Why is My Toddler Not Sleeping Through the Night

Extended bedtime rituals, untimely readings, night-time awakenings: a child's sleep is not a restful one! And with good reason: at night, many things are played in the child's home. Here is a global explanation of what happens!

Teething, hunger, dirty diapers: all these genes that disturb the nights of infants disappear as soon as the baby grows up. However, the sleep of older children is not always restful either. And with good reason.

"Going through the night is an ordeal for him, because it involves many things: a separation from his family for long hours, learning the ability to be alone, a dive into the dark with the anxiety that this can cause, the experience of his omnipotence, of what he can get from his parents at that time," explains Lyliane Nemet-Pier, clinical psychologist.

The enemies of the child's sleep

Thus in children, the enemies of sleep are more psycho-affective than environmental or organic.

Emotional insecurity, the inability to be alone

To overcome this ordeal of the night, the child must indeed be armed with sufficient emotional security. "It is by learning, during the day, to stay a little alone, to get a little bored that the child will be able to face the night: he gradually manages to be well out of arms, in his bed, to play without the adult, first in the same room, then to bear, as he grows older, not to see him for a few minutes, and longer and longer, without anxiety", explains the psychologist.

The lack of contact

"It is important that a child is filled with enough good quality exchanges with his parents to be able to get into the night," insists the psychologist.

The child fights limits

In the middle of a period of psychological construction and opposition, bedtime is the time for the child to measure his omnipotence. "A child king during the day will be a child king at night too", the psychologist summarizes.

Fear of the dark

As the child's psychic and imaginary life develops, around the age of 2, he projects all sorts of fears into the dark: of the wolf, of the monster under the bed, of the spider on the ceiling, of the witch in the wardrobe. "At this age, the child has a very intense impulsive life. His impulses dominate him, frighten him. In the evening, he projects in the dark these monsters which are in him", analyses Lyliane Nemet-Pier.

Life events

Birth of a little brother, entering school, mourning in the family... life events can have repercussions on the child's sleep. "And this is true whether or not it is said to the child," insists the psychologist. Anything that affects his parents, the child will feel it."

The lack of regularity

Like the baby and the adult, the child needs regularity for his bedtime. These markers make him feel secure and help synchronize his biological clock.

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