Sleep is an indispensable part of a child’s healthy growth and development. Research has shown that adequate sleep is closely linked to good physical health. It is also associated with better behavior, improved attention and concentration, and good emotional and mental wellbeing.
While the importance of sleep in toddlers cannot be discounted, it isn’t always easy to get them to sleep.
Many times in their toddler life, kids resist going to bed early for a variety of different reasons. It’s exhausting, that’s true. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Read on for some helpful tips for sleep training your toddler.
Create a routine
Just like adults, kids are comfortable when they have a routine to cling to. They want to know what to expect. So it would be helpful to give them a predictable nightly routine.
Some of the activities you may want to include are taking an evening bath or shower, brushing their teeth, putting on their pajamas, spending quiet time together by reading a bedtime story or singing a lullaby.
If a bedtime routine is something you are just introducing to them for the first time, you may consider doing a rehearsal first. Make it fun. For example, you can turn it into a fun pretend play game and switch places with your child. Pretend to be the child and ask them to send you to bed.
This is good practice for them and it will make them look forward to their own bedtime.
Make sleep a priority
Sleep is just as important for adults as it is for kids. Adequate sleep is vital in a toddler’s healthy overall growth and development but adults need adequate sleep, too. Therefore, make sure it is something that everybody in the family prioritizes.
Not only is sleep deprivation detrimental to a person’s physical health. It can also impact their emotional and mental state. Be sure to be a good role model for your child and stick to a consistent bedtime routine.
This strategy requires that you find out how long it usually takes for your child to fall asleep after the lights are turned out. For example, let’s say you tuck them in bed at 8:30pm and they fall asleep at 9pm.
Take a break in the middle of the 30-minute period and come back when they’re almost about to fall asleep. Praise them for being able to stay in bed even when they’re left alone. Give them goodnight hugs and kisses and stay until they finally doze off.
The goal of this strategy is to train your child to sleep independently at night. If they happen to fall asleep while you were taking breaks, it’s still important to follow through your promise to return to their room.
You can finally stop this tactic once your little one can get to sleep on their own every night for a week or so.
Camp in with them
One of the common things with toddlers is that their sleep is often disrupted at night, especially when they realize they’re alone in the room.
To make the transition easier, give them the reassurance that you are close by camping in with them. Place a mattress beside their bed and sleep in their room for just a few nights until they get used to sleeping in their own bed at night.
However, make sure they understand that this is only happening for a few nights and that you’re not moving in permanently.
Use positive reinforcement
If your child has shown progress in your sleep training even for just a few nights, give them some sort of reward. Create a cute sticker chart that will record their progress of being able to sleep independently. After they have earned stickers for 7 days or 14 days, offer them a prize.
However, if your little one is still too young to understand how the chart works, you can go with immediate gratification and reward them with something the next morning.
A toddler needs adequate sleep to stay on top of their bodily functions and to keep their temper and behavior under control.
It’s time to stop stressing out about your child’s bedtime routine. Follow these sleep training tips to ensure your child gets a good night’s sleep.
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