Topic | OT: Help with little ones & sleeping

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  • Misty

    6 kids prior and never this issue but each child is different I have one now with sleeping.

    My 2.5 yr old daughter is constantly waking in the night, usually either shortly after going to sleep or early morning, with in 2-3 hours.  Here is her schedule – naps from 1-2:30, and needs that, is put to bed at 7 and is usually alseep around 730-8 ( in which she just lays there and you can hear her talking to her baby).  She is waking around 6-630 daily.

    1st – I would like to see her sleeping longer – which you’d say just cut the naps – but she didn’t get a nap yesterday cause my parents showed up and by 6 she was barely hanging on and we had to keep her awake till 7.

    2nd – When she is waking in the night she is usually (90%) screaming things like “(brother’s name *BN) stop doing that”, “BN help me”, “No, I don’t want to go”, or just random thoughts, phrases or just squeels.  It not only is disrupting my sleep, but I’m more worried about her sleep.  She can’t be getting good sleep nightly if she’s waking all the time at night and calling out.  Also, we were hoping to move her in with her sister by winter but I don’t need to little waking at night.

    What idea’s or thoughts do you have?  I want my baby to get a good nights sleep.  Oh, and no it doesn’t seem to effect her behavior at all in the morning.

    Thanks Misty


    Two of my DC had night terrors at that age.  They wouldn’t talk during them, but they would scream as loud as possible!  It was very scary.  Usually I’d just hold them (trying to wake them didn’t help at all) and wait for them to fall back asleep.  

    I’m not sure about the constant waking.  My toddlers did seem to wake quite a few times during the night while they were nursing.  Once they were night-weaned they slept better.


    My daughter is 4 and has rest time from 1-4 sometimes she sleeps sometimes she doesn’t. She goes to bed between 7 and 7:30 and wakes at 6:30 every day. It does not matter if I lay her down for bed at 9 she still wakes at 6:30. Every day. With the said she is not allowed out of her room until 7, no matter what time she wakes. She is awake talking/singing/reading books (in the dark) to herself for 30-60 minutes every night no matter what time she goes to bed. Seems like a totally normal sleep patterns for a toddler.


    My middle daughter woke a lot at night. Where does she sleep? You mentioned moving her in with her sister. If is sleeping in your room I would try moving her for your sake. She may sleep better also. My daughter is a very light sleeper and until I put her in her own room she woke up continuously. When I put her in her own room and ran a fan during the night for white noise it helped a lot. She shares a room with her sister now (she is 7) and she hates it. Her sister tossing and moving wakes her up. We don’t have another option right now but getting bunk beds actually helped because we put her on the top.

    Having a fan on helps my daughter a lot, both to fall asleep and stay asleep. I did make a rule that if she wakes up in the night she is not to wake me unless she is sick or needs me for a particular reason. That way I still get my sleep and she is forced to stay in bed and try to go back to sleep. If she gets up and comes to my room and wakes me she is wide awake by the time I put her back in bed. She also needs it very dark and cool in her room as light or getting too hot wake her. I am also a light sleeper so I understand.



    Good ideas so far. My thoughts:

    1. Keep the nap! Forever if she’ll let you.

    2. Push bedtime back some. 30 minutes to 90 minutes. Start small and see what works okay for her.

    3. Have white noise in her room (actual white noise machine, fan, something.

    The waking up, could it be she’s hearing someone else moving around? Such as someone else heading to bed or getting up and going in the early morning (or even someone going to the bathroom and having to pass her room)? All of these could be helped by the white noise.

    4. Dark room, dark curtains/blinds – whens she wakes at 6/6:30 is it light? That would signal to her it’s time to get up. If you can make her room dark she might just roll over for a bit longer. And maybe not – I have a few early risers among mine that get up no matter if it is dark or light. Their bodies simply don’t need as much sleep.

    5. Yes, it could be dreams. What media is happening in her daytime and especially right before bedtime? I have one who is sensitive to what he watches and at 5 still will wake with nightmares if he’s watched something close to bedtime that is full of adventure, suspense, or pretty much anything beyond gentle fun preschool-type shows. If we’re watching a movie before bed he needs to see it finish and everything resolved, we can’t leave it hanging mid-action (think turning off Beauty and the Beast when Gaston and the townspeople are attaking the beasts’ castle, or the dogs and cat still lost in Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey) I think it’s just his body’s way of trying to work out and wind down from those stresses, the nightmares rarely have things from the show in them.


    Sounds like night terrors,  we are on kiddo number 4 with them (we have 6) and they have all had them from around age 2 until they grow out of them a bit around age 6.  It’s very different than a nightmare, they look fully awake and have no idea that they are talking/screaming, etc.  They will always have one when they are overtired, it’s usually within an hour or two of falling asleep.  We also read some research that said it has to do with potty training age, that their body knows they need to go to the bathroom but they aren’t old enough/capable of doing it yet.  So I don’t know if you are in the process of that, but when she is able to go on the toilet, that’s the first thing we do is take them to the bathroom, flip on the light and sit them down to go.  They always go, but are so out of it we have to help them sit there, and they will grab my pants for toilet paper, walk into the closet instead of back to their room, etc. but it seems to help them to be able to go back to sleep finally.  If I don’t rouse my daughter enough (with light/bathroom/talking to her, etc) she will just continue to have an episode every 15-30 minutes, which is exhausting! 

    As I’ve had more children, they have cut their afternoon nap out earlier and earlier, the last one was done by 2.  You could move her nap up a bit and see if that would help, or move her bedtime back.  Mine go to bed at 8:30, and my younger ones are up around 6:30 (but have to be quiet, look at books, until 7:15).  They also don’t fall asleep right away, so I know some kids just don’t need as much sleep. 

    Also, most of my children don’t wake up to the other one’s noises during the night, but I do think they are more tired from it.  So you could move your kids into the same room and try it.  Sorry mama, it can be so frustrating to not get enough sleep and still have to do all your jobs the next day!


    I will try and answer all the questions – she is in her own room, she yells out but doesn’t get out of bed and when I do go and and try and calm her I don’t know if I am actually doing anything cause when I don’t go in they last just as long (probably no more than 1 minute maybe 2 at the very most in reality), She has a very heavy blanket that does a pretty good job of keeping it dark in there, better than anything other than spending the money on an actual room darking blind. She goes right back to sleep on her own.  I rarely go in there anymore because I know it will only last a moment.  We do have a fan in her room for white noise.

    amama – interesting you mention potty training.  Although we haven’t started her at night about 3 weeks ago she started waking up and yelling she had to go, or actually we caughter her taking her diaper off and just going in there to go.  Although the yelling started before that now that you mentioned it when she did this for a couple nights, go to the bathromm that is, (and I thought #7 finally potty trains all by her self through the night about time) she then just stopped and the yelling began again.  I wonder if she knows and just can’t fully wake up?  I will ponder on that more.

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