Many toddlers will do anything to avoid falling asleep ⎯ crying, asking for drinks of water, even getting out of bed. Follow these guidelines to help with toddler sleep training.
Getting enough sleep is essential for your toddler’s healthy development, not to mention your sanity. Here’s how to help your child slow down, switch gears, and head off into the Land of Nod.
Create a routine
Start each night with a relaxing routine. Changing into pajamas, brushing his teeth, and washing his face every night will help establish that these are the things that happen before bedtime. Other calming activities include listening to quiet music, reading a story, or having a bath. Resist the urge to play with your toddler, as this will make him excited rather than relaxed.
Stick with the same routine every night. When bedtime rolls around, he’ll know what is expected of him.
Make bedtime comfortable
Let your child take her beloved teddy bear or blanket to bed with her. Allow one drink of water and then turn on a nightlight before closing the door.
Pause before answering a call
Children this age are likely to call out to you after you leave the room. With each entreaty, wait a few seconds longer. When you do answer, remind her that it’s bedtime. If you go into her room, leave the light off and make it quick.
Teaching a toddler good sleep habits doesn’t happen overnight. Keep doing the same thing at bedtime and eventually your toddler will learn to go along with the plan.