Toddlers need to sleep and, while they do not sleep nearly as much as some parents would like, this process is vital for their mental and physical health and development. Parents need energy as well and having regular sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and, as such, it benefits everyone if the night is a time of silent sleep, rather than dreary eyes and crying.
While some “little‘uns” will fall asleep without any persuasion whatsoever, others can be a challenge and here are some helpful tips for getting the less persuasive of children into their dream worlds.
Whatever you do, there will always be nights when a child will be unable to sleep and, in these trying times, it is important to not become stressed about the next morning’s work, early gym session or the constant crying.
Furthermore, children are very sensitive to the moods of their parents and they will sense any stress or anger. This is counterproductive, since such feelings will make the child even less likely to relax. This also gives children an unhealthy attitude to sleep, or being unable to sleep, which will affect them in later life. As such, it is important to stay relaxed and the problem will work itself out in time.
A Regular Sleep Pattern
Everyone works better to a routine and this is equally true of eating and sleeping habits. With toddlers, this can be complicated by regular napping, which can disrupt the necessary routine if not planned carefully – particularly if they nap too long, too often or too close to bedtime.
And, while the hectic lifestyles of modern parents means that they will see their children at different times, they can still designate periods of the day when the child is allowed to sleep. This may prove difficult for the child at first, but with persistence the toddler will build this routine into their sleeping habits.
Design the Sleeping Space to Suit the Sleeper
By the time your baby has grown into a toddler, you will probably know how to set up the bedroom to best ensure they sleep well. And, if you don’t, it does not take long to learn. Some children will need a bedtime story or some light filtering in to scare the monsters (or burglars) away. Having toys and games lying everywhere can often cause a distraction to them, and a clutter-free room may be the relaxing space they need to drift off.
The Science of the Sleeping Toddler
Getting a toddler to sleep is the science many “sleep trainers” suggest and some children will simply not respond to any advice. If your child has suddenly started finding it more difficult to sleep it may just be that growing pains are the culprit, but this will pass. One element of the process that is in your power, however, is the bed, blankets and toddler pillow, and making your kid as comfortable as possible is often half the battle. Investment here could be the difference between sleepless nights – for both the baby and you – and having the energy to enjoy this special time in a person’s life together.
The author had difficulty sleeping as a child, but this was a result of crocodiles biting his toes all night and is not something his parents could do anything about. And, as he has grown up, these nightmares have softened and at 31 he now sleeps like a baby. During the small number of waking hours he likes to write blogs about this and that and these and those.