Getting my 2-year-old to sleep was one of the most daunting challenges I ever had to face. It seemed that his energy picked up exactly at the wrong time. With that aside, handling the tantrums that came with waking up in the middle of the night and transitioning back into a peaceful sleep was another issue altogether.
It was time to do some research to find out how to get over this hurdle in his development. With a bit of consultation and advice from my own mother, tips from other experienced mothers and some Internet research, here are a few tips I found that can help your toddler sleep better.
Create a regular sleep cycle/routine
With toddlers, it’s all in the regularity of what happens at sleep time. If you child grows to expect nap time as part of his regular daily activities then rather than fight it afresh each time it comes up, he goes to sleep more willingly which means less stress and better sleep for longer periods. Try creating a pattern such as a slow down period of reading books and perhaps singing quiet songs before naps, and a longer routine before bedtime such as dinner, then a nice bath, followed by brushing of teeth then maybe you can allow your toddler to pick out a nice storybook and his pajamas, as it can make him more willing to participate if he feels involved.
Allow comfort objects in bed
Does your toddler have a favorite blankie or teddy? Let him bring it to bed. If there is any way to make bedtime more pleasant and easier, then make the most of it. At this stage of life, it is a well known fact that comfort is one of the most important needs that one can satisfy in their toddler.
In some instances, co-sleeping is the ultimate form of comfort a parent can provide for their toddler. If a child wakes up in the middle of the night due to nightmares or just for a normal break, it helps to know that someone they trust is nearby and helps them transition back into sleep much faster and more peacefully.
IMPORTANT NOTE: When it comes to comfort objects, pick items that won’t pose a health risk. Teddy bears and other toys may pose a choking hazard if they’re too small or may cause bruises if they have rough/sharp parts. In other instances, blankets and teddy bears may cause respiratory problems if they shed. Allergies to fabric or materials used to make the comfort objects also need to be taken into account. And these objects should be left out of bed when your child is still a baby.
Regulate what your baby has at dinner or for snacks before bed
Sugar only serves to raise the energy levels that are supposed to be bundled up at bedtime. The level of sensitivity to sugar and caffeine for toddlers is such that even healthy yet sugary foods should be avoided before bedtime. This includes fruits and vegetables and sweet nuts. Natural juices should also be checked for sugar levels to avoid giving baby a fresh jumpstart right when he should be settling down. Try warm milk with dinner instead of juice.
These are just some of the simple I learned for how to get your baby to sleep through the night.
Our guest writer for this post, Mary, is a mother of two and a regular blogger at Miracle Maternity.