There is nothing more beautiful than the image of a sleeping child. However, sometimes there are challenges at bed time, so here are a few tips and ideas as to how you can help your toddler sleep!
It is time for our little ones to go to bed, and we are exhausted. But when we put on their pyjamas, the performance begins! Some scream, cry or struggle, and we are tired and at a loss as to what to do next!
And then when we finally get our toddlers off to sleep, we wander off to bed exhausted. But what can we do when not long afterwards they start calling out or crying? Of course in the initial stages we need to check that our toddler is healthy and comfortable (eg. check the nappy, is it colic, is it too cold/hot, did he/she lose the dummy, etc.). If our little treasure is well and these events are happening nearly every night, then you should try to make some changes. It may be behavioural (your child wants some attention, has developed a habit), emotional (your child is worried, anxious, stressed), or psychological (he/she does not know how to self-soothe, afraid of the dark).
Regardless of the reason, here are some basic commonsense strategies you can use to reduce the issues and hopefully help your toddler sleep.
After putting our toddler to bed, finishing the dishes, washing, drying and folding clothes, changing and feeding the baby and tidying up, we can finally go to sleep. Suddenly, it is the crack of dawn and our toddler’s sleep is over, they’re energetically out of bed after having rested for many hours and he/she is ready for the excitement of the new day. Five o’clock has barely passed on the bedside timepiece and you struggle with having to tend to your toddler. So what can you do?
Some children are early risers no matter what we do. Putting them to bed later can sometimes just mean we have a grumpy child at 6am. The key is to encourage their independence in entertaining themselves until a more reasonable hour!
For more information see Physical Development.
By Sally-Anne McCormack M.A.P.S.
Dip T (Psych Maj); Postgrad Dip Psych (Ed); B Ed: M Psych (Ed & Dev)
Sally-Anne is a Melbourne psychologist, former teacher, and mother of 4.