Your toddler should have around 11 hours of sleep every
night, plus an hour-and-a-half nap in the afternoon. That’s the ideal
situation but as you’ll know, children aren’t programmed like robots and
every one is unique! Many toddlers experience problems sleeping. Around
1 in 5 toddlers have difficulty settling down, or wake frequently in
the night and many just wake up too early in the morning.
What can cause sleeping problems?
There’s no hard and fast rule about what causes sleeping problems
but often there are some small changes you can make which might help
Diet: Toddlers who are used to being fed on demand eat
small frequent meals, meaning they’re not used to going for long periods
(like night-time) without food.
Over-tiredness: It might sound
odd but many toddlers sleep badly if they’re over-tired – set a bedtime
routine with a time for your toddler to go to bed and try your best to
stick to it.
Over-stimulation: Everyone needs to unwind before
settling down – fun and games before bedtime can leave your toddler
wide-awake and restless.
Discomfort: We all have trouble sleeping
if we’re too hot or too cold or feel uncomfortable in our nightclothes
or sheets - your toddler is no exception.
How can I introduce a routine to help my toddler sleep?
Your toddler should experience fewer problems getting to sleep if you
create a simple, regular routine before bed, including 15-20 minutes of
quiet time. During this special time you can read a story to them, give
them a bath or simply sit and have a cuddle! They’ll find it much
easier to switch off at the end of the day this way.
your toddler is dressed comfortably and the room temperature is not too
hot or too cold. It also helps to keep the house quiet and the lights
low to teach them the difference between night and day – a dimmer switch
can work wonders, as can thick curtains or a blind that won’t let
street lights disturb them.
There are some other tips that can help if your toddler is restless:
- Make sure your toddler is well-fed
during the day but not demand-fed. Try to get them out of the habit of
eating small frequent meals. If your toddler still wakes up for milk in
the night, you can try gradually replacing the milk with water, so they
don’t become reliant on a feed to get back to sleep.
- If it takes a while for your toddler to settle, stay calm and
relaxed. Put them down, leave the room, and wait for five or ten minutes
before going back in if they call for you.
- If your toddler wakes in the night, do the same thing, taking care
to keep any fuss, sound and light to a minimum. Just settle them back
down gently but firmly.
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is not intended as a substitute for medical and/or other professional advice
for your specific condition. Please do not disregard medical and/or other
professional advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on
this Website. Always seek medical advice before starting any new treatments.