Sleep and your child: zero to six years

When your child wakes at night

Night waking is normal for babies and young children. Often they just need to know you are close by so they can settle back to sleep.

Sometimes it can be due to pain such as earache, a cold or teething - so check for this if your child does not usually wake at night.

With pain, your child may not settle even if you try to comfort them, or they might settle for a short time and then wake again.

Even though it’s normal for your young child to wake at night, it can mean broken sleep for you - which can add stress to family life.

Find a way to deal with night waking in a way that meets your child’s need for comfort and gives you the best possible rest. 

Most parents say that one of the greatest needs they have with small children is the need for sleep.

Don't be ashamed to ask for help from your partner, family, friends or a community agency to get you through the times when your sleep is reduced or broken.

If you feel that you might hurt your child make sure they are in a safe place and leave until you have calmed down.

Contact someone immediately if you feel unable to manage.

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Last updated: 11 March 2016

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