For the most part, my son sleeps through the night. He has done so since he was about 3 months old. There are some nights he will cry out and need to be consoled, but on the whole, he’s a very good sleeper. I think some of the reasons for this is things we have (or have not) done since he was born. The following are some tips to help you get your little ones snoozing peacefully, allowing you to get more rest yourself!
1. Develop a bedtime routine. For most young children, it is important to know what to expect each day. However, in a world that is super busy and sporadic, it’s hard to stick to a schedule all the time. Giving them the comfort of having a routine for bedtime allows them a high level of comfort. It also helps them wind down for the day so they can sleep restlessly.
2. Give a snack before bed. This can be incorporated into the night time routine. It shouldn’t be a large snack…just something that will hold them over until morning. Carbs are usually the best for a child about to go to sleep. I actually used to think protein was better, but it can actually give them energy, which could make it hard to sleep. Good bedtime snacks include bananas, toast, peanut butter, and mandarin oranges.
3. Allow your child to sleep in his own bed. Some parents are strong proponents of co-sleeping, or at least having the kid sleep in the same room. However, this can be fitful sleep for some little ones. Every movement given off from the parents can be heard or felt, and could wake a light sleeper. My son actually woke up often during the night until we put him in his own room. Even now, when he’s napping or sleeping, he wants to do it alone.
4. Use music or other white noise if needed. Some toddlers, mine included, cannot sleep when it’s too quiet or noisy. Since we moved him into his own room, he has went to sleep with music. He has a small bedtime music box that plays a few different tunes. It can be set to play for one hour. By the time the music turns off, he is usually snoozing away.
5. Schedule naps during the day. It may sound strange that this can help nighttime sleeping, but it actually can! It helps by allowing them to rest during the day so they are not over-tired at night. There is nothing worse than a cranky toddler who is extremely tired but cannot sleep well because of the fatigue. Be consistent with the naps…try to schedule them at the same time and for the same length each day, even on weekends.
6. Give your child a sleeping buddy. Whether it be a soft toy, plush animal, or small blanket, comforting objects can sometimes take a restless toddler to one that sleeps well through the night.
Of course, these tips aren’t 100% effective, and what you should do with vary with each child. Try these suggestions and see if any work for you, especially if you are dealing with a child that doesn’t care to sleep a full 8-10 hours each night!