Two years down the line and you are still battling with your child’s sleep? You are in good company – over 50% of toddlers do not sleep through at night. There are many reasons, not least of which is that toddlers assert themselves in all daily activities and bedtime is frequently the time of day when toddler push boundaries. From health to behavior, there are specific tips to help you be prepared-ish to get your toddler sleeping well:
- Having a set bedtime routine is an excellent way to promote healthy sleep habits and decrease bedtime battles. Choose bedtime (no later than 7pm) and start the calming routine an hour beforehand. Do not leave the room after bath. This will prep him to settle to sleep with fewer protests.
- If your toddler wakes very frequently at night, have his health checked – things like pin worms, allergies, eczema and anaemia are related to poor sleep.
- Two hours before bedtime play heavy work games, such as pushing, pulling and hanging. These can take the form of rough and tumble or rolling up a hill. You can also try deep massage and swinging in a hammock.
- Absolutely NO screen time – tablet, phone or TV - after 4pm for toddlers.
- If your toddler gets overstimulated, it can result in high activity levels and poor sleep habits. He needs a calm environment and a regular day sleep (over midday) and you may need to limit outings and extra activities and consider putting him to bed earlier (between six and seven pm).
- Consider a night-light if your toddler has nightmares.
Toddler sleep is multifaceted and takes time to sort out. The final step is to deal with the pushing of boundaries and behaviours. But before you go there, start with these 6 basics.