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Waking up after a recent illness

Resource Type

Parent Handouts and Info - Parent


Discusses the common infant/toddler sleep problem of waking at night after a recent illness, and how to manage this problem.


All Ages

Age Groups

Infancy (<1), Toddlerhood (1-3)

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Waking up after a recent illness

Waking up after a recent illness

When your child is sick, you probably get in the habit of checking him more often at night. Over that time, your child grows more sensitive to any worry in your face. Your facial expressions can bring stress to your child and can cause him to sleep less soundly than he would if you looked calmer. To help your child sleep through the night after an illness, you can try to:

  • Calm Down. If one parent is able to appear calmer than the other one, the calm parent should put the child to bed.
  • Keep at a Distance If your child wakes up while you are checking on her, wait 5 minutes for her to settle down on her own. If that does not happen, comfort her for a short time. Try not to talk to her or touch her too much while you check on her at night. Try not to feed her or pick her up.

If you stay calm and do not interact with her too much, this kind of waking up should stop in less than a week.

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