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How to manage a child who cries during the nights?

Q: I have a 2 1/2 yr old son. When he sleeps at night around 10 - 10.30 p.m he gets up around 5 - 6 times and cries until he is tapped to sleep or carried in arms. Initially when he was an infant I thought that some children do get up during the nights but this habit still persists. On some days - say about twice - thrice a week he sleeps well. We do not give him milk in the night since we thought it must be affecting his digestion and disturbing his sleep. I do not understand why this problem still happens. He wakes up early say around 7.00 - 7.30 a.m. On rare occassions, he sleeps upto 8.00. Is this sleep enoug. He sleeps for 2 hrs in the afternoons.He has a very poor appetite and screams / yells on the slightest provocation. He is the only child among 5 adults in the family. I let things go bye and presumed that he was being pampered a lot but I have now begun to worry since he continues the same way. He is still only 10 kgs in wt - eats the same amount that he used to when he was 1 yr.Does not want to drink water after much of coaxing does he drink a sip. Will it affect his health.Since he was one yr old, he used to say a few words like dada, mama, and so on. He is stuck to that with around 20 - 25 words now. I have put him to a play group for 1 1/2 hrs a day for the past 3 months now but no improvement in his talking yet. He tries to say many things but we cannot understand. Could you help out. What other strengthening food could I give him to put on some weight. I am a working mother and cannot devote enough time to him - much as I would have liked to - since I come home very late.

A:The last two lines of your query are the most significant. I think the fact that you are not able to give your child enough time is resulting in a guilt feeling. This has led to anxiety about the well-being of your child. From what you describe your child is otherwise healthy and active. Only his eating and other habits are incorrect. This is a common with children who are left with other care-givers. You need to spend more time with the child and get him into normal, spaced out eating schedule. If you talk to him, read him stories, encourage him to talk to you, his speech will develop. Rest of all cut your anxiety. Your child is ok.

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