The toddler years deliver some of our most memorable moments as parents. From the unbelievably cute “I want to eat you up” moments, to the utterly confusing ones, where nothing you do works and meltdowns are a daily occurrence.
For some of us, the progression into toddlerhood also results in your little one desperately trying to carve out some independence for themselves. Unfortunately, this can also lead to them testing the limits of their bedtime and sleep routine.
A toddler who doesn’t sleep well quickly becomes overtired, cranky and grumpy – which is not something we want to deal with when we’re also suffering from lack of sleep (or ever, if we’re being honest). So how can we make sure our toddlers are sleeping well, and for long enough?
We’ve pulled together these tips and tricks to help you. However, as with most parenting hacks, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach, so make sure you do what works for you and your family.
Tips & Advice: When trying to get your toddler to sleep well overnight, it’s important to understand how much sleep they actually need. Unlike us adults who strive for a solid 8-hours, little ones need roughly 12-13 hours a day. Most of these hours will be slept overnight, but most growing toddlers need a day nap (or two) of roughly 1 or 2 hours as well.
Learning your toddler’s tired signs should help you create a nap-time routine. If your little one stays happy and energetic throughout the day, they may need only a small nap or bit of quiet time. But if you’re finding your bub gets grumpy around the same time every day, it may be wise to put them down for a nap.
Tired signs for toddlers vary, but common ones can include:
• Overt clinginess
• Boredom with all toys and activities
Learning your little one’s tired signs and using them as signals to reduce stimulation will help wind your bub down for a nap when they show you they need it.
Establishing a bedtime or naptime routine for your toddler can be helpful to prepare them for sleep. Any routine you establish should be able to be carried out throughout both weekdays and weekends to help your little one get used to it. Winding your toddler down with some ‘quiet time’ in the lead up for bed is a good way to signify to them that sleep time is coming up. Brushing their teeth, changing their nappy and then reading to them and curling up for a cuddle are great wind down activities your toddler can associate with bedtime.
Once your little one is safely tucked into bed, you might find the next challenge you face is getting them to stay there. Too often we experience our little ones creeping into our room or crying for us when they’re meant to be asleep. When your toddler wakes up at night you should always check to see if they actually need something. Are they thirsty? Does their nappy need changing? Did they have a bad dream? Or are they perhaps too cold in their sleep space? All of these reasons are easily fixed and can help to keep your little one sleeping through the night.
One of the big reasons toddlers wake during the night is that they kick their blankets off and wake up chilly- especially if your little one is a particularly wriggly sleeper. A lot of young bubs haven’t yet grasped how to properly pull their doona back up over themselves if they wake up cold, which leads to them crying out for you to come and help.
This is where the Love To Dream™ team have stepped in to put that issue to rest with specially designed Sleep Suits. If you would like to learn more, jump onto the Love To Dream™ website.