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Sleep deprivation can be detrimental to the development and health of a toddler. Here are a few answers to some sleep-related questions asked by parents.
Does your child’s sleep or the lack of it give you sleepless nights? Don’t fret or lose hope, instead try to incorporate the changes slowly into the routine of your toddler. Try not to overwhelm him with sudden sleep time changes. Chances are that you may do more harm than good to your toddler just by rushing things up. Given below are the answers to the top ten questions on a toddler’s sleep that most parents encounter.
Question 1: How many hours of sleep does my toddler need?
Most toddlers sleep through the night for around eleven to twelve hours. The real difficulty is not the duration of sleep, but getting them to sleep on time every day.
Question 2: What do I do if my toddler is still grumpy when he wakes up?
If your child is grumpy after getting up, it simply means your child does not get enough sleep or quality sleep. It is a good idea to consult your doctor if this problem persists to rule out sleeping disorders.
Question 3: What can I do to help my child develop the habit of having a good night’s sleep?
The activities undertaken by your toddler during the course of a day has a huge impact on his sleep at night. Ensure that your child has his meals at proper times. Encourage her to be physically active throughout the day. Limit the intake of chocolates or aerated drinks in the evening. Ensure that she has her dinner early, so that she is not hungry or over-full at bedtime.
Question 4: How can I shift my child’s bedtime to an earlier time?
If you wish to advance your child’s bedtime, do it in installments. For instance, if you want him to go to the bed an hour earlier, instead of forcing him to lie down an hour before his actual bedtime, at first, advance his bed time by around 15 minutes. Rest it for a couple of days, and then advance by 15 minutes again. This will give your child the time to adjust to the routine as well as adapt to the changes.
Question 5: How can I encourage my child to sleep in his room?
If your child has been sharing your bed, it will be difficult for him to sleep alone in his own room initially. Start off by ensuring that he has ample physical activities during the day, so that he is ready for a sound sleep at night. Follow a soothing and consistent bedtime routine, like a warm bath, story, and cuddle, whatever works for your child is the best practice for you. Make his room as attractive as possible, and let him decorate it the way he wants to, so that he is comfortable. Allow him to take a toy to the bed if he wants to. Sit with him for a few days and gradually reduce the timings. Shower him with positive comments if he shows improvement.
Question 6: How can I stop my child’s habit of falling asleep with the milk bottle?
Taking a milk bottle to bed is definitely not advisable. Offer her some alternative comforters, like a toy or a soother. Change dinner timings to ensure that the child is not hungry at bedtime. Do not expect overnight miracles. Weaning your child off the nightly bottle requires time and patience.
Question 7: How do I deal with a child’s nightmares?
Nightmares can be quite distressing for your toddler, especially if she is sleeping alone. If your toddler wakes up screaming and scared, sit with her, hug her and assure her it was only a dream and can happen to anyone. Talk to her about the nightmares you have had, and how you dealt with it. Assure her that you are just a call away.
Question 8: Is it normal for a toddler to snore?
Snoring in toddlers can often be due to a congested nose. If your child appears to be snoring consistently, even if there is no nose congestion, it might suggest a sleep disorder. If your child’s sleep is getting disrupted due to this problem, it is best to consult a doctor.
Question 9: How do I deal with my toddler’s bed wetting?
The key here is to remember that your child is not doing this on purpose, so do not scold, punish or demean him at any cost. To start off, put a waterproof sheet on his bed. Ensure that he uses the toilet just before bedtime, and drinks fewer fluids half an hour before bedtime. If the problem persists, it is better to seek professional advice.
Question 10: What is an ideal sleep environment for my toddler?
Choose a space that is relatively quiet, without the sound of traffic or blaring music. Do not have bright lights on. Ideally a child sleeps best in a dark room, but you can switch on a soft night light, if needed. Ensure that the room is at a comfortable temperature; neither too hot nor too cold for your child. Choose night clothes that are loose and comfortable for your child. The bedding should also be firm, with a clean and tightly drawn sheet. If your child is comfortable enough without a pillow, don’t force him to use it.
Despite all precautions you take and the practices you follow, there might be days when your little one would just not want to go to sleep. It is OK. Don’t fret about such slips, instead go with the flow. Your toddler will eventually settle into the sleep pattern you have envisioned for her.