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Healthy Sleeping Habits For Toddlers
The sleeping hours for a child changes as he or she grows and becomes more active. An infant sleeps almost all day whereas a toddler does not require as much sleep. But this does not mean that the need for sleep becomes less significant. Regardless of age, sleep is of utmost importance and healthy sleeping habits should start during the stage of infancy, or it may be even more difficult to develop and maintain a proper routine when they are toddlers.
But it is never too late. We can still help our toddler to form healthy sleeping habits. Slowly, but surely, we will get there. And we can do so by practising the following:-
1. Establish a bedtime routine
When establishing a bedtime routine for your toddler, include activities that will help him be comfortable and ready for bed. Things like brushing teeth, taking a bath or shower, getting into comfy pyjamas, reading a story, turning off the lights, keeping the room dark, giving him a hug, and tucking him into bed can do the trick. Do not involve activities that will stimulate your toddler as that will keep him awake for longer.
2. Establish pre-bedtime routine
As adults, starting a routine can be difficult, even more so when maintaining one. What more toddlers? Suddenly going into the established bedtime routine may not be something toddlers can switch to so easily. What you can do is start the routine even earlier. Allow your toddler some downtime before doing the routine. You can do this by cutting off screen time by not letting him play with phones or watch tv, and having some quiet time together.
3. Ensure toddler is not hungry or too full
Being too full before bed can be uncomfortable and makes it even harder for a toddler to fall asleep. The same goes if he is hungry. This can cause some fussiness, or your child may use it as a tactic to stay up longer. Avoid feeding him too close to bedtime. If he is hungry, you can give him light snacks like fruit, perhaps about an hour or so before bedtime.
4. Ensure regular sleeping and waking times
The whole point of having a routine is to establish a regular pattern. Doing it every day will make your toddler’s body clock get used to it. However, it can be difficult to sleep and wake up at the exact same time every day, even with a routine. So, you should make sure that your toddler’s sleeping time does not stray too much from day to day. Have him go to bed within 1-2 hours of each bedtime, and wake up within 1-2 hours of each waking time. By doing this, you are also making sure that he gets sufficient rest.
5. Keep the bed strictly for sleeping and bedtime routine
Don’t allow any activity other than sleeping to be done on the bed. Whether it be playing with toys, using gadgets, watching tv, or eating. Even during the day, try to keep it off limits. Playtime should be encouraged to be in other rooms to create boundaries, so that your toddler knows that it is time for bed when he gets tucked in. But of course, you can allow for his favourite stuffed toy or a comfort item that helps him sleep comfortably in bed with him.
6. Ensure toddler feels safe and comfortable at night
Some toddlers may be afraid of the dark or being alone if they get their own room. Think monster in the cupboard, boogeyman, ghost under the bed, and how terrifying it can be for a child. So, avoid all kinds of scary movies, games, and stories before bedtime. Always assure and comfort your toddler if he doesn’t feel safe. You can also install a night light for him. But most importantly, reward and praise him when he bravely does it, when he goes to bed on his own even when he is frightened. Bring some positivity to him and it will be a form of motivation to be courageous and independent.
When to Contact a Sleep Consultant
Healthy sleeping habits are so important for both young and old. And if you and your spouse are unable to establish a routine that helps you with that, you can always look at getting toddler sleep family plan packages by a toddler sleep consultant in Singapore. Toddler sleep training in Singapore is a much sought-after service as sleep consultants perform a toddler sleep pattern evaluation on your child before customizing toddler sleep family plan packages as needed. If this sounds like something you need, please do not hesitate to contact me for a FREE 15 minute discovery call.