Many parents face issues when trying to get their children to sleep. When parenting infants and toddlers, the major goal is usually to get the child to sleep throughout the night. While young infants need to awaken several times in the night to eat, by the time a child reaches 9 to 12 months of age, sleeping through the night becomes a reasonable expectation. However, just as children reach a stage of physically being able to sleep through the night, a toddler's emotional need for independence and autonomy can cause problems. Fortunately, you can take steps to encourage your toddler to get to sleep and stay asleep.
Keep your toddler busy during the day. If your child has not been physically active, she will have pent up energy at night that will make getting to sleep very difficult.
Observe your child in the evening to identify when he becomes sleepy. A consistent time for bed should be established based on this observation. Don't wait for your child to become overtired and cranky to begin bedtime.
Assess your child's sleep environment. The area should be dark, quiet and kept at a comfortable temperature. Be sure that your child's sleep clothing is comfortable and well suited for the weather.
Establish a bedtime routine that ideally takes about 15-20 minutes. Choose soothing activities such as reading, singing, or bathing to do during this time. Make sure that once you have set up a routine, you stay with it. Consistency is important.
Allow your child choices within your nightly sleep routine, such a which pajamas to wear or what song to sing. Giving your child the opportunity to have input will allow her to feel a sense of structured independence.
Things You'll Need
Children's books or CDs (optional)
Stuffed animal or blanket (optional)
If your child wakes during the night, do not turn on lights or get him out of bed. Remind him that it is still sleep time, and gently rub his back or sing a song until he falls back to sleep.
Give your child a soothing object, such as a stuffed animal or blanket, that he associates only with sleeping. Give him the object when you begin your sleep routine, and put it away in the morning.
Never use going to bed as a punishment. If your child begins to associate negativity or being in trouble with his bed, it will make sleep much more difficult.
Be sure that your child's bed is in a safe location, away from any hanging blinds or heaters.
Remove excessive blankets or toys from her bed, as these can pose a suffocation hazard.
If your child covers her face with a blanket during sleep, be sure all of her blankets are of a loose weave and made from breathable fabrics.