Sometimes, even healthy toddlers might have sleeping problems as they go through different stages of growth and development.
If your toddler is giving you sleepless nights, the reasons could be manifold. He might be suffering from teething or an ear infection, which prevents him from sleeping soundly at night. Sometimes, it could be issues like fear of darkness or being alone. Whatever the reason is, the situation is neither good for the baby nor for you and your family!
Toddler Sleep Problems:
Toddler sleep issues are common, so you should not be too worried. At the same time, do not treat this lightly; it is very essential that a toddler gets 12 hours of sleep in a day. If anything less, they become more vulnerable to other chronic diseases in later life. Let us look at some of the common sleeping problems in toddlers and possible solutions for them.
1. Bed time revolt:
Most toddlers don’t want the day to end; they keep on playing and resisting sleep, as they are not mature enough to realize that their body needs rest. Sometimes they might fight sleep so hard that they would incessantly cry to the point of getting sick. They may want to test their control over others and staying awake might be the easiest way to do so.
First, does not succumb to your toddler’s demands, as this would teach her the wrong lesson about authority and boundaries. If she tells you that she wants to continue playing, strike a bargain – tell her she can play for ten minutes and after that she should be ready to sleep. If necessary, dim the lighting in your baby’s room, put on some soothing music and sleep along your toddler in her bed.
2. Wakes up mid-sleep:
Some toddlers wake up in the midst of the night and get all panicky. This usually occurs when their sleep cycle comes to an end and after waking up, they find no one to look after them. They may get scared and start crying.
Give your toddler a chance to fall asleep again on his own. Otherwise, just give him a pat and console that everything is fine, let him feel safe and then he might simply sleep again. You might also give them a soft toy to soothe them.
3. Wakes up too early:
So your toddler wakes up with the birds and the rising sun. It is quite understandable that his sleep reduces as he grows up, but is that the only reason? Sometimes, the reason may be hunger, nappy issues or issues like an insect bite. Besides, there might be a lot of disturbance like noise and piercing sunlight in the room.
It is common for you to hope that your toddler wakes up late, so that you can finish your daily chores while your baby is still asleep! If you want this to happen, first check if your toddler’s required hours of sleep are getting fulfilled. If yes, try to alter the sleeping time at night. By delaying sleep by 1-2 hours at night, you will be happy to find him wake up late in the morning.
4. Shuns afternoon naps
A power nap in the afternoon can help your toddler remain in good spirit the entire day. As a parent, you can understand this so easily, but it is difficult to make your tot understand the same. All children resist afternoon naps without realizing that after some rest they can start playing with double vigor!
In this situation, forcing your child to bed may not be helpful. Instead, get him to be active in the morning. Take him to a park or a Playgroup, which will keep him on his toes. This will get him exhausted (in a good way) and ready to take a siesta in the noon.
5. Too timid to sleep:
We have all been there; your child is too afraid of being alone in a room that is not bright and light. Well, darkness does make even familiar things look strange and alien! He might be afraid of ghosts and monsters because he might have seen something scary or might be getting bullied. Moreover, such fears might be also due to his imagination, which toddlers have in plenty!
Nightmares are common at this age. Soothe your toddler by pacifying him and making him relaxed. Make their sleeping time as cheerful as possible and read them happy stories or stories about kids dealing with monsters triumphantly. Try to check the room and show them that there is nothing to worry. More assurance is needed to make them strong and less afraid of such imaginations.
6. Too long to sleep:
It can so happen that you yourself may fall asleep before making your little one to sleep! Ideally a child should sleep within 15-20 minutes of being in bed; if a toddler takes hours to sleep, it may be detrimental to both her physical and emotional growth (not to mention the parents’ social life!)
First, find out if your toddler’s sleeping time changes frequently or the timing of naps is too near to the sleeping time at night. If yes, change the nap timings. It is best to follow a set schedule for sleeping in your toddler. The more consistent you are, the more easily he will fall asleep. Reduce the disturbing noise and light in your baby’s room. Try using dark curtains or make him sleep in a room with lowest disturbance.
7. Sleeplessness due to ailments:
All kids have different tolerance levels. Some may sail easily through teething and other ailments, while some may find it tough to bear them. Consequently, many children find it difficult to sleep because of pain and uneasiness that comes with any illness. Such kind of sleep deprivation may aggravate other problems too. Your child might become excessive cranky or dull.
