What are the most common toddler sleep issues?
Two of the most common toddler sleep problems are struggling to fall asleep on their own, and waking frequently in the night.
What causes toddler sleep problems?
If your toddler has always been a bad sleeper, they may have developed poor sleep habits over time, which need addressing. But there are a number of other things which can impact your toddler’s sleep patterns, including:
- going through a developmental leap
- being overstimulated at bedtime
- big changes at home eg new siblings or new room
What can I do to help my toddler fall to sleep on their own?
Many children struggle to fall asleep without being held or rocked or sucking on a dummy or bottle. If your toddler can’t fall asleep on their own they’ll also struggle to get back to sleep when they wake in the night.
It’s best to avoid using things like music and lights to help soothe your toddler to sleep. A bedtime routine along with putting them to bed drowsy, but not overtired, will help them fall asleep on their own.
What makes a good bedtime routine?
The key is to be consistent, so your toddler knows that it is time for sleep. Make your bedtime routine comforting and relaxing. A bath followed by a bedtime story, a drink and a cuddle can work well.
What can I do to help my toddler sleep through the night?
If your toddler wakes up regularly through the night it’s important to always respond in the same way. If you let them sleep in your bed one night, they’ll expect to every time.
If your toddler wakes crying, go to comfort them, speaking quietly to reinforce the idea that it’s time for sleep. Once they are settled, leave them to fall back to sleep on their own. You may have to repeat this several times until they finally drift off.
A teddy or comforter that your child sleeps with every night may help them soothe themselves back to sleep.
Will stopping daytime naps help my toddler sleep better?
Rather than encouraging your child to sleep more on a night, stopping daytime naps might actually have the opposite effect. If your toddler is overtired when they go to bed, they may find it harder to sleep through the night.
If you think they are napping too much, or they are wide awake at bedtime, try shifting their nap forward. You could also gently wake them after a set time.
How do I help my toddler deal with nightmares?
Nightmares can be very distressing for a toddler as they can’t tell the difference between dreams and reality.
If your child has a nightmare, respond quickly and comfort them until they have calmed down. Talking about happy things in a soothing tone can help them relax, or they may want to discuss their dream.
If they’re scared to go to sleep, make sure they have a favourite toy with them. Having a night light on or the bedroom door open can also help.
Credit: Cusson Baby Nigeria