While the previous blog explored the most common reasons why toddlers experience sleep troubles, here we will explore some ways to resolve the issues and get that much needed rest for all the family
Consider whether your child is feeling unwell due to either issues like teething or other medical issues. Ensure that the child is not in pain or uncomfortable when trying to sleep and that their needs were met before going to bed (for example they are not thirsty or too hot or too cold)
Check whether your toddler feels more comfortable with a dark room, or a night light, whether they are feeling safe in their bed and so on. If they have a big bed, it may be they are feeling alone and adding a pillow or stuffed animals next to them would help.
- Consistency, patience, routine!
While it may be frustrating, maintaining a patient and consistent approach will benefit you and your child. Professionals in the field recommend that if a child is getting out of bed, a parent should guide them back to their bed calmly or possibly spending some time outside their room until they fall asleep, calmly reminding them to stay in bed if they try to get out. While it may be tempting to allow your child to sleep in your bed all night, this may prolong the sleep regression and make it more difficult for them to get used to their own bed. If they wish to play in their bed until they are able to sleep, let them do so, as long as it is a gentle calming activity.
Routine is also key. Check if the food they are eating in the evenings is causing digestion issues and ensure that they have a regular routine as much as possible. Encourage short nap times or possible quiet times during the same times each day and try to keep a consistent evening routine, including a similar bedtime each night, keeping in mind that toddlers need around 12-13 hours of sleep.
Remember that this phase is normal and as long as you have ruled out any medical concerns, try to stay calm and support your child in this time and you will most likely see a change in a few weeks time.
Michaela Pace is a Psychology graduate from the University of Malta. She has worked with children and adolescents within the social sector and currently works as a Triage Officer and Volunteer Manager with Willingness Team, while pursuing a Masters in Gestalt Psychotherapy.