How to Make Your Chaotic Toddler Go to Sleep – One of the greatest blessings of my life has been being able to watch two children develop from being infants to walking, talking beings. Except for when it’s time for bed, I adore their stumbling gaits and their delightfully voiced viewpoints. I’m worn out, the sink is still piled high with dirty dishes, and their brains are oozing out of their ears. These children must get some shut-eye.
Whether they’re confined to a bed in the dark with a 3-year-old who is experiencing separation anxiety or when a youngster appears at a particularly graphic time in The Last of Us, every parent has encountered this particular flavour of desperation. I sought advise from trained sleep consultants on how to get your children to sleep.
Adjust the bedtime
According to Andrea De La Torre, a sleep expert and the founder of Baby Sleep Answers, a business that offers newborns and toddlers individualised sleep solutions backed by science, a toddler’s tiredness is determined by two biological processes: their internal circadian rhythm and sleep pressure, or what we would call tiredness.
A 24-hour cycle known as a circadian rhythm may cause your toddler to jump out of bed in the morning, but as children become older, they become more tolerant of being tired. Baby naps are frequent because of this, while adult beverages can be had after dinner (some of the time). You might need to modify your child’s daily routine to fit their constantly shifting natural rhythms if they have problems nodding off at night.
Sleep consultant Molly Tartaglia, the founder of MMT Sleep, which offers one-on-one help and digital courses for parents of children up to 7 years old, says that many parents put their children to bed too late because they believe their children aren’t sleeping because they aren’t exhausted. So going to bed earlier is usually a good idea. Aim for 10 to 12 hours of sleep for a 3- or 4-year-old as a general guideline, so if your child gets up at 7 am, try to put them to bed at 7:30 or 8 pm.
Children start to need less naps at this age as well. You can attempt doing away with or cutting short your child’s naps during the day if they seem way too animated at 8:00 p.m. “If they continue to take two naps, stop. Try a 10-minute nap if they’re sleeping for an hour, advises De La Torre. Several parents are unaware that they can get throughout town in a 10-minute drive.
Create a Regular Schedule
Toddlers naturally need predictability since their bodies and brains are constantly developing. In order for your child to know what to anticipate, Tartaglia advises that your routine can truly consist of anything as long as it is repeated frequently. My children still follow the same bedtime ritual as when they were infants—bath, books, and then into bed—even at the ages of 5 and 8. White noise blocks out the sound of Mom talking to her friend on the phone as she runs down the stairs, and a nightlight calms anxieties of the dark.
The main objective is to enable you to send your toddler to bed in the same manner as you would a preschooler or elementary school student: with an embrace, a goodnight kiss, and a walk out the door. No swaying in bed, never-ending midnight snacking, or hours spent lying in bed gazing up at the ceiling. To that aim, you should normally maintain consistency in your response to midnight disruptions. You shouldn’t tell someone to go back to bed once and then offer, “Come to bed with me,” Tartaglia advises. It is conveying conflicting messages to your child.
De La Torre advises parents to be a little flexible while acknowledging the value of routines and boundaries for young children. It’s acceptable to remark, “Right now, he just wants you; we’ll try it again later,” if you frequently have meltdowns. The good news is that there are still several months to fix it if you get it wrong.
Be kind to yourself.
Being a parent of two small children, I believe I can state with confidence that things are not going well if you’re searching for “get my toddler to sleep” on Google. You’re at the very least worn out, and it’s likely that your toddler isn’t faring much better. Sleep is a lot more crucial component of their brain growth than watching Saturday Night Live, whether they realise it or not.
It’s really challenging to identify the precise issue. Strict routines and consistent routines may be the solution to your issue if a youngster refuses to go to bed because they are testing the boundaries. Giving your youngster a bit more authority on occasion can be beneficial, according to De La Torre. Try drawing a chart, asking them to walk you through their routine, and telling them, “After this, I stay in my bed.”
Playing games like hide-and-seek helps convince children that even when you can’t see someone, they’re still there if they’re experiencing separation anxiety. You could even try letting your children share a bedroom (this works for my kids, sometimes).
If you make a mistake, the repercussions seem severe. One night of little sleep leaves you barely functioning the next day; weeks or months of insufficient sleep can push a harried parent dangerously close to the edge. Parenting, according to a friend of mine, is somewhat like trying to function in a foxhole while dodging bullets flying over your head and sifting through dirt (or maybe just trying to block out the sound of small children screaming for chocolate milk).
De La Torre’s last piece of advise is to avoid comparing yourself or your children to others and to avoid passing too severe judgement on yourself. De La Torre advises choosing the course of action that stems from love rather than fear. It’s acceptable to let your child know that they must stay alone if you are completely out of gas and they really need to get some rest because you won’t be able to be there for them in the morning. Simply believe in your abilities as a parent and realise that nothing, not even this, is permanent.