The toddler years are a lovely time, and an opportunity for you to marvel at your child's growing independence. Toddlers can also be very trying, testing your patience day in, day out! Fortunately, a lot of their challenging behaviour is indicative that they need a little rest.
Watch for these eight signs to know when your little one might need to catch some z's!
1. They’re acting clingy
If you've got a little monkey who won't unwrap themselves from your leg, or is begging to be carried or cuddled, this is very often a sign that they're getting tired. Toddlers know when they're not feeling up to par, so hanging onto Mum or Dad seems a step in the direction of feeling better, in their eyes. Ease your clingy child down for a sleep sooner, rather than later, so they don't get overtired and hard to settle.
2. They want your attention
As your toddler starts to feel weary, you'll find them needing to be the focus of attention, more and more. This behavioural shift is a cue that your child needs to slow down and that nap time should be on the agenda. Perhaps you've spotted this behaviour during the world famous late afternoon "Witching Hour"?!
3. They’re not eating properly
When toddlers are tired, nothing seems quite right, and food is no exception. Kiddo fussing with food they normally love? Refusing it or throwing it or pushing it around their plate? Consider whether they're worn out and need a nap to recharge their batteries. You can try to feed them again later, when they're more alert.
4. They’re cross and grumpy
Perhaps nothing you do for your child is sitting right with them? Or they might be hyper-sensitive and impossible to deal with? Chances are they are overtired and need to be tucked up for some Zzzzzzzs.
Listen to Kinderling Conversation:
5. They’re yawning
This is an easy one, right?! It's also easy to ignore when things are busy and there are chores to do and errands to run. When your toddler begins to yawn, shift into nap planning mode. (And it goes without saying that you should watch out for toddlers who are heavy-lidded and on the verge of nodding off too!)
6. They’re unhappy
If your usually mild-mannered or curious child is finding everything WAY too hard - or is disinterested when they're usually adventurous - this may signal that they're overtired and need to be settled down and snuggled up.
7. They’re being testy
Toddlers grizzle for a number of reasons - and ONE of them is tiredness. If your little one is miserable and finding the world a challenge, look for other signs of sleepiness and consider if it's a good time for a kip.
8. The waterworks have started
Toddlers don't always cry because - or when - they're tired, but a LOT of the time it's a sure sign that they've had enough and need to have a nap and recharge. Plenty of cuddles and reassurance are the best response to a distressed toddler, obviously, followed by some gentle steps in the napping direction.
This article was originally published on Babyology.
When toddlers won’t sleep: 5 things we learnt from a child sleep expert
Think you'll claim your rest back after babyhood? Think again.
When does a toddler drop their day sleep?
Our Helpline expert Chris Minogue tells us what signs to watch out for.
5 ways to deal with sleep deprivation
Don’t pressure yourself to sleep when bub sleeps.
Middle child traits we bet you can spot in your second born
Middle child truths that all parents of three or more kiddos will know to be true.
Save those precious drops! 7 ways to raise little water warriors
Seven easy ways to teach our kids to conserve water.
Chinese New Year: Welcome to the Year of the Rat!
What to expect from babies born in the Year of the Rat.
Ewww! 6 weird (and kinda gross) ways kids show us their love
Kids show their love in the weirdest of ways!
Is your child "tired and wired"? This might be why
The little-known way getting up after bedtime can sabotage your kids’ sleep.