How to Create a Sleep Routine for your Toddler
Sleep and toddlers have never been best friends.
It seems there is always something to do, something to watch or something to climb on – there is just far too much to do and see for toddlers to sleep!
If you are having trouble with your toddler’s sleeping habits, take a little comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Sleep problems and concerns with toddlers are very common, but with a few helpful hints you can help your toddler sleep better – and perhaps get in a few extra winks for yourself in the meantime.
Problem: Has nights and days mixed up
Sigh, the dreaded ‘up all night and sleep all day’ syndrome. Unless he’s a rock star, these hours just won’t do. While many people don’t realise it, it’s actually quite common for toddlers to develop weird hours. Sometimes this is chalked up to strong will and other times simply that the child has taken one too many late naps over the course of a few weeks.
This problem doesn’t happen in a day and you won’t fix it in one either. The best way to fix this is to push bedtime back by 20-30 minutes every day to help your toddler develop a better bedtime routine.
Problem: Prefers to sleep in with Mom and Dad
While some parents don’t mind their toddler being in the middle, others do. If your toddler is the third wheel in your bed, try a gradual transition. A toddler bed right next to yours is a great place to start. Little by little, move the bed further away from yours until you are able to graduate him into his own room, in his own bed.
Some toddlers have trouble moving all the way out of mom and dad’s room but you have to decide how far you are willing to go. Do you mind if your toddler stays in your room for a few more months? If not, the toddler bed may be the solution.
Problem: Wants to sleep with the lights on
This one is easy and fun to fix. There are many great products on the market today that are way cooler than the night lights that we had as kids. From animal-shaped glow lights to stars projected on the ceiling, there are any number of options for little ones who are afraid of the dark!
When it comes to getting you toddler to sleep, there are bound to be missteps, slip ups and setbacks, and that’s ok. Set boundaries and know when your toddler has set their own. The best compromise is one where you can meet in the middle happily.
Don’t feel like you have failed if things don’t work straight away, it can take time for your toddler to adjust to the changes and it may be that you need to fine-tune a bedtime routine that works specifically for your family. Rest assured, it will happen.
What was your experience of encouraging your child into a sleep routine? We'd love to hear.