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Toddler waking up in middle of night

Updated on November 24, 2015

Having your toddler waking up in the middle of the night can be a big problem. It means your sleep gets disturbed and you can’t perform at your best, the next day. In this article we will look at some of the common problems that can cause toddler to wake up in the middle of the night and we will also explore some common sense solutions to the problem.

If, your problems are long term, remember it never hurts to talk to your GP about it.

General principles
Preferably you want your toddler to sleep through the whole night, without waking up. If however they wake up you want them to realize that everything is OK and then go back to sleep, without disrupting your sleep, too much. A toddler should sleep 10-12 hours a night with around an extra 2 hours of naptime during the day.

There are some common mistakes that you should try to avoid

  1. Letting your toddler crawl into bed with you is one. Once they learn that this is an option, it can be a very difficult habit to break.
  2. Picking your toddler up and rocking them till they go back to sleep is another bad habit. They will expect you to do it every time. Just stay with them long enough to make sure that they know everything is OK. Then leave your toddler to go back to sleep, on their own.
  3. Don’t get angry with your toddler, just be consistent and insistent.
  4. Over stimulation before bedtime can cause sleep problems.
  5. Don’t move your toddler from his crib to a bed too early. When they start nearing their third birthday, it’s time.

Environmental factors

  • A toddler must neither be too cold or too warm.
  • Objects in the toddler’s room that provide too much stimulation can keep them awake.
    Keep the noise levels low.
  • Don’t allow too much light in the toddler’s room.

Toddler waking up in middle of night
Toddler waking up in middle of night

Here are some measures that you can take to stop your toddler from waking up in the middle of the night

Get your toddler some exercise
Let your toddler get 30 minutes of exercise every day.

Stick to their bedtime
Don’t let your toddler go to bed early. If they feel sleepy in the period two hours before bedtime don’t let them go to sleep. On the other side of the coin don’t let them stay up after bedtime. Having a consistent bedtime is very important.

Stopping your toddler from getting scared
Nightlights work well because it allows a toddler to see that everything is OK, without being so bright as to disturb the toddlers sleep cycle. If you have been having problems, it is absolutely worth a try. Having a stuffed toy or soft blanket can also help comfort a toddler.

Hopefully with these tips you can stop your toddler waking up in the middle of the night.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy Tips for Cruising with Toddlers and toddler biting discipline.

Some toddlers sleep much better with a comforting toy
Some toddlers sleep much better with a comforting toy
Remember toddlers need exercise to sleep well
Remember toddlers need exercise to sleep well


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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      thanks guys. Good tips. My 1.5 year old has always been a good sleeper. But the last 2 weeks she has been waking up every night and crying. She is averaging 3 times a night. She also wakes up the other baby every time. Any tips?

    • dohn121 profile image


      9 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I have no kids that I know of (hahaha) but if I did, this article would definitely be helpful. If she's "late" I'll come back here. Just kidding! You did and a wonderful job again!

    • profile image

      \Brenda Scully 

      9 years ago

      this seems to be a problem so many people have....... glad i did not have to experience this problem


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