Why Do Toddlers Cry When They Wake Up? 7 Major Reasons!

There are many reasons why toddlers cry when they wake up. It could be due to a bad dream, separation anxiety, or teething pain. It’s also common for toddlers to cry when they wake up because they are hungry or need a diaper change.

It’s so frustrating, isn’t it? As parents, it’s normal for us to get frustrated sometimes.

If your toddler is crying when they wake up, try to figure out what the cause is. If they seem to be in pain, give them some pain relief medication. If they are hungry, give them a snack or drink. If they are dirty, change their diaper.

Most importantly, try to comfort your toddler and let them know that you are there for them.

Let’s take a look at the 7 major reasons for the questions: why do toddlers cry when they wake up from a nap or when they wake up in the morning?

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Cute newborn baby crying on a bed.

7 Common Reasons why Toddlers Cry When They Wake Up

The reasons are the following:

1. Hungry

One of the major and common reasons for babies crying at night is because they are hungry. During these transition times, toddlers may wake up 4-5 times a night which is normal. Babies have a short nap and eat after a few intervals.

2. Nightmares or Bad Dreams

Another reason could be dreams, toddlers do not understand what dreams are, bad or good. When they experience a good dream they usually smile and when they experience a bad one, they often wake up crying, which is completely normal.

A night terror is also known as a sleep terror, and it can last for a few seconds or even minutes. Around 40 percent of children suffer from night terrors, while the percentage of adults suffering from them is much lower.

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Young father taking care of crying baby

3. Feeling Uncomfortable

Sometimes, when a toddler wakes up crying, he or she may be in discomfort. The baby may feel uncomfortable if he sleeps in a poopy diaper, too-hot or too-cold room, or a pee-soaked fitted crib sheet.

4. The baby might be in pain

Toddlers cry also when they are in pain. It is common for toddlers to wake up crying from pain in the middle of the night, for example, ear infections. You can check for fever and other indicators of illness, such as congestion or complaints of pain.

5. Just wants a hug maybe!

Crying is a good way to receive attention and extra hugs since babies need lots of cuddling and physical contact. Babies cry when you are not around.

6. Wet Or Soiled Diaper

Wet diapers are another common reason for them to cry when they wake up. Or you can say they wake up because of the wet diaper. To ensure your baby’s diapers are clean and dry, check them frequently.

7. Lack Of Consistent Sleep Schedule

Changing the baby’s normal schedule can cause overtiredness, which can result in night wakings or difficulty falling asleep. There is no need to plan out every minute of your baby’s day, but a consistent schedule can help them. 

When your baby sleeps enough at night and during naps, he or she can stay alert during the day for things that require attention, such as being able to fall asleep and stay asleep at night.

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Tired mother with eye band trying to sleep while little toddler crying on bed. Angry baby boy crying and trying to wake mother. Stressed mother trying to take a nap with her child.

Here are some FAQ’s on the same topic.

Why Do Toddlers Cry In Their Sleep?

The sound of a newborn baby crying can be extremely stressful for parents, especially at nighttime. Crying babies have many reasons, some of which include the position in which the baby is forced to sleep which makes him or her uncomfortable. As a parent, you must ensure that the baby is sleeping in the correct position before leaving a room.

While sleeping, a baby might cry while experiencing a nightmare or night terror as he or she learns how to express themselves. Toddlers and older babies who cry when they are asleep, especially when they move in bed or make other sounds, might have night terrors.

Toddlers cry or call out in the middle of the night, but they usually calm down when their parents enter the room. During this time, children experience separation anxiety, a normal stage of development.

Why Do Toddlers Cry When They Are Tired?

Crying is one of the most common actions of a baby. Their behavior is a way to communicate and to signal that you need to correct any problems or discomfort they may be experiencing. They are observing the world with a very limited understanding of what’s going on. 

Whenever a child gets tired, exploring desires interfere with nature calling for a nap. Due to the child’s lack of cognitive development, he isn’t able to understand what tiredness is nor why they feel tired. In this way, two forces alternate, which frustrates the child and prevents them from continuing their sensory desires. And as a result, the toddler cries.

When a baby is crying, it tells us that naptime was too short and he or she needs more sleep. During this time, we should assist babies with the process of consolidating their nap by progressing into their next sleep cycle.

Why Do Toddlers Cry More Around Their Mom?

Toddlers cry more around their mothers because they want your attention. AccKaren Dudley, a child-development specialist at UCLA, says it is comfortable for babies to express how they feel around their mother (as a first primary caregiver). Toddlers believe that the mom will make things better, so they trust them and can express how they feel.

Although your child may feel more at ease whining around you, this also means they feel safest in your presence. They are comfortable telling you how they feel, whether they are laughing or crying.

Your toddler cries more around mothers because his brain is developing. As your toddler gets older, he or she becomes more aware of how you respond to their actions, which can also create a feeling of safety around you.

Why Do Toddlers Cry When They See A Certain Person?

There is an attachment between a baby and its mother that causes a toddler to cry when they see a certain person. According to Webb, an attached baby may cry with others or with anyone but their mom. It’s common for babies to see their primary caregiver as their “home base,” and they feel more comfortable exploring the world when they’re with their parents.

Stranger anxiety is one of your baby’s first emotional milestones. The toddler will become very clingy and anxious around new people and even if the person is familiar, will cry if they suddenly see a stranger. 

If your child is ill, tired, or hungry, she may also feel more anxious around new people. You should always keep this in mind when you are around new people and don’t be offended or embarrassed when he or she cries in someone else’s arms. You should take back the baby, hold him/her again and calm him or her down.

The phase of doing this is normal in your baby’s life because it allows your baby to process their feelings. 


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