Establishing Healthy Sleep Habits: Toddler

A quarter of a person’s life is spent sleeping. Developing good sleep habits needs to begin as soon as possible in your child’s life to help their health and well-being. To make sure you establish healthy sleep habits for your toddler, consider the following.

toddler sleep

Establish a Consistent Bedtime Routine

Toddlers typically need fourteen hours of sleep each day, including naps. Generally speaking, your toddler will obtain twelve hours of sleep each night. A predictable routine and structure helps your child get sufficient sleep. Begin your evening routine with dinner. After your toddler eats, give them a nice, relaxing bath and then have them engage in quiet play until about thirty minutes prior to bedtime. Avoid active play which excites a toddler and can make sleep difficult. Place your toddler in bed, read a book or sing a song, provide hugs and kisses, turn out the lights and leave the room. Toddlers should be settled in their bed not later than 7:30 p.m.

Prepare the Sleep Area

Your toddler’s room should be dark and cool, no warmer than 21° Celsius. A ceiling fan is ideal during the warmer months of the year. The white noise provided by the fan also helps some toddlers sleep. Additionally, some children respond well to a musical toy or relaxing, sleep-sound CD.

Make sure your child’s sleep area is safe. Provide a nightlight for trips to the restroom during potty training. Take time to help your child put away toys and clothes so there are no tripping hazards on the floor.

Provide soft, clean, and cosy bedding. Use the appropriate weight sheets and blankets for the season of the year. Pillows should be toddler sized for safety and comfort.

Teach Your Toddler Good Sleep Habits

Babies seem to sleep all the time. However, your toddler needs to develop good sleep habits. This includes self-soothing – falling back to sleep and staying in bed when awakened in the night. Also, establish consistent sleep and wake-up times and adhere to them daily.

If your toddler has a favourite object they wish to take to bed at night – a stuffed animal, favourite blanket, or special toy – let them do so if it helps with sleep. Just make sure the comforting object has nothing that can detach and provide a choking hazard.

Tips to Help Your Toddler Establish Good Sleep Habits:

  • Be consistent. Your toddler needs to know what to expect, so bedtime should be at the same time every night.
  • Provide for comfort. If your toddler wants a night-light on or a drink of water, provide it. However, don’t allow this to be a delaying tactic.
  • Avoid letting your child sleep in your bed as doing so makes it more difficult to fall asleep alone.
  • When your toddler calls out for you, wait before responding, making the length of time longer each time. Eventually they will realize it is time to sleep if you keep reminding them they need to do so.
  • Be patient. It takes some time for your toddler to be comfortable sleeping alone at night in their own room.

Most children are able to sleep through the night by 4 to 6 months of age. By age 2, your toddler should be sleeping, on average, 9 to 10 hours per night without issue. With a little effort and consistency, you can help your toddler get a good night’s sleep and be ready for those active toddler days.

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