5 smart sleep tricks for toddlers

by Mother & Baby |

Your restless toddler is the offending party, but no amount of cosmic ordering will stop him pulling an all-nighter.

Luckily, there are other ways to get through eight hours of uninterrupted.

Your toddler is finally in bed and you’ve collapsed gratefully onto the sofa. Then you hear a pitter-patter and a little face appears. He’s scared. He wants water. He needs a trip to the loo...

Toddlers seem to have an in-built need to test the boundaries at bedtime. If he’s not well, it’s understandable.

However, if there’s nothing wrong and he’s still not playing ball – either by refusing to go to sleep or waking up the whole house at the crack of dawn – it’s exhausting for everyone.

But, however strict your bedtime routine (or stubborn you think your toddler is), you can teach him to play by your rules with our mantras for tired mums.

Repeat after us: ‘I am the boss of the bedroom…’

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1) Don’t let him get overtired

When a toddler gets overtired, he goes past the point of falling asleep and enters the badlands of fatigue-crazed hyperactivity.

This leads to poor quality sleep, making him more prone to waking early.

"If your toddler has sleeping issues at night, look at how much rest he’s getting during the day," says sleep expert Tina Southwood.

"Most toddlers need around two hours of naptime during the day, until they’re around 30 months old. If possible, put him down just after lunch, so he’s not overtired at bedtime."

Your action plan:

Respond to the signs that your toddler is tired. If he’s whining, rubbing his face, turning away or twiddling his hair, whisk him off for a lie-down.

"Some toddlers really fight their need to nap," says Kim West, family therapist and author of Good Night, Sleep Tight.

"Try walking him in his buggy or driving him in the car. Motion sleep is better than no sleep."

If your child is overtired by the evening, bring bedtime forward.

Do you have any tips for putting your toddler to sleep? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

Now read:

The real reason a bedtime routine is important

7 reasons why your toddler may be waking in the night

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