How Can I Get My Child To Sleep?
When your little one struggles to sleep, it can be very tough – for you and the rest of the household. You might have tried every trick in the book to help them sleep but to no avail. It's good to remember that it won't last forever.
One of our readers is in a similar situation and is desperate to get her child to sleep. We posted her question on Facebook and ask our mums for some advice. Here is what you had to say.
Hi Mums. My question is about sleep routines. My little boy is 13 months old and still will not sleep in the cot. His routine starts from 7pm with a bath, then a bottle, a book and a cot mobile. He's in the cot from half 8. But he will cry, scream, kick and hit until he gets out. We have tried changing his routine: Keeping him up later, putting him to bed earlier, more clothes, less clothes, with and without a night light. I've put my dressing gown around the mattress so he gets my smell. Tried putting a hot water bottle in there too. If I put him in bed he will sleep within minutes but trying to get him back into the cot is a no go. Once he hits the mattress he wakes. If he does fall asleep it'll last two hours and we have to do it all over again. I will try anything at this stage. Thanks."
Try A Different Mattress
Aletta: Maybe he doesn’t like the mattress in his cot. I heard from parents who had similar problems like yours. They changed the mattress and the problem was solved.
Emma: It sounds like he prefers the bed mattress.
Kathryn: Would you try a wedge at the top of the cot to elevate the mattress? Our little fella has one and sleeps through the night. He's 11 months now.
READ MORE: Help! My Toddler Still Hasn't Slept A Full Night
Try Sleep Training
Emer: You could do a little bit of sleep training to give him the skill of sleeping in the cot. Take a look at Lucy Wolfe’s book Sleep Matters. It worked wonders for me when I had similar trouble with my little boy. Don’t worry, it’s not about leaving him screaming and crying in his cot either!
Let Hime Spend More Time In His Cot – Also In The Day
Lorraine: I’d say put him sitting in the cot during the day with some toys. If he doesn't like it, sit and play with him. I did this with one of mine and it worked in 10 minutes. I hope he settles for you.
READ MORE: How To Create A Sleep Routine For Your Toddler
Drop the bottle
Jacinta: Drop the bottle he’s too old. All the baby books say get rid of bottles after the age of 12 months and feed them up during the day. I have two great sleepers so it can’t be that wrong.
Bed Time Routine Is Very Important
Grainne: Your routine before bed isn't the problem – I don't think so. I wouldn't change that part. Children need to know bed time is coming. Bath, bottle and a book always did the trick for me. It’s just getting him to settle in the cot. That is the part that you need a bit of help with.
READ MORE: The Transition From Cot To Toddler Bed
Time For His Own Bed?
Theresa: It might be time to put him in a bed.
Antoinette: This happened with my son after he turned one. He would settle in a bed but not the cot. I got a long bed rail for our single bed and just let him sleep there. He went back to sleeping through the night again and hasn't been back in the cot since. He’s almost three now.
Elaine: Would you put him in a toddler bed with a baby gate on his door to keep him safe?
Julie: This is my little man to a T, and had been for a long time. He's a little older, mind you – almost 19 months. But just this weekend I’ve transitioned him into a toddler bed. He is still not the happiest bunny to head off, but it’s definitely easier. Even after one night it's getting easier. I think some kids just don't do sleep. I definitely got one of them ones…
Donna: Neither of mine would sleep in cot, so I put them in a bed from an early age with a guard. Both slept great after that.
Maria: My daughter is 13 months old too and has been the exact same. The last few weeks we tried everything. We bought a toddler bed yesterday and she slept with no problem in it and so far tonight it's working too. She woke a couple of times but settled in minutes.
Try Bed Guards
Emma: You could try bed guards around the bed. Get them from Smyths, Tesco and Argos I think (it's been a few years for me), and Lidl/Aldi sometimes do them too. And door gates if needed. If it's not the mattress, it may be the habit that needs changing. Sounds like you tried everything I could think of, perhaps the bed guards on a single bed could work.
Rachel: My little girl hated her cot. She moves a lot in her sleep and kept hitting the sides of cot and wake up. So we put her in a double bed with bed guards at 14 months, and it’s been way better since! If she does wake, at least we can lie in with her and everyone gets a nights sleep
READ MORE: How Much Sleep Should My Child Be Getting?
Change His Sleep Atmosphere
Ailbhe: No child is a textbook. Enjoy every bit of his childhood. Take advantage of lovely cuddles. The sleep pattern will come. Blackout blinds, a nice smell of calming lavender in his room and nice, calm music can make it a have for some rest.
Kay: Ours slept in buggy couch car. When they were conked out, we then moved them into their cot. They slept away.
What advice do you have for this mum? Tell us in the comments below.