12-18 months

PLAYING: How to Handle Toddler Sleep Problems

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How to Handle Toddler Sleep Problems

When your toddler won’t sleep it can be frustrating. Here are our tips and tricks for helping your toddler sleep better.

3 mins to read Jun 27, 2022

You know they’re tired, but they refuse to sleep—and you try as hard as you can, but the land of sleep seems but a distant dream to you. Here are a few tips to help with your toddler’s sleep, from baby night-lights to soothing sounds for your toddler.

  1. Aim for consistent naptimes and bedtimes. Going through a regular routine and talking them through it can be comforting and help your toddler understand that it’s sleep time.
  2. Be ready for some unsettled nights when they go from a cot into their ‘big kid bed’ for the first time, it might take them a little while to re-adjust to this new normal. Any small change can have a big effect on bedtime.
  3. Give them little choices to help them feel in control of bedtime. Some main activities will need your control, such as dinner, bath and bedtime. Allowing your toddler to make smaller decisions such as which pyjamas to wear, book to read, will get them into a collaborative mindset and they will likely resist bedtime less.
  4. If they’re afraid of the dark or being alone in their room you can try a night-light (bonus: let them pick one) or leave the door ajar and let them know that you are a safe distance away.
  5. Self-settling is an important skill for toddlers to have. If your toddler needs to be rocked or held to sleep you can try to pat them or cuddle them in their bed, and then walk away once they’re comfortable or have fallen asleep.
  6. Playing background noise (like white noise) for a short time when they’re falling asleep can help to soothe your toddler. Having your toddler learn to sleep with noise around might help them when you’re out and about. Look for apps or go on YouTube.
  7. Give your toddler time to self-soothe if they’re starting to fuss. Be nearby if your toddler needs it to give them assurance but avoid picking up your little one or taking them out of their room if they cry. If they learn they can make a fuss to get out of sleep time, they might keep trying it.
  8. Try a small snack before bed if hunger is waking them up. Some milk or a healthy snack such as fruit before they brush their teeth for the night might help them stay asleep.

It can be frustrating, but toddler sleep is sometimes difficult. If you continue to struggle with your toddler’s sleep, reach out to your healthcare professional for advice.