Just like adults, toddlers sometimes find it difficult to settle down to sleep.This may be due to stresses such as teething, being overtired, or having a change in routine.
Here are some tips for helping your toddler settle:
- Help her understand what to expect by giving a kiss and saying: "Now it's time to sleep." Your toddler will gradually learn what this means.
- Teach your toddler that it's bedtime by putting him into bed while awake. This will help him learn to settle and fall asleep independently.
- Your toddler may have become used to being nursed and rocked to sleep as a baby. As she gets older, help her learn to fall asleep without your help. That way, if she wakes up at night, she'll know how to settle herself. You can do this by gradually putting your toddler down to sleep a little sooner - first before your toddler is sound asleep, and then before her eyes have closed.
- Don't try to sneak out. Instead, try patting your toddler gently and quietly, singing a quiet song over and over, playing some relaxing quiet music and staying nearby. When your toddler is settling, say "Goodnight" and leave.
- If your toddler is having a hard time settling, use this as your "me" time. Sit in a chair close by and read, listen to soft music, or just relax. Over a few days, move the chair farther and farther away until your toddler is independent.
- If your toddler seems afraid of the dark or is just more comfortable with some light, plug in a nightlight or leave the door open and turn on a light outside the room.
- Keep your toddler’s sleeping area quiet.
Your Comfort Level
Your toddler may not easily let go of habits such as being rocked to sleep or held until asleep. Parents have different comfort levels when it comes to letting a toddler cry when settling to sleep. If you are comfortable with it and know your toddler is not ill or hurt, try letting him cry for short periods of time. Make sure you check regularly until he falls asleep.