When it's time to rouse a sleeping toddler, make a gentle wake-up call.

How to Wake Up Toddlers From a Nap

by Kathryn Hatter

When the alarm goes off in the morning, most adults know that it’s time to hit the ground running. Waking a toddler up from a nap, though, is a whole different story. If she's been sleeping too long, you might need to rouse your toddler – but easy does it. Little people don’t take kindly to transitions, and asleep-to-awake can be one of the toughest for them to get through. Ease a toddler out of a nap to take control of a sleep schedule.

Turn on the light and open the shades to change the amount of light in the room where your little one is sleeping.

Strike up a conversation to rouse your toddler from her nap. Keep your vocal tone normal – no hushed whispers, and no yelling. You might call your toddler's name gently and say something like, "Annie, it's time to wake up, sleepyhead."

Sit on the edge of your tot’s bed and rub his back to help him move to a wide-awake state without being cranky and sour.

Talk about an activity you have planned for the day that your toddler can anticipate. Whether it’s a trip to the park, a stop at the mall or a visit from Grandma, it will be easier for your toddler to wake up if she can look forward to something.

Move on to full awake mode with activities that will wake up your toddler's little mind and get him busy. Start with a snack and a drink and then try reading a book, coloring a picture or playing a game.


  • The authors of "The Encyclopedia of Infant and Toddler Activities" recommend that a wake-up routine should be as pleasant and relaxing as a sleep routine. No one likes a jolt out of sound sleep to wake up, toddlers included. Your little one will be happier and she'll adjust to the transition more readily if you move slowly to wake up your little one.


  • The Encyclopedia of Infant and Toddler Activities; Kathy Charner, et al.
  • Simple Transitions for Infants and Toddlers; Karen Miller

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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