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How to make sure that your toddler gets a good night’s sleep

22nd November 2013

For us adults, we love nothing more than a great night’s sleep which sets us up for a productive day ahead. However, for a Toddler, sleep is the ultimate enemy. They don’t want to close their eyes and miss out on the world that’s full of exciting new things- not even for one night! Yet they need more sleep than any of us due to the rapid changes they’re going through.

So, the question on most parents minds: how can you make sure my toddler gets a good night’s sleep?

Things to make sure you do:

ü  Routine, routine, routine: This may be easier said than done but the best way to get your toddler to go to bed without the tantrums and drama is to keep to the same routine every night. This way your child will know what to expect and it will become the norm.

ü  Make bed time special:  Make it about them, give them your undivided attention and don’t rush it. Run them a bath and read them a bedtime story. Let them take a special toy or dummy to bed with them and sit with them for a while. A lot of anxiety for the child spurs from having to leave people and go to bed alone, so simply being with them (even if until they fall asleep) will help the bedtime routine go smoothly.

ü  Feeding them well before bedtime:  If they are comfortably full they’re less likely to wake in the middle of the night from hunger. So, make sure your child eats a good meal and drinks enough before bed time.

ü  A quiet wind down: Well before you even take your toddler upstairs you should all start to wind down in the household. This way your toddler will know they’re not missing out on anything when they leave the room. A soft light in the bedroom will also help send them into a tranquil state that aids a peaceful sleep.
Things to make sure you DON’T do:

ü  Put toys on the child’s bed: They will only associate their bed with play rather than time for sleep, so make sure you keep all toys in a toy box.

ü  Use bedtime as a punishment: If you send your child to bed as a punishment or threat then they will associate this with negative, bad things which will only make it worse when it comes to the actual bed time.

ü  Give in to the tantrums: Never give into your toddlers tantrums just for a quiet life. This is teaching them nothing and if you let them get away with it once, they will take this as a licence for every night.

So, now you know the do’s and dont’s of getting your toddler off to sleep, you might want to know why it’s so important that you now stick to this routine. Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for toddlers, as sleep releases the growth hormone that encourages healthy and normal bodily development.  They require between 10 and 13 hours of sleep a night, including an afternoon nap of 1 to 3 hours. This down time encourages positive brain development and aids the process of concentration. This help’s your toddler make sense of the day’s events, the things they learnt at school, etc.

In order to achieve this you must try to avoid all things that can distract your toddler from sleep. Some of the most common complaints include:

  • I’m hungry, I’m thirsty
  • I can’t get comfortable
  • It’s too noisy
  • It’s too bright, it’s too dark
  • I’m too hot

Try to nip all these in the bud before your child goes upstairs to bed. For instance, make the house as quite as possible, make sure they are well fed and take some water to bed with them, turn all lighting down low etc.

There’s no denying it can be hard work, but getting your child into a proper bedtime routine can be the best way to get your toddler to calm down, reflect on their busy day of learning and exploring and prepare them for sleep. But most importantly it sets them up for another fun filled day ahead!

To find out more information on how to help your child’s growth and development, get in touch with your local children’s nursery in Nottingham