This time of year it’s easy to miss a few hours of sleep here and there, especially when wrangling the holidays, the in-laws, and especially the little ones. When mom or dad miss a few good nights of sleep, we can be a little cranky or drowsy, but coffee can help with that, yet when a toddler is missing out on sleep and becomes overtired, the solution isn’t as easy. Let’s look at some signs that your child may be overtired and how you can help.
What Exactly Is “Overtired” When It Comes To Children?
Being “overtired” in young children, especially toddlers is a state of mild exhaustion or sleep deprivation, to put a fine point on it. It happens when a child is missing out on precious sleep by either skipping naps or not napping well or by being up too late during the night time, among other things. This is a common occurrence in toddlers and young children and is especially common during the busy holiday season when there are so many more distractions, parties, travel, general excitement, etc.
Know The Signs
So, how exactly can you tell that your child is overtired? Each child is different and their signs of overtiredness will be unique to them, but there are many general signs to be on the lookout for.
- General crankiness or foul mood.
- Meltdowns over things that normally wouldn’t trigger a meltdown.
- More enthusiastic meltdowns than normal.
- Hyperactivity and sporadic behavior .
- Increased clinginess and overall neediness .
- Increased acts of defiance, outside of the norm and a refusal to eat or drink what is offered even if they should be hungry.
- Consistent early morning wakings.
- Short naps or refusal of naps.
How You Can Help
When you are at your wits’ end and your toddler is throwing a grand mal tantrum, it can seem pretty hopeless, but do not fret! There are ways you can take control of the situation and help get your baby to sleep in no time. Here are some things you should focus on:
This is the perfect time to turn off any TV or music and all phones. If possible, take your toddler into a room or area that has no toys or play equipment. Turn down the lights and hold them and rock them until they calm down.
Make Sure Their Basic Bodily Needs Are Met
This seems basic, but it can be easy to overlook. Make sure that your overtired child isn’t hungry or thirsty. Try to give them a favorite snack or meal and some fresh water. If that isn’t the case, then check their diaper situation. They may be crying because they are uncomfortable and need a change. Try putting them into new, clean, soft bedclothes to help them get more in the mood for sleep time. Pop the pajamas into the dryer for 2 minutes to warm them up a tad as well.
Give Them A Quick Bath
A nice warm bath with some lavender scented soaps can do wonders for an overtired child! Once they are clean and dried and feeling the after bath relaxation vibes, then they will be much easier to put to sleep, even if it is the middle of the day.
Play White Noise On Your Phone Or Smart Speaker
Once you have your child in a new diaper, fresh pajamas, in a darkened, quiet room, it may be time to put some soothing sleep sounds on the speaker. You can use your phone, or smart home speaker or your favorite device and there are many great ones for free online. Here is a link to several good ones on YouTube you can use right now for absolutely free.
It is a great idea to be prepared for the holiday excitement this year. For any questions or help with establishing healthy sleep habits or sleep training, please contact us today to set up a free 15 minute phone consultation.
Have questions about your baby or parenting journey? Please reach out. We are here to help!