Sleep Cues

Do you often miss your child’s “tired” cues? If so, you’re not alone! It’s not always easy to identify when your child is tired, but there are some things to watch for. Here’s what you need to know in order to get your child to bed before she becomes overtired.

When looking for tired signs or cues, we often think of yawning and eye-rubbing. However, there are other signs we should be watching for as well. Periods of inactivity or ‘zoning out’, pulling on the ears, red eyes and many others to do with touching or rubbing the face often indicate your child is ready for a nap.

It’s easy to inadvertently miss some of these cues. If your child is rubbing or pulling, she’s most likely tired. Don’t wait for her to start yawning or you may miss that magic window of opportunity before she becomes overtired.

Often, a baby will go from cheerful to cranky in seconds! If you have a baby who’s good at hiding her tired signs, you’ve probably seen this often. Once a child reaches the overtired stage, she will usually become fussy or hyperactive. If your baby is arching her back in frustration, won’t sit still, or seems to go from giggles to tantrums and back again, it’s time for a nap.

If this happens daily, it’s time to keep a closer eye on her cues. Don’t wait for her to become overtired before putting her down for a snooze. Watch her closely and learn her language. Your baby or child will let you know when she’s tired, it’s up to you to be responsive and get her to bed before she gets too worked up to sleep.

If you’re unsure of your baby’s sleep cues, keep an eye on the clock as well. Make sure you know how much awake time she can handle between sleep.¹ If she’s calm and happy when nap time is approaching, and you’re not sure if she’s tired yet, it’s always better to get her to bed slightly early than too late. Once she’s at the overtired stage, getting her to fall asleep will be harder than if you had put her to bed while she was in a better mood.

¹ General guideline for awake time by age:

0-3 months – 45-75 minutes

3-6 months – 1.5-2 hours

6-9 months – 2-3 hours

9-12 months – 3+ hours

If you’re unsure about any aspect of your baby or child’s sleep, give me a call at 250-552-5080 for a free 15-minute consultation.

cloud 9 sleep consultingCertified Sleep Sense Consultant

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