“69% of all children have sleep-related issues couple of time every week”— Sleepforkids.org
It’s frustrating to get a toddler to sleep! It happens with every parent and the nights become ever more sleepless.
However, it could get easier if you follow some simple techniques. Yes, a single technique might not be enough. You can combine everything and hope that some magic happens.
And..it did for me, so it could do for you too!
Here’s a list of 5 things that can make your child fall asleep.
1. BEDTIME ROUTINE IS EVERYTHING
The one thing that truly matters is your kid’s sleeping schedule. Most kids will have a natural sleeping time but here’s the trick, keep the wake up time more or less fixed. So, when he lives through the day, he will become tired soon and go to sleep earlier.
You can also include little activities before bedtime to trigger sleep. For my kids, I stick with stories and sometimes bathing. What happens is the moment your child does these activities, his body and mind gets prepared for what’s coming next: sleep!! Once he gets habituated to the routine, it will hopefully continue to his adulthood.
2. PREVENTION FROM ALLERGENIC MATERIALS
A 2001 study confirms that allergies and insomnia have a close connection in school-aged children. And as a parent you want to eliminate every reason for sleeping problems if possible.
Complying with safe foods is essential. In this case, safe food means foods that your kid is not allergic to. Even a little thing like a pillow can trigger allergic reactions. The best solution is organic pillows. These pillows are made from 100% organic cotton and unlike artificial fibers they are totally toddler-safe. Follow this guide for more!
3. REDUCE STRESS FACTOR BEFORE SLEEPING
Two of the most common pre-sleep stress factors are the TV and your smartphone screens. What these both have in common is light emission. This can hamper the production of Melatonin which is greatly responsible for sleep and relaxation.
Make sure to stop all screen activities at least an hour before sleep (at least that worked out for me). You want your toddler to feel calm and less excited. Excess noise, glossy lights and late night movies can also increase the stress. Your child’s room should be noise-free and have dimmed light to create that cozy and quiet atmosphere for sleep.
4. PHYSICAL EXERCISE
Did you know physical exercise can actually make getting to sleep faster in toddlers? I didn’t know the science behind it, but my basic logic said, make them tired to let them sleep sooner.
A 2014 study confirms that and found that every hour of idleness can convert to 3 minutes of additional time to fall asleep! So, if you reverse engineer that, your child will be sleeping earlier if you can make them play or exercise for at least an hour a day.
A good place to start might be cycling or kick scooters! If outdoor isn’t convenient, you can utilize your small bedroom space to play creative games. Fun and sleep doesn’t always have to be opposite!!
5. BEDTIME FADING
Many children associate sleeping to fear and stress. So, they end up sleeping late. Some parents even get tired and take drastic steps like punishment or even medication. But these are harmful for the baby.
The easiest way is to try out bedtime fading. This technique involves naturally shifting to a routine that your toddler loves.
You can do that by first understanding his current routine. Then start with a 30 minutes delay from his current sleeping time for a few days.
If he falls asleep within 15 minutes, stick with that. If it takes longer, make sleeping time later. If all goes well, you can slowly decrease the sleeping time and reach the desired routine.
Don’t rush the process. Sleeping is a natural act. You can only control a few things. Give your kid enough time to cope up. Taking harsh measurements will create a long term trauma that can harm your kid more than not sleeping at the right time. Do it slowly and take a long term approach.