Anyone with a child under the age of five can attest to the fact that once you have a baby, sleep – which was once taken for granted – becomes your most cherished commodity.
Although as your child grows up, their sleeping requirements and patterns will undoubtedly change, and this can be incredibly taxing on mothers.
Most toddlers need around 10 to 12 hours of sleep at night, along with one or two naps during the day that last around 1-2 hours. If, for whatever reason, they aren’t meeting this requirement, it can be a frustrating experience for the both of you.
Whether your toddler wakes up too early, during the night or has trouble getting to sleep, here are some tips to help you manage both yours and your toddler’s sleep.
1) Write up a sleep schedule
Having a routine will ensure that your child won’t become overtired during the day and in turn will be prepared to sleep at night.
An example schedule:
- 7am: wake up.
- 12:30pm: nap of no less than one hour, and no more than 2 hours.
- 1:30/2:30pm: wake up from nap.
- 7pm: bedtime.
2) Set a bedtime routine
Similarly, a bedtime routine will help prepare your child for sleep. Toddlers love routines because the predictability of what is coming next makes them feel safe and secure – and this is especially pertinent at nighttime, where calmness is the key ingredient to a peaceful toddler sleep. A bedtime routine should last for no longer than an hour, from the bath to the final goodnight kiss.
An example routine:
- 6pm: bath time, brush teeth and put on nighttime nappy.
- 6:30pm: bedtime story, or listening to lullabies.
- 7pm: kiss goodnight, and lights out.
3) Watch for signs of tiredness:
Children can become hyperactive when they are overtired. Recognising when your child is ready for bed can prevent them from becoming too tired, and make it easier for them to settle down and go to sleep. The signs over tiredness are:
- irritable behavior
- demands for attention all the time
- boredom with toys
- fussiness with food
4) Keep the room dark and make sure they are in a comfortable environment:
While it’s true that every child is different, most toddlers start the day early. While some are happy to look at a book, or quietly play with a toy, others will wake with an energetic bang. This is in part because of their early bedtime, and also because their deepest sleep happens between 8pm and midnight, so by 6am they may feel quite alert. Keeping the room dark with black out blinds helps reduce the stimulation around them and can help calm your toddler so that they will sleep longer.