Sleep deprivation is a term parents are familiar with, and there are lots of reasons why adults lack sleep. We hear people telling us that a good night’s sleep is very important because it is responsible for keeping us healthy and alert, plus it helps with memory retention.
If sleep is that important to adults, what more to toddler’s who are still on their way to improving their growth and development through sleep. Toddlers are just really hard to put to sleep, it’s like a battle all on its own. Even if you’ve got the softest foam from the Philippines or the softest blankets, it’s just hard to get toddlers to go to sleep.
Here are ways in which you can help develop their sleeping habits.
Make sure there aren’t any disruptions in the month
The first thing you need to do is to make sure that there aren’t any events that you should be attending with the whole family that will require you to stay up all night. If you’re going to start creating a plan for your son or daughter to get better sleep, there should not be any interruptions so that you can do it without worrying about starting over again.
Create a sleep plan
The goal is to be able to help them get used to sleeping at a specific time. This means crafting a bedtime plan so that they will know what to expect every night. If kids don’t have know what to expect, it leaves room for them to protest going to bed. Before carrying it out, though, you need to make sure that everyone is on-board with the plan, even your little toddler.
Help them get used to a routine
Once you have crafted a schedule for everyone to follow, create a routing with your kids. For instance, a pre-bedtime routing consists of taking a bath, telling them a story, and then tucking them in bed. Make sure that it is clear to them that after tucking them in bed, you expect them to close their eyes and sleep.
There are instances when once you have said good night and went out of the room, a few minutes after, your little toddler will get out of bed. Just walk them to bed, saying something along the lines of, “Oh, baby you got out of bed, come let me help you go back”, then calmly walk them back to their bed and tuck them in again.
Make sure the night light isn’t too bright
There are some toddlers who can’t sleep without a night light on, and that’s okay. Just make sure that the night light is no too bright. Light is a zeitgeber, which means it is our body’s way of resetting our internal body clock and it will completely hinder our sleep at night. This is why we find it hard to sleep with the lights on, because our body is taking its cue from the light and is waking itself up.
Avoid negotiating with your kids when it comes to bedtime, or at least don’t give them the chance to. Let’s take the previous example on getting out of bed. While you are walking them back to bed, they will start talking to you about how they are not very sleepy and if they can stay up for a little while. Avoid those conversations, make sure not to engage them with conversations like that. They will keep getting up, and you will have to keep leading them back to bed. Make the whole thing uneventful for them so that they will not have any choice but to stay in bad and sleep.
The key is consistency. The reason you have to make sure there aren’t any interruptions with your bedtime plan is for you to help your little toddler get used to the routine. With patience and consistency, your kids will learn to get enough healthy sleep in no time.
Getting toddlers to sleep may be a battle, but you have to make sure that you win this one. Anyway, it is for their over-all health after all.
Ianna Reign Stevenson is a professional writer based in London, England. She is a young mother of a three year old toddler and a physical therapist by profession. Connect with her on Twitter.