The definition of the word Mole is A small burrowing mammal. There is one, disguised as your toddler, living in your house. Don’t you believe me? Look in their bed!
Your little one is just a mole—a small burrowing mammal. The toddler of the house insists on sleeping with his or her head under whatever is available. Under a pillow, under a blanket, whatever gets in the way. They are ‘burrowing’ in their sleep! Those cute little moles!
You may have tried some preventative measures just to make certain they don’t suffocate at night. But still, they burrow.
Why do they do it? Is it normal? Is it healthy? Will they do it all their lives? Will they want to up-root the backyard? Easy there, my concerned parent. We are going to handle the burrowing issue like we do all the others—a bit of information, a few tips, and some fun.
Hopefully, we can better understand the issue of a toddler sleeping under the covers. Or whatever is available. Don’t call the mole exterminator just yet!
Why Do Toddlers Burrow?
An infant will ‘burrow’ up under his blanket or pillow to try and re-create the ‘in the womb’ feeling. They simply want to be enclosed in their tiny world. It’s where they feel the safest—the same as they were when they were in the womb.
In a toddler, it is an asleep reflex to feel secure. They, too, want to be back in the womb, and being in a deep sleep allows them the opportunity to find the ‘magic place.’
Being asleep, burrower is normal. Like most other phases, it will pass. Children who burrow often become those types of children who develop a fear of the dark. Being under something allows them to ‘hide’ from the monster in the dark.
Can Burrowing Cause Them Harm?
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS, as it’s called, is the result of a child who ‘suddenly’ stops breathing and suffocates to death. It is perhaps the most horror a parent can endure. The sudden loss of a child is something no one should ever have to encounter.
The parent of a burrowing child has a fear of them dying from SIDS. And rightly so. The chance of one of these children suffocating is greatly enhanced. However, there is no supporting evidence to prove the burrowing child is in any harm. But parents being parents will worry about the possibility of suffocation.
Become proactive, and do some awesome parenting.
Ask Them Why They Burrow
When the burrowing rises to the top of your worry list, try some parent-toddler communication. When you spend those few precious moments with them at bedtime, quiz them about their sleep habits. Sometimes all you have to do is ask!
If you ask, and you don’t get a reply or the reply, you were looking to try some more talking. Let them know you are concerned about how they sleep. Also, ask them if they would please sleep like mommy and daddy. On top of the covers head exposed.
If you take some time and get a bit creative, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish with your toddler.
Change Out Blankets and Pillows
If the burrowing is of real concern, change up their bed covers the situation. Choose a lighter weight blanket. One a bit less thick will be more breathable. Try and find them a blanket with the satin trim. The satin is ‘slick’ and is more apt to fall away or ‘slide’ away from their face.
Also, re-think their pillow. If their pillow has a lot of flat surface to it, change it out. Buy them a pillow with a more rounded shape. If the pillow is shaped more like a ball than a sheet of something, they can’t seek refuge up under it as it ‘rolls away’ when they try.
Also, limit the number of items such as stuffed animals or any type of bedtime buddy, which could end up on top of them.
Good Sleep Habits
Start teaching your toddler how to sleep. It can be done. It all starts with you. Start a good healthy pre-bedtime/bedtime routine.
Encourage your toddler to prepare his or her bed or crib by removing all, but maybe one stuffed animal. Show me a child without a zoo of stuffed animals, and I will show you a leprechaun. Neither exists.
After all of the breathing traps are removed, start encouraging them to fall asleep on their back. If they are on their back, they have to flip completely over to start burrowing. All of the flipping over action is less likely they will begin to burrow. If on their stomachs, they are in the ready to burrow position.
These two actions keep their sleeping area danger free and their sleeping position less likely to cause any damage. It may take some time, so again be creative.
Keep an Eye Out
You can purchase a video monitoring system for their room so you can check-in from time to time.
These small single camera systems are very user/budget-friendly. Plus, you may find out exactly what’s causing them to burrow. One night of ‘watching’ them may solve the whole borrowing burden.
Also, consider installing some audio alongside the video. The system you choose may or may not have audio. Perhaps if there were some way you could comfort them from your room, the sound of your voice might cause them to react to the burrowing. They may take to looking for mom’s voice rather than digging to China.
So we have learned your toddler is a rodent. Right? Well, maybe a cute one. But they want to be ‘under’ something is just their way of wanting to be closer to mom. And it should pass with time as do most phases.
When you get finished filling in those holes in the back yard, give them some love and affection.