Tips for getting your toddler to bed
The majority of parents have struggled to get their toddler to sleep at some point. Some people suffer with it every night.
According to several studies, one of the issues may be that your child’s bedtime is not in line with their internal body clock or circadian rhythm, which is a natural rhythm cycle.
Is your child taking four-hour power naps during the day but still waking up at night? If so, you need to help him shift his schedule so he does most of his sleeping at the right time – at night.
The experts agree that you need to readjust his clock by waking him from his naps for playtime, by making sure he doesn’t snooze too late in the afternoon, and by keeping his room dark at night and light during the day.
Toddlers require 11 to 14 hours of sleep every day. Typically, this entails sleeping for 10 to 12 hours at night and taking a short nap during the day.
Toddlers modify their sleep patterns significantly at this age as they develop quickly. For instance, it may appear that children struggle, at least occasionally, to fall asleep, stay asleep, or sleep through the night. Additionally, toddlers enjoy exercising their independence, making it difficult to put them to bed in the first place.
Once you become aware of your child’s signals of fatigue, you can put them to sleep before irritability sets in. Many toddlers will find it much easier to settle and sleep if they have a firm and regular bedtime routine.
Use morning light
Bright light in the morning will help your toddler to wake earlier and go to bed earlier. Take your toddler outside in the mornings or buy a light box and set it to turn on about 30 minutes before you want your child to wake up.
Avoid electronics before bed
Blue light from electronics can keep children from sleeping, so it’s best to turn off all televisions, computers or other electronic devices at least 90 minutes before bedtime. Also, use night lights or lamps instead of overhead lights.
Adjust bedtime incrementally
If you’re putting your toddler to sleep at seven and he’s not going to sleep until nine, you’re going to have problems. Start by delaying your child’s bedtime to match his rhythm, then move it up 15 minutes at a time until you reach the desired bedtime.
Keep your child on a regular sleep schedule
Sometimes parents let their toddler stay up late on weekends or during other periods of time off, in the hope that the child will sleep late in the morning. However, this isn’t a good idea because your child’s circadian rhythm may adjust to the later hours creating problems when you go back to their regular schedule.
Create a sleepable environment
Make sure the bedroom environment is quiet, cool, dark and comfortable for sleeping. A nightlight or area light on the very lowest dimmer setting is fine. Playing soft, soothing music or sound machines is fine. Remember to reserve the bed for sleeping only – it should not be used as a platform for playing.
Limit food and drink
Limit food and drink (especially any drinks containing caffeine) before bedtime. Remember, many clear beverages contain caffeine, so check the label. A light snack before bedtime is OK.
Dealing with Preschoolers
Preschoolers: If a preschooler has a bothersome night waking or nightmare, it is okay for him or her to call out or seek out Mom or Dad for comfort. However, once calmed down, Mom or Dad should return the child to his or her own bed. Surround the child with items of comfort, such as a favourite stuffed animal or soft blanket or other object that will allow the child to fall asleep again independently without the need to leave the bed and seek you out again.
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