Toddlers and sleep: talk about a loaded topic. For parents who are trying to get their rambunctious 2 year old to bed each evening, it seems like everyone has an opinion about the best way to help that child sleep through the night. For this reason, it's important to know the toddler sleep myths that are BS, so you don't waste time on things that don't work.
More than likely, the people giving this advice mean well and are only trying to help. But what begins as a simple conversation can turn into a debate about the relative merits of many sleep training techniques. It's exhausting enough to make adults long for a nap.
With that in mind, it's helpful to remember that when it comes to dealing with toddlers, hard facts are few and far between. Different techniques, approaches, and methods to solve problems are where it's at. Because if there's one thing toddlers are famous for, it's unpredictable outbursts of defiance. Add in some sleep deprivation and you have the perfect recipe for a meltdown at any hour of the night. By keeping an open mind, and letting the unhelpful advice roll right past you, sweet dreams for your kid are within reach. . . hopefully.
Myth #1: Never Wake A Sleeping Child
According to Baby Sleep Site, if you're working on nap transitions with your toddler, then you may need to wake the kiddo from a nap to prevent bedtime from falling too late. Sure, nobody likes getting roused from a pleasant sleep, but sometimes it's necessary.
Myth #2: Moving To A Big Kid Bed Will Help
This tip may benefit some families, but it is not always true. As noted on The Fussy Baby, toddlers who no longer use a crib are free to wander in the night, which often means you'll end up with a kid in your bed soon after lights out. Making the move to a big kid bed when the time is right for your family is crucial.
Myth #3: Follow Sleep Methods, Disregard Instincts
Sometimes mom (or dad) really does know best. Even in controlled studies, parents sometimes follow instinct over methodology, according to Psychology Today. If leaving your baby to cry feels wrong, then find another approach. If the sleep training technique seems to work fine, then stick with that.
Myth #4: Later Bedtime Means Later Wake-Up Time
If only this were true. According to Tulsa Pediatric Sleep Consulting, a later bedtime will often result an over-tired kid who is still ready to go at the crack of dawn). Regular bedtimes are crucial for most families.
Myth #5: Night Feedings Are Done After 6 Months
Sure, maybe the scheduled feedings are a thing of the past. But according to HuffPost, a drink of water or even a midnight snack might actually help your toddler sleep better for the rest of the night. After all, plenty of adults need a sip of water here and there through the night.
Myth #6: Kids Should Sleep In Silence
The noise level of your kid's bedroom is a topic that tends toward extremes. Some people insist on maintaining a silent home to help the little one doze, whereas others feel a kid should be able to sleep through anything, including a blaring TV show. Perhaps a middle ground, in which your kid has a subdued noise level for sleep (and maybe a white noise machine) is the approach for your family.
Myth #7: The Only Sleep Training Method Is Cry It Out
For some parents, the cry it out sleep technique works like a miracle; but for others, the constant crying is too much to bear. Thankfully, there are a number of different sleep training techniques for toddlers. Cry it out is not the only game in town.
Myth #8: You Should Disregard Nightmares
A toddler's imagination is a powerful thing, and it can apparently lead to some insane dreams. Sure, you know that there is not an alligator lurking under the bed. To your kid, though, it's all too real. According to Parents, it's important to soothe your kid after a nightmare happens without being overly dismissive. In the kid brain, reality and dream world are still difficult to tell apart.
Myth #9: All Methods Work For All Toddlers
Different approaches to sleep training work for different families. Maybe the neighbor's kid responded immediately to the cry-it-out method, whereas your child prefers the pick-up-put-down technique. The right approach to sleep training is whatever works for your situation.