Nighttime Battles with Toddlers: Choices and Energy Drain



Does your toddler wake you up throughout the night? Are you as grumpy as your kid is every morning? Not to mention – when was the last time you got a full night’s sleep? 

This is a common issue for parents of toddlers and preschoolers. Kids wake their parents up for a myriad of reasons. Perhaps they run to their mom and dad because they’re scared, or maybe they just want company. Regardless of why— once they’re up, they’re up. It then turns into an endless list of sleep interruptions for the rest of the night: water, snuggles, bathroom time – ugh. We love them but… UGH!


As parents, we can’t all be superstars. Sometimes we have to chalk it up to learning from others. In this case, let’s learn from one couple who couldn’t take the sleepless nights anymore. Creating the perfect combination of choices and energy drain allowed them to teach their 4-year-old son to take control of his actions in the middle of the night. They’ve had great success!

Every night before bed they give him all sorts of choices about what books and activities he'd like to put beside his bed. If he wakes up, he immediately has something to busy himself that he enjoys doing. He's allowed to turn on his light and look at books or color, and he can fall asleep when he feels ready.


He can still wake his parents up if he needs comforting in the middle of the night, but he knows that it might cause them an energy drain the next day. This would affect him when he wants his parents to play with him because less sleep for mommy and daddy equals less energy for playtime. He loves to shoot baskets with his dad but after being woken up too many times the night before, there’s a mutual understanding that the next day won’t be a good day for a lot of playtime.

Both parents said their son is getting much better and is more relaxed knowing he has choices about what to do when he wakes up. He used to only have one thing he could do... now he has lots!


Learn more about Mary and her parenting coaching here.

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