Do you struggle to get your toddler to sleep each night? With the right routine and strategies, you can help your toddler learn healthy sleep habits and get the rest they need. Here’s how to encourage better sleep for your little one.
Quick facts: Sleeping Tips For Toddlers
- ✅ Consistency is Key – Start and End Times Should Be the Same Every Day – National Sleep Foundation (NSF)
- ✅ Encourage Physical Activity – American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
- ✅ Make Sure the Bedroom Is Calm and Quiet – NSF
- ✅ Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment – AAP
- ✅ Monitor Screen Time – NSF
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Establish a Bedtime Routine
Establishing a consistent bedtime routine is one of the most important steps to helping toddlers sleep well. A bedtime routine can help toddlers learn how to relax and become ready for sleep, and establish a sense of security and predictability.
Having a consistent routine such as reading stories, putting on pajamas, and brushing teeth can help toddlers prepare for sleep and be ready for bedtime much faster.
Establish a consistent bedtime
Establishing a consistent bedtime routine is one of the most important tips for getting toddlers to fall asleep easily. Try to stick to a specific schedule that starts at the same time every night and includes activities to help them drift off. This could be reading stories, having a bath, or singing songs.
Having a calming and soothing atmosphere will help your toddler relax before bed. Make sure you dim the lights and eliminate any distractions like noise or light coming from electronic devices. This will also let them know it’s time for sleep and signal their body that it’s time for rest.
If your toddler isn’t comfortable with the dark, invest in a nightlight or try using calming music or nature sounds that can be played through the night until they are asleep.
Set a calming environment
Setting a calming environment for your toddler’s bedtime routine is key. Choose colors and fabrics that are soothing, like pastel colors and soft cotton sheets. Keep the lighting low and avoid bright colors or screens in the bedroom. Create a space that feels safe, secure, and comfortable for your child.
Incorporating calming activities into the routine can also make it easier for your toddler to wind down at night. Try:
- Reading stories together
- Giving gentle massages
- Playing calming music
- Using an essential oil diffuser to fill the room with a soothing smell.
Anything you can do to help create an atmosphere of relaxation will benefit both you and your child during this special time of day.
Reduce stimulation before bedtime
In order to establish a calming bedtime routine for toddlers, parents should start reducing stimulation before bedtime. Dimming the lights, maintaining a quiet atmosphere, and providing an environment with little to no electronics can help to make it easier for toddlers to feel relaxed and ready for sleep. The timing of the routine should be consistent day after day so that toddlers learn when it is time to go to sleep.
Parents should also include activities in the routine such as calming music, reading stories, or doing a meaningful activity like discussing their day or playing with their favorite stuffed animal. In addition, a warm bath and some cuddle time can go far in helping very young children relax before bedtime.
Understanding each toddler’s individual needs is important in order to create an effective bedtime routine that will provide them with plenty of restful sleep.
Good sleep hygiene is essential when it comes to helping your toddler get a good night’s sleep. Sleep hygiene consists of certain habits and routine that you can take part in to ensure a better night’s sleep. It can help your child stay asleep longer and can even prevent illnesses.
Let’s explore some of the most important sleep hygiene tips you can use to help your toddler get a good night’s sleep:
Keep the bedroom dark
When it comes to establishing a sleep routine for toddlers, keeping the bedroom dark is essential. Ideally, bedrooms should be completely dark and free of any light coming from sources such as a nightlight or street light outside. This helps toddlers adjust to the natural day and night cycle, allowing them to recognize when it’s time for bed.
Having complete darkness in their bedroom can also help toddlers relax at bedtime. The soothing, dark environment signals sleepy time and encourages relaxation—helping them drifting off more easily.
To ensure complete darkness, try blackout shades or curtains on the windows of your toddler’s bedroom. Additionally, do a check around the room and turn off any electronic screens that may emit light (i.e., TVs).
Keep the bedroom temperature comfortable
It is important to keep your toddler’s bedroom temperature comfortable in order to ensure optimal sleep. Because infants and toddlers cannot regulate their body temperatures as well as adults, it is even more important for them to have comfortable sleep conditions.
