It's common for young children to have trouble sleeping at night, particularly if they are being weaned off sleeping infrequently at night and are being pushed to last through an entire night of sleep without waking up. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average American child only gets 11.7 hours of sleep per night, when 12 to 14 hours are recommended. If your toddler is missing out due to problems falling asleep, there are several things you can do.
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Use a Night-light
If your child is waking up at night and becoming upset, it could be due to the lack of light. Toddlers can become confused and upset when they wake up in a dark room and can't see anything. An easy way to settle this is to place a night-light in your child's bedroom, illuminating the room without putting out enough light that it distracts your child and keeps him awake. This will help your child settle down and fall asleep faster without having to bother you. Set a timer on the nightlight to turn off when morning arrives so your toddler can see when it is time to get up.
Serve Bedtime Snacks
Going to bed hungry can make it difficult for your toddler to fall asleep, but feeding her the wrong foods could make her hyperactive and make sleep even more difficult to achieve. A bedtime snack is not a bad idea if done properly. The ideal snack should be high in carbohydrates and calcium, with moderate to low amounts of protein. Suggestions include whole-grain cereal and milk or a banana and cottage cheese. Experiment with what your child prefers and use it shortly before bedtime to facilitate sleeping.
Establish a Bedtime Routine
People are creatures of habit, and toddlers are no different. You can help prepare your child's mind and body for bed by creating a nightly bedtime routine that signals the start of sleep. Your routine could include giving a child a bath, playing a quiet game, dressing for bed and reading a bedtime story. Make an effort to do things in the same order every night, holding your children to a set bedtime every night.