Recognising the signs of tiredness in toddlers and babies; a short guide


It can be difficult to recognise when babies or toddlers are tired, as we may not know what to look for and it can be hard to deduce a reason for their crying. Furthermore, when babies and toddlers get overtired, they find it harder to get to sleep. Thus it is vital to be able to spot the signs of tiredness so that you are able to settle your child to sleep before they get overtired.

Some of the tell-tale signs of tiredness in a newborn baby are;

  • pulling at ears
  • closing fists
  • yawning
  • fluttering eyelids or difficulty focusing, going cross-eyed or staring into space
  • making jerky arm and leg movements, or arching backwards
  • frowning or looking worried
  • sucking on fingers

At the age of 3 – 6 months, a baby might be tired after being awake for 1.5 – 3 hours.

At the age of 6 – 12 months, a baby might be tired after being awake for 2 – 3 hours.

At the age of 12 – 18 months, a baby might be tired if they miss their morning or afternoon nap.

Some of the tell-tale signs of tiredness in a baby or toddler are;

  • clumsiness
  • clinginess
  • grizzling or crying
  • demands for constant attention
  • boredom with toys
  • fussiness with food.

 The Wishing Well foundation

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families. The Wishing Well recognises the importance of the act of giving. We recognise the significance of the participation of community members and all donations are most appreciated.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment.

Support the Wishing Well

The Wishing Well uses its funds to help children in need access all manners of developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments. The Wishing Well takes referrals for any child/young person in out-of-home care in NSW.  Applications are assessed by qualified personnel and on a case-by-case basis.  The decision to fund an application is affected by the following:

  • Funding availability
  • The support the child/young person has to access the proposed therapies
  • The capacity and willingness of the Carer Household to support the child/young person
  • Assessment, which recommends and supports the proposed therapy as relevant to meeting the particular needs of the child/young person

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Money donated to The Wishing Well enables traumatised children access to healing therapies. Please see our website for more information:


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