My toddler won’t sleep ― What’s wrong?

Learn how to handle junior’s nightmares and sleepwalking issues, so you can reclaim your sleep, stat!


You hope devoutly that junior will now sleep like a log after you’ve dispensed with night feeds and even overcome bubba’s sleep regression. The reality check ― you’ll probably still face challenges getting your toddler to stay sleep through the night!

In fact, going through any major life changes may impact your mini-me’s sleep negatively. Needless to say, when your kiddo’s sleep is disrupted, yours is, too. Here’s how to manage your child’s…

1) Nightmares

WHAT It’s normal to have scary dreams, which could be causing your toddler’s a recurring sleep disruptions. It’s also why he scrambles over to sleep with you and your spouse in the middle of the night.

THE CAUSE Usually scary movies and shows or even violent news stories may trigger nightmares. Otherwise, your child might be unnerved by a major change he is experiencing at home — like a new sibling — or in school — like a bully or new school environment.

EXPERTS SAY You should make every effort to avoid or minimise your munchkin’s exposure to frightening stories, movies or shows, especially before bedtime. Thankfully, you can easily resolve these short and infrequent nightmares just by listening to him and offering reassurance as he falls back into a deep slumber. Gleneagles Hospital paediatrician Dr Jenny Tang advises, “If the child wants to talk about their nightmare, encourage them to come up with alternative endings that are happy or funny.” Asia Sleep Centre sleep specialist Dr Kenny Pang notes that talking to your child regularly about school and work helps him to relieve any emotional stress that he’s facing, thus reducing the likelihood of nightmares.

“If the child wants to talk about their nightmare, encourage them to come up with alternative endings that are happy or funny.”

2) Night terrors

WHAT During your child’s bout of night terror, you are woken up by sounds of your tyke’s frantic crying and screaming and upon rushing to his bedside, you see him seated in an upright position. And even though his eyes are wide open, he is actually still asleep; your questions are met with no response. There’s a look of agitation or panic on his face and his pyjamas is soaked with sweat. Rousing him while he’s still screaming, leaves him in a state of confusion and disorientation. And after a couple of minutes, your tyke falls back to sleep on his own. The next morning, he will have no memory of what has occurred last night. Children between 2 and 4 years of age are more likely to experience the condition, too.

Learn what could be causing your child’s night terrors and sleepwalking… Next!