My 20 month old baby stopped sleeping through the night months ago. When she wakes up she's not hungry, her teeth don't seem to be bothering her, she's not gassy or upset at all. She's all smiles and giggles and refuses to go back to sleep for hours. We've tried cutting her naps short and that hasn't helped. It's every night now and I'm about to have another baby so I'm worried I'll be up all night with two babies instead of up and down with one! LOL. It wouldn't be a big deal but I also have a 5 year old and a 3 year old who don't nap so I can't nap during the day with the little ones. Any ideas?
Let's start by talking through what an average schedule might look like for a 20 month old. Typically, you’d expect a child this age to wake any time between 6am – 7am and probably nap around noon (lasting approximately 1.5 -2.5 hours). Bedtime would most likely be around 7pm, possibly a little later, depending on the length of nap. If this schedule is quite different from your daughter’s schedule, then I would consider altering your daughter’s sleeping habits to fit this schedule. If your daughter’s sleep schedule is very similar to this, then read below.
It could be that your daughter has become accustomed to waking at a certain time every night, and so that has become her new routine. Maybe it started off with her being sick, or teething, and has since become her nightly ritual. It’s shocking how quickly children pick up new habits. How do you respond to her wake-ups? Is she allowed to play at this time or is she staying in her crib? If you are engaging with her, or playing with her at this time, she might think that this is a special time for you two to play together and sees this wake-up as a positive experience. Therefore, she continues to wake up.
I would recommend keeping the lights off and not playing or talking during these late night wake-ups. It might be as simple as taking away the positive reinforcement she’s receiving for waking. The main thing to keep in mind is to try and keep her late night wake-ups boring and continue to keep the room conducive to sleep (cool, quiet, and dark).
For more information or for more personalized support, feel free to email me at Kelly@sweetdreamsconsulting.com.