upset a small child. Does she have a night light? If not get her one. Have you tried asking her what's wrong when you go in the room? That would be a good place to start.



answers from Tampa on

Ah. Don't you LOVE it. Just when you think this is great, they sleep through the night-they throw a curve ball at you. K is 3 1/2. This is a prime age for nightmares. And at this age they don't necessarily understand that they aren't real. Start asking that. You could ask when you go in, but K would never tell me then. So I'd ask in the morning. He usually didn't want to talk about it-who could blame him? Asking him to relive something he viewed as real and scary. But we could usually find out some details. Then you can go from there on how to help her.

But, waking up at certain is a habit. Which they can form very easily. And if she is waking up at the same time pretty much each night, then that is what you are probably dealing with. Is she asking for anything when you go in? Water, cover me, etc.? If it is something that you can solve before it happens-DO IT! K started waking up asking for water. Went on for about a week, then I started putting a sippy w/water next to his bed. Recently it has been wanting ME to re-cover him up. Something he CAN do. But why do it when I can wake Mama up in the middle of the night? So I started making sure the blanket was tucked in at the bottom so it couldn't come loose. And before I go to bed I re-cover him. My husband makes sure he is covered before he goes to bed and if I wake up in the middle of the night I check then too.

If there is no reason other than she just wants you to sit there, can you call out and let her know that you are right there, that you are sleeping and you love her will see her in the morning? Go in and tell her you love her but you are tired and need to go back to sleep? Does she have any comfort items? We have a music thing-FP thing for cribs-that K turns on. Breaking the habit is HARD and the longer it goes on it will only get HARDER.

I hope that you can figure out what is going on and can get back to sleeping through the night.



answers from Fort Myers on

I myself have never had this type of problem with any kids I have delt with but I do remember waking up in the middle of the night when I was three because I had had a bad dream and wanted to be comforted because it scared me. My older sisters use to come and comfort me sometimes. I would say your best bet for this situation is to get her a soft stuffed animal she can sleep with that talks or plays soothing music. This way when she wakes up she will have that to rely on instead of calling on you. It's worth a shot. I hope this helps. Let me know how it goes.



answers from Tampa on

My 3yo started this about a year ago. She isn't doing it every night anymore, but it still happens a few times a week. I keep a pillow and blanket on the floor in my bedroom and when she gets up in the middle of the night she comes in and sleeps on the floor next to my side of the bed. For the most part she doesn't wake me up anymore to tell me she's there unless she feels the need to tell me about whatever bad dream she just had.



answers from Tampa on

My dauther is 2 1/2 & does this. The other night she came into my room at 4 am. She can now open her door & our door. This has been going on for a long time with her, waking up in the middle of the night crying for me. Heaven forbid Dad goes in there- to her it is the end of the world!!

The only way she goes to sleep again is if I am in there. She can take an hour to go to sleep. I use to sleep with her in her futon (twin size). Then I bought a roll up mat (kind of like a sleeping bag) at Big lots. Now when this happens she will sleep on the mat on the floor & I sleep on the futon. My back just could not handle her & me, & her stuffed toys insuch a small bed!

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