Toddler post-nap storminess
July 7, 2014 11:56 PM Subscribe
I know that asking "Why is my toddler doing X?" is like shouting into the void, but perhaps you have some insight into why my toddler is suddenly having a hard time with waking up from a nap...
posted by judith to Human Relations (22 answers total)
I have an utterly delightful 22 month old who is in almost every way an easy-going and pleasant little human. We've been lucky - he's happy and healthy, very active, very verbal, and a lot of fun. We have a very solid routine, he eats well, and he sleeps solidly through the night (7:30pm - 6:30am). He's never had much interest in naps, unfortunately, and on most days we get between 40 and 45 minutes - for context, many toddlers at his age nap 2-3 hours/day.
For the past month or so, he's been waking up utterly furious from midday naps. It's clear that he doesn't know what's wrong. In all other things, he's very articulate, and has always been both very decisive and very clear about communicating his needs. In this instance, he genuinely doesn't know what's wrong or what might help make things better. The storm cloud usually lasts 15-20 minutes and then passes.
Things I've tried: going to him right away before he has the chance to wake up fully and start screaming, not going to him right away so he might go back to sleep, letting him cry it out in hopes he'll work through whatever it is on his own, cuddling, reading books, offering water/milk/frozen yogurt (a special treat), offering a favorite toy, offering a change of scenery (going upstairs/outside), putting on music, holding him while modeling deep breathing and talking about breathing and relaxing. Nothing works.
My main theory at this point is that he's just not getting enough rest from his too-short nap and his brain & body need some kind of release around that. After the storm passes, he's fine to go play and generally has a vigorous afternoon, a happy dinnertime and bath, and goes to bed easily and quickly.
+ The nap storm happens with whoever is around (myself or a childcare provider).
+ This never happens with morning wakeups - he reads books and/or chatters to himself in the crib until I come down.
+ He's very active physically - we get plenty of exercise every day with long walks and playground time.
+ He's not a particularly moody or sensitive little guy. He's definitely a toddler and testing boundaries and such, but he's not as dramatic as other toddlers we know, and he wasn't a particularly fussy baby, either.
+ We eat healthy, mostly organic food. Mostly protein and vegetables with some fruit, very little processed food. This does not seem to be a food sensitivity.
Any advice you can share would be most welcome, as it's hard to see my happy boy so miserable with no obvious way to help him through it.