A temperature that is too warm or too cool can disrupt normal sleep patterns and make it difficult for your child to stay asleep. The ideal temperature range for a good night’s rest is between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit (18-21 degrees Celsius). To help maintain the right temperature, make sure to dress your child in appropriate clothing that’s suitable for the weather. It’s also important to note that babies tend to be more sensitive than adults when it comes to heat—so make sure the room isn’t overly stuffy or warm while they are sleeping.
Use white noise to block out noise
White noise is a sound that masks out loud and sudden noises, helping to foster quiet and peace for your toddler. It is a low level hiss that can be used to block out other distracting sounds, allowing your children to drift off into peaceful sleep. White noise machines are available or you can use a fan in their bedroom if they struggle to settle at night.
White noise is great because it’s background noise that isn’t disturbing, unlike loud noises like traffic or construction sounds. This can help lull your child into a deep sleep without constantly stirring awake due to abrupt sound changes. Additionally, white noise has been proven to help adult relax and fall asleep as well, so try using some white noise yourself or in any shared space.
Eating and Drinking Habits
For toddlers, having healthy eating and drinking habits are essential for getting a good night’s sleep. Scheduling meals at the same times every day and avoiding sugary drinks and snacks close to bedtime can help create healthy habits that will lead to a better night’s sleep.
Let’s explore some other eating and drinking habits that can help your toddler sleep through the night:
Avoid giving your toddler sugary snacks before bed
Toddlers become easily energized on sugary snacks and drinks, making it hard for them to fall asleep. For this reason, it’s important not to give your toddler sugary snacks before bed. Cakes, cookies and candy are especially bad before bedtime as they spike blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels drop again, a phenomenon known as “blood sugar crash,” it can make it difficult for your toddler to settle down to sleep properly.
Instead of sugary snacks and treats before bedtime, opt for healthier choices like:
- Fresh fruits
This can help keep their energy levels consistent through the night and avoid any spikes or drops in blood sugar that could disrupt their sleep patterns.
Offer your toddler a warm drink before bed
Offering your toddler a warm drink before bed is a great way to help them fall asleep and stay asleep. Warm milk, chamomile tea or warm decaffeinated herbal tea are all great options! Warm drinks help to relax your toddler’s body, as well as make them feel comfortable and safe when it’s time to sleep. Make sure the drink isn’t too hot, and avoid giving them any caffeinated beverages as this can make it harder for your toddler to settle down and stay asleep.
Your toddler may also benefit from having a small snack before bedtime, like a piece of fruit or crackers. This will help keep their belly full before sleeping which can lead to longer, deeper sleep throughout the night. Be careful not to give them anything heavy though as it will be harder for them to digest while sleeping.
Avoid giving your toddler caffeine
Caffeine is found in many beverages and foods, like coffee, tea, soda, and even chocolate. It can also be found in some medicines.
Caffeine has been found to be one of the main reasons for sleep problems in toddlers. Toddlers should not be given caffeine as it can interfere with their natural sleeping patterns and lead to sleep deprivation.
- Caffeinated beverages can cause dehydration, which can make it harder for your toddler to fall asleep.
- Additionally, the stimulant effects of caffeine can remain in your toddler’s system up to six hours after consumption, leading to difficulty staying asleep through the night.
It’s best to avoid giving your toddler caffeine altogether as this will help ensure they get a restful night’s sleep.
Sleep training is a technique used to help toddlers establish a regular sleep schedule. It involves teaching your child to sleep independently and come up with a routine that works best for them. With sleep training, parents can understand their child’s sleep patterns and tailor their environment to ensure a good night’s sleep.
Let’s explore the different techniques of sleep training:
Establish a set bedtime
Establishing a consistent bedtime routine for your toddler is key to sleep training success. Setting a standard bedtime gives your child the understanding that their body needs sleep, and that it’s time to wind-down and get ready for rest.
An ideal bedtime routine should include time for your little one to relax with things like reading books or listening to calming music, as well as brushing their teeth and getting ready for bed.
If possible, it’s important to maintain the same schedule throughout the week:
- Go to bed at the same time every night,
- even on weekends,
- so you can reduce the amount of inconsistencies that might interfere with good sleep habits.
