At two and a half, your child probably sleeps eight or nine hours a night and, possibly, another hour in an afternoon nap. Most children have dropped the last nap, but one-third of kids still enjoy an afternoon siesta up to age four or five.
If your child is still waking in the night, it's possible that her circadian rhythm hasn't been completely established. But it's more likely that some noise has disturbed her. Your child may wake when she hears you come home from your night class or because the dog barks. As much as possible, try to control the light and sound levels around your child's room.
If your child is no longer restrained in a crib, he may let you know when he's awake by suddenly appearing in the TV room. All you can do is gently take him back to bed. If your child tends to be a night wanderer, consider what dangers he might encounter unsupervised in another part of the house, take whatever precautions are necessary to keep your child safe.
Perhaps your child begins to sleepwalk, which can be alarming. No one knows why people sleepwalk. But if your child does, erect a few barriers to keep him safe. Put up a baby gate across the stairs or close his door -- the idea is to present an obstacle that would require his wide-awake skills to manipulate. It's a myth that you should never wake a sleepwalker, so if you happen to waken your child, don't make a big fuss. Just reassure him, tell him that he had been asleep, and return him to bed. Sometimes a little milk will help him doze off again.
For the majority of children, bedwetting is a temporary problem that will correct itself. Some parents try to control bedwetting by restricting the number of drinks a child has in the evening. Although reasonable restriction of bedtime drinks is helpful, refusing drinks before bedtime has no effect on bedwetting, and the refusal may just cause tension between you and your child.
Bedwetting doesn't stop until a child wakes himself up in time to make it to the bathroom. No child purposely sleeps through the urge to urinate in order to wet the bed. Some just develop reflex control later than others.
Some child-care experts suggest that parents not take a sleepy child to the bathroom if the child isn't fully awake when you carry her to the toilet, you may encourage the very thing you want to avoid -- urinating in her sleep.
Up to the age of five, approximately 15 per cent of children wet their bed during the night. Many more boys than girls wet their beds. Bedwetting may run in families. Bedwetting can be caused or made worse by stress. Events such as a move, changes in childcare, or the arrival of a new baby can trigger it. If it seems excessive, discuss the situation with your family doctor.
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