If you are the parent of a toddler, then you will know just how much sleep has an impact on their behavior. Toddlers that are tired are far more impatient and tetchy, and they are much more prone to tantrums than those that get a good night’s sleep. However, getting your toddler to sleep is another matter altogether! Toddlers are so stimulated by what happens during their day that they often find it hard to wind down at the end of the day. There are plenty of ways that you can improve the quality and length of your toddler’s sleep, and in this article we are going to give you some great suggestions for doing this. Read on for more information:
Don’t expect your toddler to be able to switch from daytime mode to night-time mode in a matter of minutes. It takes them some time to wind down, just as it does us. An hour before their bedtime, begin the process of calming them down and reducing the amount of stimulation that they are exposed to. Turn off the television, dim the lights and begin speaking in softer, calmer tones. Give them a bath, put on their pajamas, and let them snuggle up on the sofa with you, perhaps giving them a bottle of hot milk to fill their tummy. Read books together, saving the calmest book for last.
The Daytime Nap
As the old saying goes, sleep begets sleep – however once a toddler hits a certain age they will start to resist their daytime nap. If your toddler is around two years old, then you can try and reinstate this nap by changing their routine and being a little stricter. However, if they are older than about 2 ½ then you may find this tricky, as it is around this time that toddlers begin to need less sleep. Even if your toddler has officially given up the daytime nap, you may still find that they drop off if you take them out for a drive in the car. Generally, if your toddler has had a little snooze during the day, then they will find it easier to get a good quality night’s sleep later on.
Understand Dark & Light
As human beings, we are programmed to be awake when it is light and asleep when it is dark. Toddlers are no different – so don’t expect to be able to get them to sleep when it is broad daylight outside. You need to invest in some blinds which completely block out the sunlight – this is your only chance of getting them to sleep when it is still daylight. Darken the room, plugging in a little nightlight to help them see a little, and look around for a little projector which plays soft music whilst projecting calming images onto the ceiling. These generally have a timer attached, so they will switch off after a certain amount of time.
Your toddler’s sleep patterns will be constantly changing, so you should always be up for reviewing the routine as they grow older.