Just when you thought you’d cracked a through the night sleeping routine, your toddler starts to get into an unsettled sleeping pattern. Don’t worry though, it’s not an uncommon problem.
It’s tiring work being a toddler. Believe it or not, they need around 12-14 hours’ sleep a day to be able to grow and function normally. Do you even remember the last time you got more than 4 hours sleep, never mind 12?
Why do toddlers have trouble sleeping?
- As their imagination develops they will start to get nightmares, which can be really scary for them. Try a nightlight or leaving the landing light on with the door open so they don’t feel scared of the dark.
- If they simply don’t want to go to bed your toddler may be experiencing serious FOMO (fear of missing out).
- They’ll want to keep exploring. Even if they’re sleepy, your toddler will want to keep get-ting out of their new ‘big bed’, walking around the house and playing with their toys.
Getting your toddler to settle
A routine – Try and stick to a regular bedtime and naptimes, this will help to set their body clock into the routine and they’ll feel naturally sleepy at the right time.
Bath time – A bath can be a fun and relaxing way to finish off the day. Not to mention a necessi-ty to get the dried spaghetti hoops out of their hair.
Story time – When they’re all tucked up, a good bedtime story can be just the trick to get your little one feeling sleepy.
A bedtime drink – A cup of warm milk can make them feel full and content just before they brush their teeth and get into bed.
A nightlight – if they’re scared of the dark a nightlight can really help to reassure them and get them settled for sleep.
How to deal with bedtime tantrums
Stay strong – if your toddler is crying every time they’re put to bed, try leaving them for five minutes. That way they won’t expect you to be there every time they demand attention.
Be soothing – If the crying continues, go and see them but try not to pick them up to comfort them. Again, this will reduce their expectation of attention when they cry.
Small changes – if your toddler needs you in the room to fall asleep, try slowly moving away from the bed over a few weeks to get them used to you not being next to them while they fall asleep.
Cuddles – if your toddler has a scary dream a cuddle can go a long way to make them feel safe and at ease. They might just want you to stay with them until they drift off again.