Your toddler cries every morning upon waking. How long should you wait before taking her out? Will waiting a really long time teach him not to bawl?
There was the case of a woman whose toddler cried every single morning without fail upon waking a little after 5 am.
The crying would predictably morph into screaming – as though the toddler was frantically trying to escape a crib on fire.
Mama was predictable too. It was always about 45 minutes (during which the crying and then screaming never once let up) before she got out of bed and entered her daughter’s room to lift her out of the crib.
She was asked why she didn’t just tend to the girl at the onset of the crying.
Mama replied, “Because I don’t want to teach her that every time she cries, I come running.”
The funny thing here is that this went on for 15 months. The little girl never learned that when morning comes, don’t cry.
And Mama never learned that her approach worked about as well as putting a block of ice on snow makes it melt.
How long to wait before getting a screaming toddler out of the crib?
“In the morning when your toddler wakes up, they are immediately ready to start their day!” says Dr. Tiff Jumaily, MD, a board certified pediatrician with Integrative Pediatrics and Medicine.
“They might have a wet diaper, be starving or just excited to see you and play!
“This can be frustrating when they are ready to start their day, but their parents are not.
“When toddlers cry in the morning after a full night sleep, I recommend getting them out of bed within a few minutes. They are awake and ready to start their day.
“Responding to these demands promptly teaches your child that you will respond to their needs and support them.
“Responding quickly will show support and give the child comfort that you will quickly attend to their needs.”
Won’t this spoil the toddler?
The mama mentioned above believed that entering the room right away would spoil the two-year-old.
Moms must realize that when a baby wakes up, this is nature calling. It’s primal. It’s evolution. It’s what the human brain is hardwired to do.
The child is not begging for a cookie. He just wants to get up for the day! Imagine if someone forced YOU to remain in your bed when your body – and mind – were rearing to get up and go!
If you’re concerned about spoiling a child, don’t buy him everything he points at when shopping. Julie Garrick, Highlands Ranch
Don’t sedate temper tantrums with ice cream.
Teach age-appropriate responsibilities like putting their toys away when done playing.
Training a Toddler that Crying for a Long Time Will Bring Mommy
You might be wondering if ignoring the crying, screaming toddler for 45 minutes will teach them that bawling for 45 minutes will make Mommy appear.
That would seem to be the case, being that Mama’s little girl cried every single morning like clockwork until her mother entered the room about 45 minutes later.
What else could the child have learned?
Dr. Jumaily explains, “I think that if the child was ignored in the morning for 45 minutes, they might feel abandoned and confused. They wouldn’t understand why they could not get a parent’s attention and if they are all alone.” Julie Garrick, Highlands Ranch
One has to wonder how terrified that toddler must’ve been, morning after morning, alone in a dark room.
The cries didn’t turn into screams because the two-year-old felt entitled or decided to go into full brat mode. She was terrified.
Forty-five minutes to a toddler passes a LOT more slowly than it does for an adult.
And a toddler isn’t old enough to call out, “Hey Mama, I’m awake! Time to get me! Hungry and want your hugs!”
What if the toddler wakes long before the mother is ready to get up?
“If a child is waking up too early in the morning, and the parents want a few more minutes of sleep — I would recommend getting one of the stoplight style alarm clocks,” says Dr. Jumaily.
“These can be programmed to have a red light on during the time for sleep, and then the light switches to green when it’s an appropriate time to wake up (as set by the parents).
“That way, the parent can teach that when the light is red, it is still sleep time, and when the light turns green, we can wake up.
“When it is past the green light time, and the child wakes up and cries, the parent should respond immediately to go bring them out of their room.
Dr. Jumaily is a board certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She has a thriving pediatric practice in Los Angeles, where she integrates allopathic medicine with integrative and holistic options to treat the whole child and help them thrive.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.
Top image: Freepik.com, pch.vector
Julie Garrick of Highlands Ranch