Tired of waking up to the cries of the little ones at all hours of the night? Here are some easy tips and tricks to get your toddlers to sleep soundly so that you can finally get a good night’s sleep too!
Follow a Routine
Having trouble getting the little ones to bed? Fix a bedtime and stick to it! Toddlers thrive on consistency. It is much easier for them to go to bed if they follow a regular sleeping schedule. Since they already expect it, they will be more willing to comply with the bedtime when it does come. This takes some getting used to, of course, so do not fret if your toddlers are still throwing tantrums during the first week. To get them used to their regular sleeping time, you may want to start by giving them an earlier bedtime. For example, if you want them to sleep by 7pm every night, start getting them to bed at 6pm on the first two days, 6.15pm the next two days, 6.30pm the following two days and so forth. Their tantrums should die down by 7pm for the first eight days. They will find themselves worn out from the screaming and stomping and should settle down and sleep through most of the night. By the time the eight days are over, they should have gotten used to the earlier bedtime and will probably be tired by the time 7pm comes around, making it easier to get them to bed. Do note, however, that every child’s sleeping pattern is different so you may want to tailor the earlier bedtime schedule or period according to what you think your child will react best to.
Again, consistency is key. Besides following a regular bedtime, prepare your toddlers for bedtime by following a pre-bed routine (eg. put away toys → choose a story book → bath → bedtime story → turn on the night lamp → sleep). By allowing them to choose the bedtime story beforehand, you are building the anticipation for the bedtime story and making them look forward to getting into bed. You may also want to include some activities to suit their needs such as checking under the bed for monsters before the bedtime story or saying prayers before turning on the night lamp. This pre-bed ritual will definitely help the little ones wind down faster so that you can finally get some peace and quiet after a long day.
The easiest way to get toddlers to sleep through the night is to tire them out during the day. Getting them active with games like catch or hide and seek in the day (especially in the evening, right before dinner) can be helpful in helping them achieve a restful sleep. On top of that, ensure that they do not have screen time before bed. The harmful rays from the phone and television screens will cause a severe drop in the sleep hormone, melatonin, causing restlessness and poor quality sleep. Additionally, serving them bedtime snacks will also prove helpful in getting them to sleep throughout the night. This does not mean ice-cream or sweets though. Go for healthy foods that have tryptophan (an amino acid that promotes drowsiness). This can be found in kid favorites such as milk, bananas, yoghurt and cheese. A small serving of strawberry yoghurt or a warm glass of milk will help the little ones relax and induce sleep.
If your little one constantly resists bedtime and wails at odd hours for your attention, you may want to try setting up a rewards system. The incentives do not have to be material per se, it could also be a small scoop of ice cream after dinner, an extra story at bedtime or half an hour at the playground. Set up a board to keep track of their behaviour and let them know that there are consequences if they misbehave. For example, award them a sticker to paste on the board in the morning if they have been good the night before. If they misbehaved, you may choose to take a sticker off or not give them a sticker, based on your parenting style. For every seven stickers, they get a “reward”. This will make them think twice about crying out every time they wake up and will get them to fall back to sleep without disturbing you rather quickly.