Solving typical toddler sleep problems, part 3
Author: Heidi Holvoet, PhD
Page 3 of 3
Tackle typical toddler sleep problems like waking up too early in the
morning, transitioning from crib to toddler bed, separation anxiety,
teething and illnesses. Browse the FAQs for inspiration and
Waking up too early
Waking up in the very early morning hours and not being able to sleep
on is so common that it seems a natural aspect of toddler sleep
And it is, but you can work to improve it.
One very practical tool is the toddler
"early bird" alarm clock which helps your toddler learn when it is
OK to get up ... and when she needs to stay in bed for a little longer.
Also, my No-Tears Sleeping Through
the Night guide includes specific techniques to avoid wake-up
causes in the mornings and to extend the night.
crib to bed
When done carefully, moving from crib to bed can be a great boost of
confidence and independence for your toddler. The keys to success are
the right timing and being prepared (both for you and your little one).
Two dedicated articles help you with when and how to
help your toddler transition well to the big / toddler bed.
Most young children go through several phases of separation
usually starts in the second half year when they learn to be their own
person, separate from you and that they have to deal with strangers (extended family,
friends, daycare, ...).
As a result, being extra clingy, afraid
of other people and suddenly
being scared to be alone at night are very typical.
Little by little your growing baby learns that you do come back, even
if she hasn't seen you for a while. And that it is OK to spend some
time all by herself, even at night. Because she learns that you don't
And that builds her confidence.
As a toddler, your child has learned all of that and has become more
independent and happy to explore the world around her by herself for a
bit. But then from time to time, the fear of not seeing you again can
An unlucky day at daycare, a late pick-up, losing you out of sight at
the mall for a couple of second, ... lots of small incidents can
trigger a new bout of separation anxiety. And sometimes it's without
any apparent reason.
You will notice it when your toddler seems less confident again, clings
to you more than ever, cries at daycare or pre-school and stops
settling well for the night or sleeping through.
What to do
- Read the separation
anxiety page and apply as many of the techniques as you feel fit.
- Give it time: remember that this is an opportunity to increase
your toddler's self-confidence. Try to find a healthy balance between:
and you will make it through this phase
without much trouble but with important new lessons learned.
- Offering plenty of reassurance with your presence and by
acknowledging her fears (stay at her bedside a while longer, promise to
go in and check on her, etc.)
- Encouraging your child to take a risk and progress
towards more independence (gradually reduce the time you stay, or stay
away a bit longer, then praise her at any progress)
Teething can still be quite painful, especially when molars are cutting
... have a look at the teething
chart so you know when to expect which teeth. Whenever you suspect
any discomfort from a tooth, apply the non-medical
teething solutions before resorting to the medical ones.
Likewise when a cold strikes: simple home-made cold
remedies are often the most efficient ones.
terrors and nightmares
can cause you many sleepless nights too. Is your child very creative
and has a vivid imagination? Watches TV regularly? Plays on the
computer or tablet? Nothing wrong with that but you may need to time it
well and reduce the amount of time spent at it.
apnea in toddlers is usually obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). When in
doubt, look out for the signs
of sleep apnea, and contact your health adviser.
Frequently asked questions
15 month old is wanting to sleep most of the day
2 year old keeps me up all night
month old daughter has never slept through
14 months old Daughter just sleeps from 11to 4
month old baby sleep retrogression
month old daughter still wont sleep
15 months old baby boy is still cosleeping with us
New Sleep Low... I didn't think it was possible!!!