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Why do children who have slept well for months or even years, suddenly start waking in the night? There are many reasons why this could happen and many things you can do to help them.
How to avoid waking in the night:
- Wear them out! It works for most people, so give them plenty of activity and lots of fresh air. Even if its cold, wrap out and go to the park and run around for a while.
- Check they are not over tired and lacking sleep. Move bedtime earlier if you think they may not be getting enough sleep. Under 5's need at least 12 hours sleep (including naps).
- Have a calm bedtime. Read books, sing gentle songs and have a cuddle before bed. It will put them in the right frame of mind for a long, easy, calm sleep.
- Make sure they go to sleep alone. Don't stay in the room until they sleep. Make sure they can do it themselves otherwise you may find they can't go back to sleep when they do wake up in the night because they expect you to be there. It's not their fault; it's all they know!
- Noises downstairs can wake a child. Try to be quiet and not have the tv on too loud so they are not disturbed.
- Try a nightlight if you think it may prevent them feeling scared in the night. A little glow can really comfort them.
- Excuses abound when children wake up; runny nose, drink, toilet. So have all you need nearby so they can reach for a sip of water if they are thirsty or get a tissue if their nose it running.
- Nightmares. Try not to to have scary stories before bed or tv that involves baddies or monster etc. Avoid grown up tv too as the images can be very real.
- Stay calm and kind. It's not their fault and they will probably get through the phase and sleep will be restored for the hole household!