Dear David Coleman: 'Why does our four-year-old wake up every night?'
Q We have a four-year-old boy who has always slept through the night, apart from the usual teething or sickness kids might get. However, since January he wakes up every single night, just for about 20 seconds. He gets up and checks that we are in the bedroom (we have to leave the landing light on) and he goes back to sleep straight away.
David replies: It does seem strange that he developed the habit of waking nightly to check on you, having been very settled in his sleep since he was a baby.
Sometimes understanding the reasons why a child's sleep may be disrupted can point in a direction for helping them to re-establish a more settled pattern.
But, even without knowing a reason, your son's disturbed sleep does not seem to be a big issue for him.
A very brief waking will not be overly disruptive to him, nor do you need to let it disrupt you, since he doesn't need your assistance to get back asleep. Possibly the most disturbing thing for you may be having to leave the landing light on, but it is very common for small children to develop fears of the dark and so it sounds like it is important for him.
You might like to get an eye mask like they have on planes, to give you the dark you need, while allowing him the light he needs to get the little bit of reassurance he seems to want.
Health & Living