What do you do if your child keeps waking up in the middle of the night?

Some children just wake up more than others. The reasons can vary with age, but there are usually some simple explanations.

Babies need to get into a routine. If you just hear them stirring, or even whimpering a little, it doesn't hurt to just settle themselves back in. They usually will fall back asleep on their own. If they begin crying, and continue to cry, they are usually trying to let you know they are not comfortable. They could be hungry, wet, or just in need of a little comforting. Some say that you will spoil them by going to them in the night, but after raising my own, that simply isn't true. As long as you take care of their needs, and then lay them back in their own bed to go back to sleep, you are simply helping them to get a better night's rest. This will help establish patterns, even if it wears you out in the beginning. In the long run, it will pay off. There are other issues that can also be a problem. Colic is somewhat common in infants. If their little belly seems blown up, or they just cry and cry, and you cannot comfort them, this could be an issue. Check with their doctor. It is usually easily treated with a new formula, or anti-gas drops.

As toddlers get older, the reasons begin to change. If they are waking up throughout the night, it could have to do with a smaller bladder. They may need to use the restroom, or they may have wet the bed. If bedwetting is a consistent problem, keep a change of linens and pajamas on hand. Do not fuss at them, or make them feel bad. They couldn't help it. Having the stuff on hand makes it so it can be dealt with quickly, and they can get right back to sleep. Also, their imaginations are beginning to grow, so they may be insecure. Any noise can be the monster under the bed. You may also want to consider factors such as passing headlights, nearby train tracks, and hot water heaters that click on throughout the night. Also, the mattresses in most toddler beds are pretty cheaply made. Try laying on the child's bed. See if you are still comfortable in twenty minutes. In our youngest daughter's case, a new mattress made all the difference. Other toddlers are coming into an age that they want to test their limits. Three year olds can sniff out weakness like a lioness. You have to be firm, consistent, and as drama free as possible. After you talk to them, and make sure there is no real problem, promptly walk them straight back to their bed. Keep in mind that you children are full of energy. If they spent the afternoon watching television or sitting in their room playing with toys, you are probably not going to get them to stay in that bed. You have to do something to burn off the energy, give them their bath, have a little quiet time, and then send them to bed.

Sometimes, there are more serious or deep seated issues going on.

  • Sexual/Physical Abuse
  • Night Terrors
  • Hallucinations
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sleep Apnea

These are more rare, but can be a possibility. There will often be daytime symptoms to go along with these problems. If the issue seems very severe, or persistent, you need to talk to your child's doctor. They can evaluate the situation, and maybe even order a sleep study. There are therapies, changes in habits, natural cures, and in some situations, medications that can help.