Stages of Toddler Tiredness

It has always boggled my mind that my kids can be so exhausted that they can hardly stay on their feet, and yet they will fight going to bed with every fiber of their being.Design

As an adult, if I’m tired, I go to sleep. End of story.

But kids seem to go through a completely different process when tired. And here’s what I have observed as the stages of tired for toddlers.

Stage 1: I’m a little tired and sensitive.

This first stage is when your child may be just a little off for the day. She might be crabby or short with you. Or maybe she is more sensitive than normal. But it isn’t disruptive to your routine and is really more of an annoyance than anything. This stage typically can be handled with a good nap or a slightly earlier bedtime.

Stage 2: I’m sweet and tired and I want to cuddle.

This is by far the best stage: not only as far as sleep goes but just in general. This is when your child just wants to watch shows or movies and snuggle up with stuffed animals or the dog or, even better, you!

Embrace this stage with every fiber of your being. Enjoy all those sweet cuddles while you can and then as fast as you can, whisk that kid into bed because if you wait too long, the next stage is a doozy!

Stage 3: I’m so tired that I’m just going to argue with you about EVERYTHING!

This stage is pretty brutal. Your child is just too exhausted to deal with anything that daily life has to offer, and he becomes a tiny, angry, cynical monster. “Would you like cereal for breakfast?” – “NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!” “Please go potty before we leave.” – “WWWWHHHHYYYYYY!?!?!?!?”

This stage usually quickly progresses into Stage 2.5 which escalates from the arguing stage to the throwing himself on the floor and/or slamming doors stage.  Stage 2.5 can be life threatening for both the toddler and parent.

Stage 4: Crying.

At this point your child is beyond exhaustion and will now cry for extended periods of time with little or no break. In the midst of this stage, you may ask your child, “Why are you crying?” but that is like asking the cat to read Shakespeare. No amount of consoling or bargaining or bribing will stop the crying for anything more than a few minutes, and at this point you start longing for the arguing stage to return.

Stage 5: Narcolepsy.

Finally, your child is just too tired to fight it any longer and will fall asleep no matter how inappropriate the circumstance. She will drop face first into a plate of spaghetti. No need to climb into bed, this spot of the wood floor will do just fine.  What’s that? I can’t hear you because I’m too busy sleeping in the shopping cart.

And although this stage is wonderful and finally puts an end to the crying, you just hope that it hits around bedtime because there is no stopping it!

So, good luck to all the parents with tired toddlers! Especially those in stages 3 and 4!!

Cheers – Emily

Check out more of my writing on my blog or on Facebook: Please Send More Wine. Instagram :@pleasesendmorewine Twitter: @plssendmorewine


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