Getting your toddler to bed, and keeping him there, can prove to be quite a challenge. Sleep therapist and founder of Good Night Baby, Petro Thamm offers some advice. By Tammy Jacks
If you thought your baby’s sleep schedule was a challenge, toddler sleep is a whole new ball game!
When it comes to toddlers, they’ll always push boundaries, making sleep a discipline issue, explains Petro.
Be consistent and repeat the rules
During the toddler stage (between the ages of two and three years) there’s so much growth and change, which is why consistency is of utmost importance. Toddlers’ attention spans are very short and they don’t remember rules. Therefore, rules have to be repeated and enforced, in a calm, gentle manner.
For example, your sleep rules could include:
- Bedtime is no later than 8pm.
- No climbing out of bed once I’m tucked in.
- I need to close my eyes and lie down quietly.
Remember to take the focus off “You have to sleep” and rather focus on, “You have to listen to mom and dad”.
Don’t give in to every request
Remember that toddlers are sensitive and crying is bound to occur. When you make changes to a child’s routine, and especially when you put boundaries in place, they might respond by moaning, crying or shouting. It’s important to note that not all crying is bad, says Petro.
You can still be a loving and attentive parent and not give in to your child’s every request. This is a lifelong skill that your little one will thank you for later! Anticipate that there’ll be some crying, and then, as calmly as you can, remind your child of the consequence and rewards of following the sleep rules.
A few helpful tips when it comes to toddler sleep:
- If your toddler is ready to stop napping altogether, exchange the nap for quiet time that includes 30 minutes to an hour of technology-free time spent in the room alone, reading, or lying quietly.
- Use an egg timer and let your child set it five to 10 minutes before bedtime to overcome the “just five more minutes”
- Have a consistent bedtime routine of no more than 30 minutes. A bath is great way to start this.
- Stick to an early, consistent bedtime of between 7pm and 8pm.
Tammy is a wife, mom and freelance writer with 15 years’ experience in the media industry. She specialises in general lifestyle topics related to health, wellness and parenting. Tammy has a passion for fitness and the great outdoors. If she’s not running around after her daughter, you’ll find her off the beaten track, running, hiking or riding her bike. Learn more about Tammy Jacks .