As a new parent, it’s easy to assume it’s mostly babies who have issues with sleep. Sadly, I’ve learnt from experience that toddlers can struggle too when it comes to snooze time.
Yep – despite running around ALL DAY, seven wardrobe changes and doing enough ‘art’ to fill the Louvre – somehow they still have energy to resist sleep.
Luckily, Jo Ryan – amazing sleep expert and author of Baby Bliss – was at our recent Tackling The Toddler Years parenting workshop to share her advice. Here’s her four fast tips to make bedtime less of a battle:
1. Introduce a beautiful night time ritual
Having a gentle pre-sleep routine is the perfect primer to get your kiddo into a nightly rhythm and wind down for bed. A ritual could include cleaning teeth, family hugs, and then getting into bed for a story, a lullaby or shadow puppets on the wall.
“This really helps toddlers understand what they’re doing and it means that they are not upset or surprised by going to bed at night,” says Jo.
Watch Jo’s insightful sleep tips:
2. Avoid staying until they’re asleep
Lying next to your little loved one as they doze is all sorts of gorgeous, but unless you want to be there EVERY NIGHT, Jo advises teaching them to settle themselves. That way, they can get themselves to sleep, both at bedtime and if they stir through the night.
“They will try to get you to stay in the room with them, but it’s important to pop in and out and try to be out of the room when they finally do fall asleep,” explains Jo.
3. Use a comforter
“To help toddlers separate from you, it’s really nice for them to have something else,” explains Jo.
She suggests putting them to bed with their favourite toy, a blanket or even a muslin wrap they used to use as a baby. This will comfort them and help soothe them to sleep.
4. Add a night light
“Toddlers’ imaginations are really kicking in around this time,” explains Jo, so get a little lamp for their room so they know it’s definitely not full of bogeymen, trolls or that awful Norman guy from Fireman Sam.
This helps reassure them as they fall asleep and if they wake through the night. Otherwise, they’ll get spooked and wake you up too, and that’s a real nightmare for us, sleep-starved parents.
We hope these tips help tip the balance when it comes to bedtime. Sweet dreams!
This post is brought to you by Kinderling Kids Radio, an event partner for the Tackling The Toddler Years workshop. Listen to their programs Bedtime Explorers and Sleepy Soundtracks to soothe your bub to sleep.