Common bedtime problems for toddlers

Once your baby moves out of a cot and into a bed, not only are they growing up, but they gain a measure of independence and freedom – which is to say they can get out of bed and wander the hallways in a way they never could before. This behaviour can quickly get out of hand, especially if you don’t set firm limits early. And even if you do, some toddlers have a lot of stamina!

We’ve teamed up with Children’s Panadol to provide you with lots of quick and helpful information covering many aspects of children’s health and development. We hope you’ll find them a great resource as you take care of your family every day.

Common issues and what you can do

Refusing to go to bed

Establish a good bedtime routine – such as bath, brushing teeth, cuddles, into bed, dim lights and story time. Consistently keeping to the same routine is your greatest weapon in bedtime battles.

Constantly calling out

“I want a drink” – “I’m hungry.” If you give in here you will spend your night feeling like a waiter as you ferry endless food and drinks to the bedroom. Firmly refuse or ignore them.

Being afraid of the dark

Leave a night light on.

Waking during the night

Wait and see if they resettle. If not, give comfort (briefly) and leave. Don’t linger.

Moving from a cot to a bed

When you choose to do this depends on your situation, but generally it occurs between the age of two and three years. Sometimes this can also mean moving into their own room for the first time. Either way, it can be a big adjustment for some – although others will just take it in their stride.

Some tips for the transition

  • Try to involve your child in buying and setting up the ‘big bed’.
  • If you’re toilet training, wait until your child has made some progress with that before moving to the bed.
  • Encourage your child to test out the bed. Try a daytime sleep in it, or do story time there before bed time.
  • If needed, put a mattress on the floor by your bed, so your child can come and sleep beside you in the same room for comfort if necessary.
  • If you are concerned your child may fall out of the bed, push the bed against a wall or into a corner of the room. You can purchase a kids’ bed rail from bedding stores and some stores that sell baby and toddler equipment.
  • Your child can also use a low profile pillow from the age of two years.
  • If you are using a second hand bed, consider purchasing a new mattress. Also check that it is safe and stable.

This is an excerpt from The First Five Years, which is a handy and easy to navigate book, specifically developed to help parents. It contains a comprehensive collection of practical parenting information and useful tips for your child’s first five years. If you’ve ever wanted a quick guide to refer to in the middle of the night, or to help you decide when it’s time to see a doctor, this is a resource which will help you on your way. You can view it online or download it for free at The First Five Years.

(This is a sponsored post for Children’s Panadol)

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