Face it: Nobody likes being woken from a nap, but waking your toddler is sometimes a necessary evil that can cause anything from crankiness to full-scale wailing. Waking your toddler from his nap gradually will create less havoc than letting him sleep another 15 extra minutes and waking him quickly.
1. Low-light Snuggles
He'll never look more huggable than when he's sleeping. Crack the blinds no more than an inch and hop into bed with your child for a wake-up snuggle. Press your cheek into his and gently brush his hair or stroke his arm. Whisper his name and tell him, "it's time to wake up." Give your child 10 to 15 minutes to wake up in your arms as you gradually work toward sitting up and leaving the bed together. This solution works best for kids who prefer snuggling and touching to talking when they wake up.
2. Wake-Up Song
Songs are useful for almost every setting involving a young child, including waking him from a nap. Open the blinds a few inches and sit on your child's bed as you sing the wake-up song. Keep the lyrics gentle, but upbeat. Encourage your little one to join in on the last few verses. This method works best for kids who love music and who don't mind talking or singing as soon as they wake up.
3. Quiet Tinkering
For some kids, being woken with touch and talking makes the whole experience of being woken worse. For these sensitive tykes, enter the room and, without saying a word, begin performing tasks that naturally produce gentle sounds. For example, open and close your child's drawers to deposit clean clothing or hang clothing on hangers. The sound of opening drawers and softly clinking hangers will create just enough noise to rouse your little one from a deep sleep. Give him several minutes to wake up before you greet his sleepy face.
4. Gradual Noise and Light
Use a white-noise machine to stir your child from a deep sleep and open the window shades a few inches every 2 minutes. Each time you open the shades, change the noise maker to a more energetic sound selection. For example, if your child sleeps with his white noise machine set on ocean waves, change the setting to rain storm, and eventually tropical rainforest. By coinciding the gradual increase in sound with the gradual increase in brightness, you'll help your little one wake up peacefully.
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images