Toddler Sleeping Concerns
Sleep, or lack of, can be a big issue in the baby and toddler years – especially for worn out parents! However, there are things that you can do to help your toddler, and you, get a good night’s sleep.
Dealing with toddler sleep issues can be difficult and frustrating for a tired parent. The key is to identify the cause of your toddler sleeping problems, which will then help you to deal with them effectively, with a minimum of stress. Let’s look at some of the common sleep problems in children, and the potential child sleep solutions:
COMMON TODDLER SLEEP PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS
Your toddler doesn’t want to go to bed
If your toddler doesn’t seem tired at bedtime, consider how much sleep they’re getting during the day. It might be time to drop a nap or reduce their nap times. Most toddlers are ready to drop one of their daily two-hour naps before they reach their second birthday.
If your child still seems to need their daytime naps, they might just need some help to wind down before bedtime. Ensure they get some quiet time at the end of the day, with no electronics, screen time or energetic games for at least two hours before bed. A warm bath or cup of warm milk can also help your toddler to feel relaxed and calm.
If your toddler seems tired but just doesn’t like going to bed, a good bedtime routine should make it a time of day to look forward to. Sharing stories and songs while snuggled down in cozy pajamas is a lovely way to end their day.
Your toddler won’t stay in their bed
If your toddler goes to bed ok but refuses to stay there, try to make their bedroom as appealing a place as possible. Make sure that their mattress and bedding are soft and comfortable, and perhaps decorate their room in a theme you know they’ll love.
Take your toddler to the toilet before bed and leave a sippy cup of water within reach. They might also like to sleep with a favorite soft toy or comforter.
If your toddler has everything he needs but still keeps getting out of bed, simply keep taking him back with as little fuss as possible.
Your toddler won’t sleep alone
If your toddler is happy to sleep but wants you to be there, talk to them about any fears or worries that they might have about sleeping alone. Leave a nightlight on (perhaps choose one that projects stars or a comforting colored light) and make sure that they have their favorite comforter with them.
Don’t try to sneak out of your child’s room once they’re asleep. A better method is to reward them for staying in their own bed. The UK National Health Service recommends returning to give your child a kiss at regular intervals, for as long as they stay in bed (until they fall asleep). If they get out of bed, reward them for going back to their bed with a kiss.
More tips for toddler sleeping problems
If your child complains of being hungry at bedtime, give them a simple late supper such as sugar-free cereal and milk, or toast.
Remain consistent in your approach to bedtime, and keep the bedtime routine as fixed as possible.
If you do need to deal with your child after bedtime, try to be as boring as possible. Leave the lights off (or dimmed) and avoid eye contact.
Don’t reward your child by letting them watch TV, or bringing them into your bed for the night.Save the rewards for when your child has slept in their own bed all night. Some parents like to use star charts or stickers, letting their child ‘save up’ for a bigger treat after perhaps a week of good nights.
Opinions on co-sleeping with a toddler differ. If this is something you’re considering, ask your doctor for advice. Note that you should never share a bed with a baby under one year old due to the increased risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
Be patient. It can take time and, above all, consistency, to see results when dealing with sleep problems in children. Sleeping problems in children are common, but a lack of sleep can lead to tired, irritable toddlers and parents! Encourage your child to sleep well in their own room and you’ll both feel better rested and much brighter the next day.
Genuine ongoing toddler insomnia is rare, but if nothing you do seems to help your child get a good night’s sleep, talk to your doctor.
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