Sleeping Habits in Toddlers

As a mom who loves sleep, few things are more important to me than ensuring that your child gets the rest they need to thrive. Adequate sleep is essential for a toddler’s physical and mental development, and that’s lovely, but it is also essential for everyone to get a great night sleep and sometimes our sweet angel toddlers have a war against sleep. So if you’re looking for ways to promote good sleep habits in your toddler, read on for some tips and guidance from someone who has been there.

As with all parenting advice from another parent, not everything works for every family, with time and persistence you will find what works for you and your family.

Creating a Bedtime Routine

One of the most important things you can do to help your toddler develop good sleep habits is to establish a bedtime routine that works for you and your family. This routine should start at the same time each night and include calming activities that signal to your child that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. A bath, a story, and some quiet cuddle time are all great activities to include in your routine. The key is to create stability and calm, speaking in only calm tones can help your toddler immensely as well.

Let’s Talk About Screens

Many studies have shown that exposure to screens before bedtime can interfere with sleep quality and quantity for all of us. The blue light emitted by electronic devices can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps you to regulate sleep. To promote good sleep habits, try to limit your toddler’s screen time in the hours leading up to bedtime. Of course not everyone’s situation is the same and sometimes screens are something that can’t be avoided, so my suggestion would be to find mediative apps like Moshi [Android | iOS] that focus on sleep and mindfulness. Using something like this with the screens brightness turned down low and your blue light filter on is a great option if it works for you and your kids.

Create a Soothing Sleep Environment

The environment in which your toddler sleeps can also have a significant impact on their sleep habits, just like it does for you. Make sure their sleeping area is quiet, dark, tidy and comfortable. Use blackout curtains to block out light when needed, and consider investing in a white noise machine to help drown out any background noise. Additionally, make sure your child’s room is a “Goldilocks” temperature – not too hot or too cold. Don’t exclude yourself from the space either. Make sure, on those harder nights with your toddler, there is a comfortable space for you or both of you to snuggle in. Not all nights go as planned and time with our kids is precious so if they need a couple more minutes of hugs thats okay. Just make sure you don’t hurt your back doing it and have a comfy space for you too. A great idea is having a corner reading space with pillows, not only practical but useful for your comfort on those tough nights.

Sleep Habits in Toddlers
Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

Get Them Moving

Physical activity during the day can help tire out your toddler and make it easier for them to fall asleep at night. This is the time where you start to realize that kids are very similar to dogs in this one particular way; if you move them around enough they will always get tired. Encourage plenty of active playtime during the day, whether it’s at the park, in the backyard, or just running around the house is essential. However, make sure to avoid overly stimulating activities too close to bedtime, as this can have the opposite effect. You want to make sure there is a nice chunk of time before bed where things are winding down and voice tones are changing and their routine is starting. After a while just doing your routine without trying too hard will make your kiddo sleepy in no time.

Stay Consistent

Establishing good sleep habits in toddlers can take time and patience. It’s important to stay consistent with your routine and expectations, even on weekends or during vacations. Consistency is key to helping your toddler establish healthy sleep habits that will benefit them for years to come. As us parents know no child is the same so never give up, as my mom always said: persistence pays off.

Promoting good sleep habits in toddlers is essential for their, and your, physical and mental well-being. By creating a consistent bedtime routine, limiting/adjusting screen time before bed, creating a soothing sleep environment, encouraging physical activity during the day, and staying consistent, you can help your child establish healthy sleep habits that will benefit them and you. PHEW, that was a lot. I know it seems like this is a massive list of things to do but it’s just an obstacle with a few baby steps so to speak. I promise with time, patience, love and consistence everyone will be sleeping peacefully most nights.

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