Just when you thought you've 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, toddlers sleep on average around 14-12 hours’ a day including daytime naps and a longer night time sleep. Do you even remember the last time you got more than 6 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 getting 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 necessity to get the dried spaghetti hoops out of their hair.
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.
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 nightlight –
If they’re scared of the dark a nightlight can really help to reassure them and get them settled for sleep.
A comforter –
If your toddler has a favourite teddy, toy or blanket, having something familiar with them at night can help them feel settled.
How to deal with bedtime tantrums
Stay strong –
If your toddler is crying every time they’re put to bed, some parents try leaving them for five minutes before checking on them. That way, if they’re crying solely for your attention 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.