What do preschool-aged children do when they wake at night: Toward an understanding of night-waking behaviors among community children.


Little is known about behaviors displayed by preschoolers during night-waking. Mothers (N = 203) of community preschoolers completed the Children’s Night-waking Behavior Scale and measures of night-waking, co-sleeping, and daytime behavior. Approximately 1/2 of wakings involved calling out, getting out of bed, and requests for comfort; 1/4 involved activity, fear, or instrumental requests. Specific associations between night-waking behaviors, night-waking, and bedtime and daytime behaviors were observed; associations were not consistent across child gender and age. For example, comfort requests were associated with mothers’ perceptions of sleep as problematic in 4- and 5-year-old children only ( = .42); activity requests were associated with hyperactivity for boys only (r = .36). Understanding night-waking requires consideration of factors beyond parenting, such as children’s behavior, age, and gender.