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9 Old Wives' Tales About Getting Toddlers To Sleep That Work

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In the daylight hours you might be the most rational person ever, relying on peer-reviewed journals for your information. But if you're struggling to get a kid to sleep, suddenly everything from magic spells to superstitions are on the table. It's good to know the old wives' tales about getting toddlers to sleep that work, because these tips back folk wisdom with research. It's the best of both realms.

Believe it or not, the old-school ways to help kids fall asleep might actually work. Everything from warm milk to sheep counting could very well encourage your toddler to finally get some shut-eye for the night. At the very least, your kid will get some counting skills in while imagining little lambs, so it's kind of a win in any situation.

Although you may not want to try flipping your kid (yes, this was once a thing), most of these ideas are pretty safe. Snacks, naps, and solid bedtime routines are all potentially useful tricks to have up your sleeve, and they've helped generations of toddlers finally doze off. Perhaps your overtired toddler doesn't need a sleep training app or other device. Sometimes the traditional ways of meeting parenting needs still work. Hopefully, these tips can help your child, too.

1Have Them Count Sheep

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Sure, it just might be the most cliche take on sleeping ever. But according to Kidspot, using mental imagery to get sleepy has been shown to work. This may be why bedtime stories are so popular.

2Give Them A Bedtime Snack

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Sometimes snacks really are the answer. As noted by Active Beat, something like a banana — which contains magnesium, a muscle relaxer — just might help your little one power down. If nothing else, your kid won't be kept awake by hunger.

3Pour A Glass Of Warm Milk

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Again, some of these things became folk remedies for a reason. And as it turns out, warm milk can indeed help a toddler drift off, according to Baby Center. It likely brings back pleasant nursing memories.

4Use A Night Light

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This one is a bit controversial, but according to Baby Sleep Advice, a night light can offer your toddler a sense of reassurance. It may be extremely helpful if your kid is afraid of the dark. Not all parents are fans of the idea, though, and suspect a night light could disrupt sleeping patterns. It's up to you and your kid.

5Rock The Kiddo

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This is another somewhat controversial option. But according to Baby Center, rocking your toddler to sleep can be a part of the bedtime routine. It's all up to you, your parenting philosophies, and your child's fatigue level.

6Let The Child Nap

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Sure, your kid is probably growing out of the need for naps, but you may not want to abandon the practice entirely. According to Parents, naps are still critical for active toddlers. They may prevent your kid from getting overtired, which is a somewhat terrifying state of hyperactivity.

7Stick To A Bedtime Routine

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Yeah, it's been suggested about a million times. But a solid bedtime routine, especially if it includes a warm bath, can help your toddler relax into slumber, as noted by Baby Center. This could very well translate into more easy sleep.

8Get Sunshine & Fresh Air

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My grandmother used to say kids need plenty of sunshine to grow. But spending time in natural light might also help your little one sleep better, too. According to The Telegraph, children appear to sleep longer when they get plenty of sunlight. An afternoon in the park might help your little one doze off more readily at bedtime.

9Use A Stuffed Animal Protector

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Toddlers can have outsized imaginations, and their dark bedroom can become a hiding place for all kinds of monsters. You can, however, encourage them to have a stuffed animal protector at night, according to Parents. Generations of kids have dozed off hugging teddy bears for this very reason.