The terrible twos are the worst, brace yourself for the sleepless threes! There is a myth lurking that needs to be debunked which says that sleep issues go away when babies become toddlers. This is simply not true. If you thought some babies outgrow their sleep problems, most of them who used to take quick naps during the day and wake up often at night, will continue to do so as a toddler too.
Here are some reasons for their behavior and the solutions to curb this to achieve a peaceful night of sleep.
- Jack-in-the-box behavior
This is when you tuck your child in for bed and few minutes later they are out and about similar to a jack-in-the-box toy. For some kids this behavior will be unbelievably persistent. To control this, practice the “silent return to bed” activity which means that every time your child wakes up, do not talk or scream at the child. Instead, put the child back to bed quietly and don’t engage with the child or show them you are upset. This way, your toddler will understand your silence and is most likely not to repeat this behavior.
- Short or missed nap time
There are a lot of transitions in the nap schedule as baby grows into a toddler. These transition periods could take a toll on the toddler as they will have many short naps or late naps or sometimes even skip the naps altogether which affects their sleep at night. If you think your child hasn’t napped enough during the day, try and engage them with some high physical activity in the evenings to make them weary and tired, give them an early dinner and put them to bed. They are sure to doze off immediately.
- Bedtime stalling
Some kids are pure experts when it comes to bedtime stalling. That one more kiss to all their 100 toys or one more story from their bedtime book, just one more cartoon on the TV, well you get the idea right? Although this is frustrating, it is also very common. To avoid this, do not let them sight any of their favorite toys or things right before they hit the bed. If it’s not in sight, it’s not in mind!
- Bedtime anxiety and fear
Kids generally have a budding imagination. While this is a great skill to nurture it can also become a problem for bedtime. The fear of dark and those little monsters under the bed can be quite daunting for the little ones. You could probably switch on a night lamp and comfort your baby to sleep and ensure you are always with them to reduce the anxiety and fear.
- Wide-awake bedtime
You might have followed everything to the T and even completed the bedtime routine but your toddler will show no signs of sleep. Where you are probably going wrong is that, every child requires a 5 hour gap between their nap and sleep time. If your child wakes up from his nap at around 4pm, then his bedtime should be 9pm. Trying to tuck him in prior would be in vain.
- Snack time during bedtime
One major reason why toddlers tend to wake up at odd hours of the night is because they get hungry. And you thought mid-night snacking was an adult thing?! Tsk tsk. Do remember that your child is constantly growing and extremely active during the day which burns a lot of calories in the process. This problem can be fixed by providing a healthy, filling and nutritious meal for their dinner which will keep hunger at bay throughout the night. But ensure that this meal is less in sugar and that your child brushes his teeth post the meal. You could even give your child a glass of warm milk right before they hit bed.