Let me first say, I am so sorry that you are struggling. Having a toddler who still struggles to fall asleep and stay asleep at night can be exhausting both for the parents and the child.
The main reason that toddler usually have trouble sleeping through the night, is because they have not yet learned independent sleep skills. What that means is that they need an external strategy to help them fall asleep and can not use their own internal strategy. Most external strategies that a toddler needs to fall asleep are feeding to sleep, co-sleeping with parents, or having the caregiver or parent lay with them in order to fall asleep.
Another reason that your toddler might be struggling to sleep through the night is their schedule. They might be getting too much day sleep or too little or they might be going to bed too early or too late.
If your toddler is suffering from anxiety or bedtime fears, this could also be a cause for difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
So, what can you do to help them?
Start with these three tips and see if it improves:
- Teaching your child independent sleep skills at the toddler age can be difficult, but definitely can be done! Try a sleep rules chart to help them understand what is expected of them at night and a bedtime routine chart to help them visualize and help their body and mind get ready for sleep.
- Check your child’s nap schedule and their bedtime. Are they sleeping too much or too little? Is there bedtime a bit too early or a bit too late? Most children over the age of 18 months need 1.5 to 3 hours of sleep in one nap and their bedtime should be between 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm. Move their nap and bedtime in 15 -30-minute intervals every three days.
- If your child is struggling with anxiety or nighttime fears, there are a few tactics to try. At bedtime, try some calming meditation (there are may apps that have mediation for toddlers). You can also try some relaxing stretches before they get in bed. For fears, try a “Worry Eater Jar.” Have them write down or draw their worry on a small piece of paper and then put it into the jar. Overnight, remove the worry from the jar and show them the worry eater took care of it! Please see my other blog post for more information here .
If you are still struggling with your toddlers sleep, I invite you to reach out and book a call with me. It is complimentary and I am happy to give some more relaxation and anxiety tips, as well as tell you how I might be able to help get your toddler sleeping better. Teaching them independent sleep skills at this age can be challenging, but my strategies could have them sleeping happily in just a short amount of time. You can book that call here.