22 Ways to Get a Toddler to Sleep at Night
No one realizes the value of a good night’s sleep like a new mom does because she has to feed a newborn every couple of hours even in the night! Fortunately, this phase passes, and by his first birthday, a child starts sleeping through the night. This is the perfect time to inculcate sleeping tips in toddlers which will prove good through their childhood years as well as in their adulthood.
Toddler sleeping patterns differ from ours. Experts recommend a total of 12-14 hours of sleep in a day for children in the 1-3 year’s age group, including intermittent nap times.
KEY TAKEAWAY: To make your baby sleep for long without any disturbance watch for these signs and then put him to bed:
- Put your baby to bed before he is over-tired.
- Look for drowsy signs; if your baby has droopy eyes or face, is yawning or becomes quiet, put him to sleep.
- In over-tired stage, the body releases adrenaline which causes the baby to fight sleep and wake up frequently. So, avoid putting him to sleep at this stage.
- Other signs of over-tiredness are fussiness, crying, and rubbing eyes.
- The ideal time to put a baby to sleep is somewhere between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.
4 Reasons Toddlers Resist Sleeping or Wake Up in the Middle of the Night
As per a study, 1 in 5 infants who have trouble falling asleep will continue to have this problem during the toddler years. When a toddler is awake at night, parents try all possible options to put them to bed. In fact, everyone tries to find out the solution without actually pausing for a moment and pondering over the cause. Do you want to know what are the causes of sleep problems in babies? Here are 4 reasons why toddlers do not sleep properly have a look:
1. Environmental Problems
By environmental we mean your surrounding environment, i.e. your house, your neighbour’s house, and the street you live in. If the noise coming from your TV is too loud, if your neighbour’s dog is barking continuously, or if someone is making noise on the street, your baby will not fall asleep. Also, if the temperature in your baby’s room is too high or too cold, he is likely to stay awake and stare at the ceiling of his room.
2. Learned Hunger
Hunger is hard to suppress, particularly for those babies who are accustomed to drinking milk or being breastfed before going to bed. Toddlers with this habit can’t sleep if you suddenly stop feeding them. Try phasing out this habit gradually. You cannot keep your baby starved, so reduce the amount of milk you feed him day by day.
3. Medical Disorders
Toddlers are very tender. If your baby wakes up in the middle of the night and coughs excessively then take him to a doctor. If he has pain in his belly or is vomiting, he might be having GERD. Sleep apnea also disrupts a baby’s sleep. In all of the above conditions do not waste time and consult a doctor soon.
4. Sleep Onset Association Disorder (SOAD)
It is a common behavioural insomnia occurring in children due to lack of appropriate sleep training. A baby with SOAD requires assistance in sleeping, like swinging, rocking, or feeding. A baby’s sleep cycle includes-deep sleep, light sleep, and waking up for few minutes after every 2 hours. If your baby fell asleep while being breastfed or while being rocked, and when he wakes up, he doesn’t find you rocking him or nursing him, he will cry out for you. To treat this problem in babies, you need to gear up a little. Instead of reaching out every time for him, make him sleep on his own. Also, put your baby to bed when he is drowsy and not asleep.
22 Tips to Get Your Toddler to Sleep
Although 12-14 hours of sleep is recommended for babies, it is quality of sleep that counts. Restful, uninterrupted sleep makes all the difference between an alert, happy child and a groggy, cranky one. Here are 22 tips to get a toddler to sleep:
1. Have an Active Daily Routine
Sleep training for toddlers should involve a routine which gives the little child a sense of familiarity and security by keeping anxieties at bay. Ensure that his routine includes lots of physical play since exercise promotes deep sleep.
2. Set an Early Nap Time
Most kids of this age need a short nap during the day, without which they become overtired and irritable by the evening. To make a 2-year-old sleep through the night, ensure that his nap is over by 3:00 p.m. If he sleeps too much in the afternoon, you’ll have an over-active toddler who won’t sleep at night even if it is 11:00 p.m.
3. Set a Fixed Bedtime
Set a time to put your baby to sleep and stick to it, because only then kids realize that bedtime means bedtime! With time, their bodies adjust to this schedule and they start feeling sleepy naturally around the same time every day. This is among the best ways to get a toddler to sleep!
4. Have an Early Dinner
Experts recommend having dinner at least 2 hours before bedtime so that the toddler’s body isn’t into heavy digestion during bedtime. Moreover, feed them foods rich in protein and fibre, so that they don’t get hungry again before going to bed.
5. Turn Everything Off
All of us know that the blue light emitted by computers and TV screens disturb the body’s sleep cycle. If your baby watches TV or is using a computer at night, it might hurt his eyes and give him a headache. The remedy to this problem is to teach your child to turn off the computer or television at least an hour before bedtime so that they have enough time to wind down. This can be your best toddler no cry sleep solution!
6. Remove Sleep Dependencies
Some babies go to sleep sucking on the breast or bottle, while some need to feel their moms hand around them. It’s best to teach your child to fall asleep on his own right from the infanthood, without any external help. Sucking while going to sleep can also cause dental cavities in children. Be wary of bad sleeping habits for toddlers!