Respond to your toddler’s needs in a consistent manner
Responding to your toddler’s needs in a consistent manner is an important part of the sleep training process. If you don’t have a consistent approach to bedtime, it may be difficult for your little one to develop good sleep habits. In order to ensure consistency, set up a routine and stick to it.
Be sure that you are providing plenty of comfort and reassurance but not too much coddling or disruption during the night time hours – this can make the process more difficult.
If your toddler wakes up during the night, try to create a quiet atmosphere so they can feel safe and secure enough to go back to sleep. You may need to provide some additional comfort, such as offering them a hug or cuddle before you leave the room. If they become agitated or distraught, it may be necessary for you or another caregiver to stay in their room until they fall back asleep.
Though it requires patience and perseverance, being consistent in responding to your toddlers needs can help ensure better sleeping habits that will last into adulthood.
Avoid giving your toddler attention when they wake up during the night
When it comes to helping your toddler get a good night’s sleep, one of the most important tips is to avoid giving them attention when they wake up during the night. Although it may be tempting to respond with reassurance or cuddles, don’t give in! The best thing you can do for your little one is teach them how to fall back asleep on their own. You can find more tips on 1 year old sleep training.
By responding to their cries late at night, you could be teaching them that it’s okay to wake up and cry and expect a parent or caregiver’s attention. Instead of immediate responses, you should encourage your toddler to stay in bed until morning. This will allow them to learn how to self-soothe and stay in bed longer. If they do need additional help before morning, try introducing a calming tool such as:
- Reading stories
- Soft music
before returning them back into their own sleeping space.
Bedtime activities can be a great way to help toddlers wind down before they go to bed. These activities may include reading a bedtime story, playing quiet games, or having a bath. These activities can help toddlers relax and be ready for sleep.
Let’s explore the benefits of bedtime activities and how to make them successful:
Read books before bed
Reading books before bed is an excellent bedtime activity for toddlers. Reading to your child helps them to relax and feel close to you, while stimulating their imagination. Choosing a book with beautiful illustrations can also help make the story more enjoyable and engaging.
When it’s time to turn off the lights, choose one or two stories to read together. If your child has a favorite book, let them pick out which one they would like you to read each night. Reading stories with morals such as friendship and kindness can help children understand the importance of these values at an early age.
Additionally, reading bedtime stories can help little ones learn new words and expand their vocabulary. After reading their favorite book, cuddle together and talk about the story before saying goodnight.
Listen to calming music
Listening to calming music before bedtime can help a toddler relax and wind down for the night. Selecting calming music to play at a low volume right when it’s time to go to bed can help a toddler shift away from the active moments of the day into a relaxed state that can ultimately lead to sleep.
The type of music is important, look for softer pieces with slower rhythms that don’t encourage an energetic reaction in toddlers. Consider classical, jazz or even nature sounds like ocean waves. Some parents have also found success in playing background audio books for toddlers at night as well.
Additionally, if your toddler has trouble sleeping through the night, turning on calming music at times when they wake up during the night can be soothing and encourage them to fall back asleep without having a tantrum.
Use a nightlight to help your toddler feel safe
Using a nightlight for your toddler is a great way to help them feel safe and secure in their bedroom. Nightlights are available to buy in a variety of designs and shapes, making them fun and exciting! Nightlights can provide a level of comfort that can be reassuring for young children when it is time for bed.
Nightlights can help your toddler relax mentally, reducing restlessness and promoting sleep. They also help create an inviting atmosphere in the room, which helps foster positive bedtime associations.
It’s important to make sure that the nightlight isn’t too bright or over stimulating though – it should be just enough light to take the darkness away but still keep your child comfortable.
FAQs about: Sleeping Tips For Toddlers
Q: When should toddlers start sleeping through the night?
A: Most toddlers start sleeping through the night by 18 months, although this can vary from child to child.
Q: Is it ok to let my toddler nap during the day?
A: Yes, it is ok to let your toddler nap during the day. Napping helps to ensure that your toddler gets enough rest and has enough energy to learn and play throughout the day.
Q: What is the best way to create a sleep routine for my toddler?
A: The best way to create a sleep routine for your toddler is to make sure they go to bed at the same time every night, have a bedtime routine that includes a bath, stories and lullabies, and limit activity and stimulation in the hour before bedtime.