In a way, struggling with prolonged exhaustion is a prerequisite for joining the ranks of "true" parenthood. Sharing a knowing look with a fellow, bleary-eyed soul in a coffee shop acknowledges an empathetic bond only people with restless tots can understand. If your wallet and digestive system are both taking a hit due to your increased need for caffeine, however, you're probably eager to find ways to help your toddler sleep through the night. You're definitely not alone when it comes to scouring the internet in the predawn hours looking for some kind of solution to your little one's apparent insomnia.
As a mother of a particularly spirited toddler, I'm far too familiar with the stages of attempting to get your child to stay asleep. From trying to convince myself it was just a phase to shamelessly bribing my son, dealing with an erratic bedtime schedule is exhausting to say the least. Though each child is unique — and what works for one family may not work for everybody — it seems there are some universal tips and tricks that will thankfully lull your tot into a solid state of slumber. So before you pour that next cup of coffee, check out these helpful ways to get your child to sleep through the night.
1. Get An Upgrade
If your toddler has trouble sleeping through the night, it may be due to their rapidly growing body. As the Baby Center recommended, transitioning your toddler to a big kid bed can help them to comfortably rest from bedtime until morning. You can do a test run by taking them to the store with you and trying out different bedding options.
2. Give Them A Break
Kids will use pretty much any excuse to justify getting out of bed in the middle of the night. Rather than engaging in a battle of wills, psychology professor Dr. Greg Hanley recommended to Parents that you give your child a "pass" for bedtime that is good for one use only. Ideally, they'll realize they don't actually need to be getting up and down and will eventually outgrow that phase.
3. Provide Some Security
Emotional stress can be one of the reasons your toddler has bedtime difficulties. According to Kids Health, transitioning from baby to big kid can cause separation anxiety in some children. One way to help remedy this situation is to designate something — a blanket, stuffed animal, or other special object — that's just for bedtime. Having a security item can help them sooth themselves back to sleep if they suddenly wake from a bad dream or anxiety.
4. Create A Routine
Whether they'll admit it or not, kids crave predictability. According to What To Expect, establishing a regular bedtime routine for your toddler is a great way to get them used to solid sleep habits. It may take a bit of practice until you find what works best — taking a warm bath, reading stories, singing lullabies — but it'll pay off on the end.
5. Keep It Cool
Getting your toddler to sleep through the night could be as simple as turning down the air conditioner. According to the official site of the Cleveland Clinic, you want to create a quiet, cool, dark sleep environment. What's so special about this type of set up? Loud, unpleasantly warm, and bright settings can, "over-stimulate the child and make it harder for them to fall asleep later," the site further explained. Incorporating this into their bedtime routine can help them wind down.
6. Adjust Naps
Just like you, dozing for too long during the day can throw off your tyke's sleep schedule at night. According to The Baby Sleep Site, toddlers need less sleep and don't nap as often or as long as they did when they were infants. You may need to readjust nap time so that they're not up at all hours of the night.
7. Be Consistent
Simply setting up a big kid bed, establishing a bedtime routine, and modifying naps may not be enough. As pediatric sleep specialist Dr. Dennis Rosen told Psychology Today, being consistent is an important way to help your toddler sleep through the night. Your patience might be pushed to the limit, but soon enough the whole family will reap the benefits of being well-rested.