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Preschooler crying in middle of the night


My 3-year-old daughter wakes up at least four nights a week and cries for hours despite my efforts to comfort her. Her pediatrician says to ignore the behavior, but that isn’t working either.


crying little girl

Since your daughter does not cry every night of the week, look for contrasts between those nights and the ones in which she wakes and cries. Try teaching her what to do when she wakes up. Be creative. Provide ​her with a flashlight so she can look at books in bed, or offer her a wind-up toy in bed that plays soft music.

Perhaps a sippy cup of water would be helpful. She could also bring a favorite stuffed toy or blanket with her to bed. Whatever idea you suggest, just make sure that it does not require her to leave her bed.  

By teaching her coping practices that she can use rather than relying on you for comfort, she is less likely to cry and scream for hours. The book “Sleep Fairy” is very effective with helping children stay in bed and pacify themselves.