7. Move into a Big Kid Bed
1st birthday is a good time to move your child into a bed of his own, rather than waiting for a sibling to come along. Moving to a new bed is a big change, so be patient but persistent. It’ll go a long way in establishing good sleep habits that aren’t dependent on anything. You can use natural sleep aids for toddlers like a soft toy, soothing lighting, and minimal ambient noise.
8. Keep the Bedroom Clean
Going to sleep in a cluttered room can affect our natural sense of peace and balance, and could hinder the quality of your child’s sleep too. Help your child to clean up his room and toys, so that he understands the benefit of resting in and waking up to a clean space.
9. Pee before Bed
At this age, kids start with toilet training, but they haven’t mastered it yet. Getting up in the night frequently to go the bathroom or wetting their bed can disrupt their sleep. While helping toddlers sleep, encourage them to use the bathroom right before going to bed, and monitor his fluid intake after dinner.
10. Wear Proper Nightclothes
Some kids go to sleep in their regular play clothes, but this isn’t conducive to a good night’s rest. Having specific clothes for bedtime, and comfortable nightwear creates an automatic signal in their brains that it’s now time to sleep. Ensure that these clothes are clean and comfortable and without irritating tags or zippers.
11. Include Cuddle Time
There’s always time for a cuddle!! This is a great way to ease a child’s mind because it makes him realize that even if mom or dad had to be stern with him during the day, in the end, they’ll always love him. A nice bedtime story also works and can be one of the best sleeping techniques for toddlers.
12. Reflect on the Day
A little reflection at the end of the day is a great habit, even for adults. This is the ideal time to say a short prayer saying thanks to God, for the day. Even if you’re not religious it’s good to inculcate a ritual of gratitude by thinking about all the good things that happened during the day.
13. Address your Baby’s Fears
If your child is afraid to sleep alone at night talk to him about what is bothering him. Don’t neglect if he says something that doesn’t make sense to you. Ask what he is afraid of and reassure him. You can also buy some fun toys for your toddler to make him believe that he is not alone in the room and someone is always there to take care of him.
14. Calm and Relax Him
Sometimes even toddlers find it difficult to shut their brains and just relax and go to bed. They cannot calm themselves, so, you should help them in relaxing. Switch off the lights of the room, talk to him about trivial things, and try to calm him.
15. Sleep-Inducing Environment
To make your toddler sleep through the night, create a sleep-inducing environment. For this purpose, opt for a light-coloured bedsheet and dark window blinds. Turn off the lights; if your child is afraid of the dark, you can place a night lamp in his room, but keep the lights dimmed. You can also place a stuffed toy on his bed if he likes.
16. Keep the Stress Away
Cortisol, a stress hormone, plays an important part in one’s sleeping schedule. If the cortisol levels are high in your child’s body, then he will have difficulty in sleeping. To reduce cortisol levels try to calm him. Your child should not stress about anything; engage him in fun conversations and put him to bed when he is drowsy and not asleep.
17. Room Temperature
Room temperature also plays an essential role in making a baby fall asleep. If your child’s bedroom is too hot, he won’t sleep and will get irritated. Melatonin, which is a sleep hormone, relaxes our body and makes us sleep faster. It triggers sleep in babies, but to promote deep sleep, a little cooler temperature is required. So, next time before putting your baby to bed lower the room temperature.
18. Cut Down the Day’s Sleep
After playing for long hours toddlers need rest during the day too. But if you put them to bed in the afternoon, they give us a hard time at night. An afternoon nap is necessary to refresh them but to make your toddler sleep peacefully at night, cut down his nap time of the day. If you are letting him sleep for 2-3 hours in a day, then gradually reduce this time. Instead, you can put him to bed a little early at night.
19. Ensure that They are Not Hungry
Hunger is one of the reasons why kids have a hard time falling asleep. If your toddler is hungry, he is likely to get irritated. He will not be able to understand or say what is troubling him, but as a mother, you know what he wants. Never let your child sleep on an empty stomach. Offer him some healthy snack or warm milk.
20. Bath before Bedtime
Bathing before bedtime will relax your baby. Just make sure that you bathe him in warm water and put him to bed immediately. Also, avoid loud noise or any other cheerful activity before putting your toddler to sleep.
21. Massage your Baby
To make your toddler sleep faster and for long, massage him before putting to bed. Massage during the night doesn’t need to be a long process. Take some oil on your fingertips and use gentle strokes while massaging your baby from head to toe. A quick massage will soothe your baby making him sleep faster.
22. Bedtime Stories
Who doesn’t love stories? For teaching your baby to sleep through the night you can instil reading habits in them. If he is a toddler, you can read stories to him before putting to bed. Most often, your little child will fall asleep while listening to the story and will have an amazingly good night sleep.
These toddler sleep techniques should help you calm down and get your boisterous toddler into bed every night. After all, a well-rested child implies a happy mom!
What tricks do you use to make your baby fall asleep? Share it with other moms in the comments section below.