Many parents find their toddler’s bedtime to be the hardest part of the day. Children this age often resist going to sleep, especially if they have older siblings who are still awake. Use the following tips to help your toddler develop good sleeping habits:
1.) Set up a quiet routine before bedtime to help your child understand that it will soon be time to go to sleep. Use this time to read him a story, listen to quiet music, or give him a bath. It may be tempting to play with your child before bed. However, active play with your child may make your child too excited to sleep.
2.) Be consistent. Make bedtime the same time every night. This helps your child know what to expect and helps him establish healthy sleep patterns.
3.) Allow your child to take a favorite thing to bed each night. It’s okay to let your child sleep with a teddy bear, special blanket, or some other favorite toy. These help children fall asleep-especially if they wake up at night. Make sure the object is safe.
4.) Make sure your child is comfortable. He may like to have a drink of water, a light left on, or the door left slightly open. Try to handle your child’s needs before bedtime so that he doesn’t us them to avoid going to sleep.
5.) DO NOT let your child sleep in the same bed with you. This can make it harder for him to fall asleep when he is alone.
6.) Do not return to your child’s room very time he complains or calls out. Instead try the following:
Wait several seconds before answering and make your response time longer. This will give him a chance to fall asleep on his own.
Reassure your child that you are there. If you need to go in…do not turn on the light, play with him, or stay too long.
Remind him each time he calls out that it’s time to go to sleep.
7.) Give it time. Helping your child develop good sleeping habits can be a challenge and its normal to get upset when a child keeps you awake at night. Try to be understanding. A negative response by a parent can sometimes make a sleep problem worse.