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JeffHP's avatar

Toddler crying at night?

Asked by JeffHP (92 points ) April 2nd, 2011

I live with a 3-year-old child that wakes up during the night whinning for something to drink. He constantly is waking up and has tons of excuses in order to lure his mother out of bed. Is this normal? What can I do? It is dry in our upstairs apartment. Would a humidifier help?

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8 Answers

creative1's avatar

I usually put my toddlers down with a drink before bed but if the child is potty training its not a good idea because it will mean either an accident in bed or up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. The humidifier is a help however you have to be sure you clean and change their water exactly as instructed in the manual because molds and bacteria can grow in them and it will be putting that into the air the child is breathing. A lot of this is behavior the child is trying to get attention from the parent and knows by asking anything and everything it is 1 getting that attention and 2 delaying bedtime. I watch alot of Supernanny and she has a wonderful technique for getting the kids to sleep on their own but you have to just sit and let them cry. I have put the link to supernanny to help you, she also has wonderful other tips for other things that may come up with toddlers http://www.hulu.com/supernanny

WasCy's avatar

I’m guessing from the way you worded the question that you’re not the child’s father. I’d suspect that there may be a sort of power play between the two of you here for Mom’s attention (or control of Mom, even).

I think that I’d recommend that you do whatever you can to reassure the child that you’re not there to take Mom away. I suspect that there may be some issues to work out between you and the child, as well.

Otherwise, a three-year-old is perfectly capable of getting up and walking to a bathroom for a cup of water. I’d let the child learn that – as well as handling the sociological / family issues in play here. (Mom needs to learn to let go, too.)

gailcalled's avatar

@WasCy: Not surprisingly, I had the same reaction as that ^^ bluewasp.

Your tone is that of impatience and irritation, which is not all that strange, given that you are not the child’s father.

It is not a question of “normal’ vs. “abnormal.” The reality is that the three of you need to look at the deeper issuse and deal with them, probably with some objective third-party help..

You are in his mother’s bed and, I assume, having sex with her in that bed. The little boy sounds like he is smart and taking care of his needs in a very clever way. This is not about a glass of water, either by the bedside or in the bathroom. Look below the surface.

Coloma's avatar

I see this situation as more of a plea for extra attention.
Toddlers do not manipulate, and it is the adults responsibility to figure out the hidden meanings of a childs behavior.

I would make bedtime a fun experience, story time and then an offering of a drink, maybe leave a drink on the childs night stand that they can easily access.

Yep, there is a deeper issue at play, and it is the parents responsibility to figure that out.

Many 2–3 yr. olds go through a ‘night terror’ phase where they are awakened with bad dreams and are hard to soothe.

This is a ‘normal’ part of an overactive brain and immature nervous system and there is no manipulative behavior involved other than a frightend child overwhelmed by their fears.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Totally normal! We have a 2 and a half year old who just turns into a demon at night. He wakes up, demands water or tea or gloves (don’t ask) and if you give him any of it, he refuses it and throws things around. He then goes into a mega screaming/kicking tantrum that can last up to 5 hours with NO END. Nothing helps, not holding, not singing, not taking him outside, not showering him, not keeping him contained in any room. It’s all we can do from banging out heads on the wall. With some kids, there is nothing you can do but wait it out and wait until they grow out of it.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Yes, toddlers cry at night. They are no longer babies, but not big kids yet either.

My son had horrific nightmares and the pukes at that age. He’d wake up and refuse to go to sleep. Ahhhhh…those were the days We’d sit an watch a nice old movie. Then he’d be ready for bed again.

About the time that stage ends, the “I don’t want to wake up!” in the morning stage begins, or the “I want to stay in my jammies today!” stage…and on it goes.

These are the joys of raising children!

cak's avatar

There is very little I can add to this question. It’s just quite obvious that this really isn’t about a sippy cup of water. Some of this is trust, seeing if mommy really is there when he needs her. It’s a stage, sometimes a trying stage, but it’s a stage. Make sure there is a routine established and understand that at this age, routines aren’t always perfect.

Priority to this situation:

1. Toddler
2. Mommy & Toddler
3. Everything else.

Welcome to parenthood.

dabbler's avatar

Yes, if you have the heat on get a humidifier for the kid and another for yourself for your bedrooms. All the moist tissues in nose and throat will thank you every morning.
There are several very wise points about your relationship with the child and his mother above I could not state better.

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