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Why is my almost 3 year old waking up 8 times in the night?

My DD is almost 3 years old. She has started waking up in the night almost every hour and half crying obnoxiously, only to go right back asleep as soon as we go in her room. It's VERY annoying. Sometimes I think she has a bad dream, other times she's cold. What can I do to stop this? Part of me thinks that she's doing it for attention? I'd like to just leave her, but she gets louder and louder until the whole house is awake. Any reasonable advice is appreciated. Thanks.

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Asked by JoyXtwo at 11:27 PM on Jul. 8, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 7 (159 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • If it's only been for a few nights, she could be coming down with something. Don't be harsh with her. I very much doubt she'd be doing it to be manipulative. It's possible she's been traumatized? Has anything been going on that might have upset her? Even jsut something she witnessed might have spooked her? Otherwise she may be getting new teeth that's causing pain? A sore throat?

    If she's like my kids, they always throw the covers off in the night and then get cold, so I just dress them so that they are appropriately warm without blankets and forget the bedcovers. Depending how cold it gets in the night where you are, a nice fleecy onsie thing that zips up and keeps her snug all night might do the trick?

    Answer by judimary at 11:31 PM on Jul. 8, 2011

  • Does she have all her teeth in yet? My son was a great sleeper until his back molars came in at about 33 months and all of a sudden he was waking up screaming all the time for about 2 weeks.

    Answer by hill_star03 at 11:31 PM on Jul. 8, 2011

  • It seems to have gotten progressively worse over a few weeks? Starting with once or twice, now it's peaked at all night long. She's been in bed now for 5.5 hours, and has already woke up 4 times crying, but not crying like tears, crying like a loud moaning/ whinning sound. Traumatized? No. Seeking attention from dad because he's been working alot lately, and often it's him going in? maybe Teeth? I have no idea. How many sets of molars are they supposed to have?

    Comment by JoyXtwo (original poster) at 11:42 PM on Jul. 8, 2011

  • Could be having bad dreams. Maybe buy her a "special" night light. Talk to her before bedtime. She also might be in a habit know so you need to let her cry some.

    Answer by Amr515 at 11:55 PM on Jul. 8, 2011

  • They have 20 baby teeth total and 8 molars. The very back molars are the worst and usually the very last to come in. Try rubbing orajel on her gums or giving her teething tablets before bed and see if it makes a difference.

    Answer by hill_star03 at 12:05 AM on Jul. 9, 2011

  • It sounds like night terrors, they aren't aware of anything and aren't really awake. I knwo when my kids were 3 that's when the nightmares started

    Answer by Zakysmommy at 12:07 AM on Jul. 9, 2011

  • I think I would talk to her and tell her that you will NOT be coming in (and MEAN it) and that if she wakes up she needs to close her eyes and go back to sleep.
    I think it's attention seeking (she wants her daddy) and becoming a bad habit.
    Kids this age aren't getting any more teeth so no need for medications.
    And I don't think it's night terrors... a child with night terrors doesn't wake 8 times/night... and they are not any happier when someone comes to them because they are still sleeping... they don't even know you are there, they will continue to scream their heads off with or without you.

    If she cries... LET her. Sorry to the rest of the sleepers but in the long run it will be better for everyone... and will likely only take 1 night for her to realize you really aren't coming in to visit in the middle of the night.


    Answer by AmiJanell at 12:48 PM on Jul. 9, 2011

  • cont...

    Also.... if she seems to be missing daddy... maybe they can spend some extra special time together and they could also make something special for her to sleep with... maybe a daddy pillow if she is missing him... she can wake up and give it a hug and know that she is fine.

    Answer by AmiJanell at 12:49 PM on Jul. 9, 2011

  • Geez, how can a child sleeping alone in a room decide she wants attention and wake up? Are you sleeping alone? Little kids sometimes wake up and are afraid they are alone so they wait to hear from you. When she feels safe she won't wake up anymore. Be patient. Ask your mom how many times you woke her up at that age.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:26 PM on Jul. 9, 2011

  • maybe something is really bothering her and she doesn't know how to let you know what is going on and she just needs your hugs and reassurance that everything will be OK

    Answer by Christmaslver68 at 7:13 AM on Jul. 11, 2011

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