How To Ensure Your Toddler Gets a Good Night’s Rest
A good night’s sleep is one of the most important foundations for your day whether you are two, twenty-two, or forty-two. It’s a time to recharge the batteries that keep you going all day and that’s something most parents don’t take for granted anymore. To a toddler, however, a good night’s rest is the enemy.
One more thing he or she can’t control that takes them away from the interesting and exciting world of consciousness that they are just now discovering. Toddlers need more sleep than we do, but they are also lighter, more resistant sleepers than adults. Taken together, these things mean that making sure your child gets his or her rest can present a bit of a challenge at times.
Commit to a Bedtime
The key to your toddler’s continued nights of good sleep is always going to be a proper routine. Young children respond best to a well thought out routine in most areas of their life—bedtime is no exception. Your toddler needs approximately eleven to thirteen hours of sleep per day, including a daily nap. Make sure that they get the full benefit of that time by getting them to bed regularly and keeping them there.
Pick a bedtime that you can live with and then make sure that your child is tucked in by that time as often as you can. Ideally, you want there to be no more than a fifteen-minute margin of error on either side. This will help you to train your toddler’s body to sleep at a specific time of day.
Getting Your Toddler to Bed
Having a bedtime is important, but you still need to get your child to bed. Make sure that during the day, you engage your child both mentally and physically. A proper level of activity will ensure that your child is tired and can sleep when bedtime rolls around. Then, when the day is winding down, help your child to begin winding down as well. Choose evening activities designed to soothe rather than to stimulate. Avoid feeding your child juice or sugary snacks in the evening, as they will simply energize the child. A well-planned bedtime routine with a bath and a book can also help ease your toddler in the direction of sleep.
Dealing with Objections
Your toddler will not necessarily want to go to bed when you’d like him or her to do so. Avoid trouble spots by keeping to the routine, refusing to argue, and redirecting their attention to decisions they can make—like which pair of pjs to wear. If your child is up and down after you have put them to bed, then simply return him or her to bed without fanfare. You don’t want to encourage them to believe that they can enjoy themselves and gain attention by escaping bedtime.
On the other hand, you should be sensitive to your child’s concerns at bedtime so that you can address separation anxiety or night terrors appropriately, but don’t allow your child to sidetrack the routine.