*This is a collaborative post
After a very long day of being busy and running around, toddlers tend to become overemotional and upset little beings. Parents are also working hard all day in so many ways and so you need your over-energetic toddlers to go to sleep at a regular hour so you can unwind. Not only that, but an overly emotional toddler really does need a proper sleep – even if they do walk through the night still!
It’s a horrible truth, but parents hate hearing it – a 1 year old baby’s sleeping habits are SUPER NORMAL if they are waking up through the night. They are still growing, they’re still learning and they’re going through some major changes. It is okay if your child wakes in the night – it’s normal and expected and instead of finding ways to force your children to sleep through the night, you should focus on how to help your children to fall asleep securely. Secure children are able to relax and rest well, but children who are afraid, hungry, tired, thirsty, too cold, too hot – they need to feel secure enough to fall asleep and they still may not stay that way.
If your baby or toddler is struggling to sleep, then you need some tips to help you all to get a good night of sleep without resorting to bed nests (suffocation risk and not for night time sleep) or crying it out (research shows leaving a baby to cry causes long term damage!). Here are some tips to help make those night time transitions much easier.
- Pick the right bedding. From the mattress to the comforter, a toddler can use a bed cover from 12 months. If you’re still worrying about a suffocation risk, then you should choose sleep sacks or sleeping bags. These can keep your toddler warm and comfortable. The mattress they have needs to be supportive and so you need to try a latex mattress. A high quality bed is important, especially as you want your child to rest and feel like sleep is the best idea. Latex mattresses don’t wear that easily and they can be super comfortable at the same time.
- Keep a bedtime routine. From a bath with warm water to having a warm milk and banana before bed, a good routine helps your toddler to feel secure in your expectations. This is where they learn that it’s time to settle down and let go of the daytime fun. Some children need music and others just need a comfortable cuddle before bed. Some toddlers even still require rocking to fall asleep at night. Spend at least half an hour engaging them in a good routine.
- Stick to bedtime. You’ll know when your baby or toddler is sleepy, so once you do figure out those cues, stick to a bedtime each night where they will then be in a routine enough that they expect to sleep around the same time. Help your child to fall asleep faster this way as they will be more secure in what you want from them.
- Be present. If your child is fractious, be there. Whether you lay beside them as they fall asleep or you sit in a chair beside the bed, don’t leave until they are secure you’re going to be there for them. Leaving them to be sad or cry is something you shouldn’t do – despite what Gina Ford says. When you’re sad, do you want to be left alone? Do you want to be isolated and unable to reach for warmth? It’s okay to cuddle your children to sleep and it’s okay if this takes time.
- Put away the cartoons. After dinner, put the technology away so that your child has time away from the blue light created by the screen. This will help them to wind down much better and fall asleep faster.
- Create monster spray. If your toddler is very with it and is worrying about monsters, create spray that you can use to get rid of the monsters. Add a night light and the right teddies to help them feel secure. These may all feel pointless to you as a parent but you’re not a toddler navigating the dark!
- Help them burn off extra steam. Taking your children out to run and play wil help them to burn off some steam and be in a good, sleepy place when bedtime hits them. No parents want their kids to bounce off the walls when bedtime comes round so try these tips to help!