Sleeping through the night as a parent with an infant is impossible. Despite the fact that you have to go to work in the morning or wake up early to take care of the baby, your baby will still cry each night and wake you up. The loud cries ring out through the house every hour or two, and suddenly you’re jolted awake again. Unfortunately, this a harsh reality for parents of young babies.
All you can do during this time is hope the stage passes quickly. You can anticipate the days when they’re a little older and capable of sleeping through the night. Imagining getting a full eight hours of sleep without interruption might help you get through that noisy and disruptive stage.
Eventually, you will hit a groove where your baby, and you, will sleep through the night. You’ll likely welcome this stage and wake up a little more refreshed each morning. Finally, you have your night back to yourself.
Unbeknownst to you, there’s another sleep-related headache waiting down the line. Toddlers, while capable of sleeping through the night, don’t always like to stay in their rooms. While as an adult, you cherish those hours each night that you get to sleep, this time of day is less thrilling for your toddler.
At this stage, they can walk and talk which enables them to wander right out of their rooms at night. This may come just after you put them to bed or in the middle of the night, but either way, negotiating a return to their bed can be a headache for you.
Your toddler may leave their room to ask for water, to tell you they have to go to the bathroom, and they may even occasionally fake an illness. All so that they can spend just a little more time out of their room.
By this stage in their life, they have learned how to manipulate situations to get what they want. Despite your protests, their unwavering persistence is enough to make this stage just as painful as the crying stage they had as an infant.
Unfortunately for you, this act is most likely performed multiple times throughout the night. You can walk them back to their bed ten times just to see them reappear at your door a few minutes later. As you grow more and more tired and frustrated, dealing with this may seem impossible.
Luckily, there are things you can do to adapt, the first of which is to come up with consequences. As cute as your toddler may be, the only way to beat their persistence is to implement consequences.
This consequence should walk the line between enough to get them to stay in their room and avoiding doing or saying anything that will make them overly upset. Your toddler shouldn’t be afraid of the consequences, but you should be stern enough that they feel compelled to listen to you.
Before you bring up the consequence, you should make sure that your toddler isn’t really sick, their water glass is full, and they do not have to go to the bathroom. Address all possible ‘real’ problems that they might be bringing to you. Then, if they still continue to leave the room, you should bring up the consequences.
First, give them a gentle warning that if they leave their room again there will be consequences. It’s only fair for you to tell them first, and hopefully, that is enough to convince them to stay in their room.
If it isn’t, you may consider shutting your toddlers door. Most likely, this will be unpleasant for them because it closes them off to the rest of the house. Leaving it closed for a few minutes may be enough to convince them to stay inside to avoid that happening again.
Something as simple as this could be enough to upset and deter them, but won’t traumatize them. If your toddler sleeps with the door closed, and this isn’t an adequate consequence, you can try taking away a blanket, stuffed animal, or something else that they sleep with. Just remove it for a minute or two, enough for them to get the idea, but not long enough to truly upset them or disrupt their sleep.
If you continue to have problems, feel free to contact me, Adele Thompson, at Adele Thompson Sleep Consulting, to find the answers to your child’s sleep problems. It’s possible that you need the voice of an expert to get to the bottom of your little one’s sleep problems. You can set up a consultation with me here, or contact me through my website here. I have helped many tired moms, dads, and babies get the sleep they so desperately need. I wish you the best and look forward to hearing from you if you need further assistance.