How to tackle 3 of the hardest toddler sleep transitions

Posted on July 31st, 2018

Moving from a cot to a big bed, dealing with nightmares and reducing your tot’s daytime naps can all be difficult transitions for him. Here’s how to tackle these three situations.

How to tackle 3 of the hardest toddler sleep transitions

Moving to the big bed

As soon your child can climb out of his cot unassisted, it’s time to move to a big bed. The transition from cot to a real bed can be quite tricky for little ones. It will take some time for him to get used to his new surroundings. Allowing your child to bring his comfort items, such as his favourite blanket or teddy bear, to bed with him will make him feel more comfortable.
You can also reassure him by showing that everybody else in the family sleeps in the same kind of beds. Also make sure that your child is ready to move to a big bed. He must be able to physically get on and off it on his own.

Click here for more advice on moving your tot from a cot to a big bed. 

Dealing with nightmares

Stress and change are often the cause of nightmares and there isn’t much you can do except cuddle and reassure your child. A major change in your child’s life, like moving house and going to a new school may cause anxiety, which could easily manifest as nightmares.
Always calm your child down and ask him about his bad dream. It may give you an idea about what caused it – for example, it could be related to a story he was told during the day or a film that he watched. Talking about the dream can also make him feel better.
Take a good look at other aspects of your child’s life that could be causing him stress. It could be something as simple as potty training or a bigger family-related issue, such as divorce.
Ensure that your child is ready to potty train, start school etc, as this could be causing him stress, especially if he feels pressured.
Give your child lots of love and show him that you understand what he’s going through.

Dropping naps

By the time your baby is a year, you’ve probably settled him into a predictable rhythm of daytime naps and regular bedtimes. “The age-appropriate sleep for this age is two periods of sleep during the day, and around 12 hours at night,” says author of Baby Sense and co-author of Sleep Sense, Meg Faure. You may find that your little one starts to fight going to sleep at either of the day sleeps or at bedtime at this stage. This is an indication that his sleep requirements are changing, and that it’s time to reduce his day sleeps, says Faure.

Click here for guidelines on how much sleep your toddler should be getting and how to reduce daytime naps. 

Xanet Scheepers

About Xanet Scheepers

Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day.