10 tips to help toddlers sleep
Sleep is the elixir of life ( Sleep..the Elixir of life)! but for parents of young children, sleep deprivation (How to Sleep Well); is an all too common a problem. Feeding on demand for babies is standard practice for modern day Mum’s unlike in days gone by when babies had a feeding regime. The evidence says that feeding on demand is far better for the child but then as they become 1,2 or 3 years old is that the rules suddenly change!
All of a sudden they are expected to adapt to a more regimented way of life. They are expected to sleep through and stop disturbing the household in the night, eat in the day….very confusing! All that control is taken away.
Establishing a good night time routine for children is about altering their expectations whilst still making them feel loved and secure. You are not withdrawing but making sure that they get the sleep they absolutely need.( Sleep!!)
Routine is essential
Routine is vital for achieving good sleep patterns. Changing an approach can be really unsettling for children, humans do not like change! But the knack of managing change well is consistency mixed in with with kindness. Change can create a ‘kick back’ initially. Often when we try to change behaviours, the behaviours can become more troublesome. The child may well become more challenging or disturbed at night.
But perseverance is key! Even if you feel like it is not working ( and you will feel like this initially!)…it will!! Explain in a way that your child can understand what is changing and why. Keep it simple. Give your child some control over bedtime, they can help choose their routine and you can make it a special time of day of 1;1 attention that is just about them.
I believe that the most important thing for any parents is to keep you well & calm…& for this you need sleep! If there are 2 parents involved, you will need to work together. Consistency is key….I know I have said that before.
1.Young children need to sleep in the day. Choose a time in middle of the day, not the afternoon as this gives more time for the vital sleep hormone to be activated. The sleep hormone builds up throughout the day and we need enough of it in order to sleep well at night. The recommended sleep requirements are:
2.5yrs = 1.5hrs
3yrs = 1 hr
2. Agree with yourself &/or partner what the bedtime routine will look like. Allow an hour for this bedtime routine. Talk in a way your child cam understand about what will happen. Use charts ( available online) for visual prompts and reminders. Try and make it fun, a rewarding change that they will love.
3. Give your child control over certain things ie chose own PJ’s, story, bubble bath…let them feel consulted and part of the change but keep choices simple i.e these PJ’s or these ones…
4. Use essential oils that help with sleep. Lavender is well known to help but some people can be activated by it, Check out which works for your young person.
5. Use bulbs or filters that block blue wavelengths. Research shows that artificial lighting effects sleep patterns adversely, this is a simple step that can help quiet down a brain ready for sleep.
6. If/when your child wakes in the night, be gentle but BORING!! Avoid light, talk & eye contact ( eye contact etc makes child feel ready to play & engage). Comfort but don’t give the message that this time is fun time. Soothe but don’t stimulate.
7. Massage is a soothing way to get a child ready for sleep. Use baby friendly massage oil and it will calm the brain. A calm brain equates to good sleep.
8. Make sure your child gets loads of daylight, this helps with their Circadian rhythms. We are governed by this rhythms and we all need as much daylight as possible.
9. A baby sound machine may help soothe your child but it is VITAL to keep the volume low.
10. Mum/Dad/parent.. needs to be relaxed as well….treat yourself well & all else will follow. Remember to keep sleep routines going at weekends as human have not developed a ‘sleep bank’. All of the above tips can help all of us sleep better.
For further advice or support: Parent 1;1 coaching available. 4 sessions over 8 weeks to support you in this change. Cost £400