Once you realize that your toddler is unable to sleep due to the above-mentioned ailments, you should consult a doctor and present. Your doctor will offer certain medication to alleviate your toddler’s pain. Also, in case of teething, try giving him “Teethers” (you can also get them in fun shapes and in different flavors) which give them a good feeling in their gums and ease their pain to quite an extent.
Top 10 Tips for a restful sleep for your toddler!
Though there is no magic wand to make toddlers fall asleep at the drop of a hat, there are some tried and tested sleeping tips for toddlers tips that can aid you in getting your baby have a deep and problem-free sleep every night.
1. Make sleep a ritual:
Set up the “go to bed” times and follow it without fail, at least till your child learns to sleep on her own. Follow a pattern every day- for e.g., first a bath or a singing routine, changing your baby into night clothes, a story reading or storytelling session, switch off the lights, you lie down with her and close your eyes. This will serve as a trigger and make your toddler immediately understand that the next activity is to sleep.
2. Check mealtimes:
To prevent your child having sleep issues due to hunger pangs, ensure your child is fed at least 3 meals in a day. Provide some light snacks like fruits, or a glass of milk before going to bed. But make sure that there is an optimum time gap between your toddler dinner / snacks and his bedtime. As such, it is not advisable to make your baby go to sleep immediately after eating.
3. Proper dressing at night:
Invest in lightweight sleep attire for your toddler. Also, it should be seasonal – warm clothes during winter and light clothes for summer. Your child’s nightdress should cover his full body, eliminating the need for a blanket. Your little one might remove the blanket in the middle of the night and may start feeling cold. He might not know how to put the blanket back over his body and may get uncomfortable, wake up and start crying.
4. Ideal sleep environment:
The environment in the room should be a toddler-friendly. It should be dark, have dim lighting and appropriately airy. Make sure the fan is not on too fast or too slow mode. If you are using an air conditioner, then make sure to adjust the temperature at standard levels. Use sleeping timer to make the air conditioner switch off by itself as you may forget to do so.
5. Let your toddler cry:
A child may not know how to sleep on his own, but the good news is that you can always teach him how to. In such situation, don’t just rush to your child the moment he starts crying. Delay your timing and see if he can sleep on his own. Every time you can delay your time by 5 minutes and see whether they sleep on their own. Use this method to positively teach your toddler the art of falling asleep on his own!
6. Comforting objects:
It is very common for toddlers being afraid at night. Coupled with the fact that they might be alone when they suddenly wake up, it is no wonder that your toddler starts bawling and rouses the entire household! To cope with her fear of darkness, give your toddler some security-assuring objects to comfort her. It could be a doll, a soft toy, or a favorite pillow. All these objects reassure safety to the child and help her sleep soundly without any fear.
7. Bedtime entertainment:
For extra-active kids who refuse to wind down, let them watch a sleepy-time program on TV, phone or iPad. There are many e-apps available on the net; your cable TV also will have a dedicated baby channel. If you are averse to using technology during bed time, read a book. Hunt for and purchase picture books that show the baby falling asleep and read them to your toddler; it is a great way to prepare your toddler for bedtime.
8. Don’t let routine suffer
Children thrive on routine and discipline, so the last thing you should do is to let the routine fall. Even if you are travelling or staying at a guest’s place, for e.g., if you are in a late-night wedding, do not let your child stay past her bedtime, thinking that it is just “one-time” fun. Even a single instance, can destroy the equilibrium you have built over so many days, so find a room or a quiet space and put her to sleep.
9. Family participation is a must:
When it comes to making your child sleep, it is best if the whole family joins the toddler’s routine and offer their support. Otherwise a child may get confused by different behavior in the family and may not accept or learn what you want to teach him. If at all there is going to be any change in your toddler sleep routine, then the entire family should be aware of it and co-operate.
10. Deal with care:
At times, your child may have some genuine sleeping problems, because of fever or some unnatural fear. He may have breathing problems, the reason for his open-mouthed snoring. If you find the symptoms as uncommon, do not take the situation lightly. Immediately consult your doctor and handle the situation.
The above-mentioned toddler sleep problems are universal; one or more happens to every single child born on earth! So instead to getting overwhelmed, it is better to understand these issues and apply the possible solutions given above. We hope this comprehensive article help you solve your child’s sleep problems and give your entire family a better night’s rest.
We would like to know your methods in dealing sleeplessness in your darling.