Convincing your toddler to get a sound night's sleep takes so much effort and patience. It's often a battle where the child end sup winning as the parent gazes down in defeat. In times like these, it's helpful to know about the toddler sleep problems that aren't really a big deal. Sometimes your kid's desire to fight sleep is simply part of growing up.
To a large extent, sleep is a learned behavior. It takes time and practice to learn how to self-soothe yourself into a slumber, fall back asleep after waking in the night, and realize that you are not being attacked by a chainsaw-wielding man in a mask. Heck, I'm a grown-ass woman and I still struggle with the most basic sleep concepts. It happens.
Getting enough shut-eye is crucial for all people, though, especially young children. In fact, toddlers require about 11 to 14 hours of sleep per day, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Despite their need for so much rest, toddlers sure can spent a lot of time fighting sleep. Maybe they struggle with the fear of missing out on fun stuff when they're unconscious? Whatever the case, most kids this age can delay bedtime for hours, and then do some weird stuff when they finally do sleep. Although it can be annoying (and sometimes hilarious), many sleep issues are perfectly normal for this age group.
1. They Prefer Your Bed
To be fair, almost anyone would prefer a giant adult bed to a tiny toddler setup. As much as you want the space to yourself, it doesn't hurt to share with your little one every so often. Many parents share a bed with their child well into the toddler years, according to the website for Parents, with no apparent ill effects. It's up to you to decide whether the family bed will be the norm for a bit longer.
2. They Need A Snack
Plenty of toddlers continue to wake up at night expecting food, according to the Seattle Children's Hospital. This makes sense, considering a toddler is not that far removed from the nightly feedings of babyhood.
3. They Experience Nightmares
Your kid's imagination is growing, sometimes with spooky results. Many toddlers experience nightmares, and they're largely unpreventable, according to Kids Health. It might take your little one some time to understand the difference between dreams and reality.
4. They Wake Up Several Times
Sometimes toddlers spring out of bed as soon as you tuck them in, then repeat this process several times. It's pretty common toddler behavior, and there's no single method that will make your toddler stay in bed all night, according to ChildrensMD. Even something as simple as falling back asleep at night is a learning process.
5. They Twitch While Sleeping
Does your kid shake and move while sleeping? They aren't possessed. Toddlers often twitch and jerk when falling asleep, according to Babble. As long as the movements are minor, this twitching generally isn't a cause for concern.
6. They Stall For Bedtime
How many extra glasses of water can one kid need? Toddlers will find any excuse in the book to stay up a few minutes longer. Sure, you're being played, but it's kind of adorable and pretty normal.
7. They Wake Before The Dawn
If you thought getting the kid to bed was rough, try making them stay there through the morning. Sometimes toddlers wake up super early due to the lighter phases of sleep, according to Baby Sleep Site. You're probably waking up in the predawn hours too, but you know how to glance at the clock and pass out again. Your kid, however, may take a little time to learn that lesson.
8. They're Super Wired
You say "bedtime" but your kid hears "get set, go." Many toddlers run laps around the house when you'd rather have them in wind-down mode. It's equal parts annoying and adorable, but take heart: the crash is likely to follow soon.
9. They Freak Themselves Out
Your kid's growing imagination can conjure up all sorts of scary things in the dark. Plenty of toddlers experience some form of bedtime anxiety and fear, according to Baby Sleep Site. Maybe checking under the bed for monsters will just be part of the bedtime routine for a bit.
10. They Rock & Head Bang
If your kid tends to rock out at bedtime, it's probably fine. Lots of toddlers use rocking and head banging movements as a way to self-soothe, according to Baby Center. Although they look like they're jamming, it's a way to wind down for sleep.
11. They Sweat Like A Pig
Is your toddler running a secret CrossFit gym at night? If not, it's difficult to explain the excessive sweatiness. Nighttime perspiration often occurs in the deepest phases of sleep, and it's perfectly normal for toddlers, according to Baby Center. Sometimes sweat happens.