Good sleep habits are beneficial for all of us. Lack of sleep in adults makes one go low on energy, feeling tired, exhaustive and less active but if toddlers do not get proper and adequate sleep they even show aggression in behaviour. There is no universal bedtime rule or routines for toddlers, so you need to address sleep issues considering the sleep needs and the routine that fits you best. Whether it is a pajama change, a bath, a massage or even a long lullaby with a cuddle, the routine is all your decision. However, some basic routines that you need to monitor are listed as below:
Milk Bottle: If you have been giving a milk bottle to make your toddler sleep till now, stop it immediately as it is not a good habit. The older he gets, the more difficult to get rid of this habit. You may spread something with bitter taste on the nipple of the bottle to make your toddler dislike it. Those who are strongly in routine of sleeping with the bottle may find it difficult initially, but they will settle down soon. Replace the bottle with lots of love, kisses and cuddles; use stories to make them sleep once you take the bottle away from them. It might take time is very much doable.
Dinner on Time: Proper sleep always evades an empty stomach making it is very necessary to have dinner on time. Snacking before dinner time is not recommended, and it is important to stick to schedules for meals.
Empty The Bladder: Make sure your toddler goes the loo before getting into bed .This will ensure uninterrupted sleep. (Some toddlers need to go the loo once between their 10-12 hours sleep).
Brushing Teeth: Even if he does not go to preschool, it is good to establish the habit of brushing teeth before going to bed. This saves time when he starts going to school as by the time he would be habitual of it.
Putting to Sleep: Once the story or book reading time is over, minimize the lights and lie down with him quietly. If you have plans to shift him to another bed in future, you need to work for it from now. Do not make his habit of sleeping too close to you for the whole night. Once you make him sleep shift a little away from him and let him sleep, if he wakes up at night, which is very usual, wait for a few seconds and let him resettle on his own. Only if he is unable to settle on his own, cuddle and pat him back to sleep.
Timing: If you want to establish good sleep habits in toddler you need to do it at right time. If he is already undergoing potty training or any other thing, do not start anything else. Remember incorporating good habits should not be stressful otherwise chances for the success becomes less.
Some toddlers have the habit of sleeping only on the same bed and only at home. If you are out it becomes hard for you to make them sleep at a hotel or at a relative’s house. Carry some stuff like his bed sheet or his toys with whom he feels comfortable and is able to sleep peacefully. It is wise not to encourage any such habits, you may make him sleep at different places once in a while. Whatever you do, make sure you carry the ritual till his bedroom, lest he feels that bedroom is the place where he is dumped for the rest of the night.