Getting Toddler's To Sleep
Getting a toddler to sleep all through the night can be a stressful ordeal for both the parents and the child. Being woken in the night can leave you tired and grumpy and that is just the parents! The child can also be miserable and lethargic.
It is important to try and establish a bedtime routine to allow the toddler to relax and realise that it is bed time. Getting them undressed for a bath should be fun, but done quietly and calmly. Using lavender oils in the bath or soap that is suitable for relaxation should help to sooth your child. Once they are clean and dressed in their pyjamas, it is important that they are not stimulated, so no loud music, televisions or loud singing. Giving them a warm bottle or beaker of milk or a milk product drink such as "Ovaltine" or "Horlicks", will help to sooth them and feed them up for the night ahead. Before they are completely asleep, place them into their cot or bed, this way they are falling asleep naturally in their own bed and not being rocked or held by you. This will help later on in the night if the toddler wakes up.
If you wish to wait in the room until your child is totally asleep, then make sure that you are quiet and do not move around too much, as this could distract them. Sit quietly by the door, giving your child as little eye contact as possible so that they will not wake up. Having Blackout blinds or curtains in the room may help to keep your child asleep as sometimes the light from outside can be a problem, especially in the summer months. If your child wakes up in the night, try not to pick them up out of the cot as this will encourage them to wake up. Instead, gently turn them over and put them back into their favourite sleeping position. This should encourage the child to go back to sleep naturally without any aid from you or a bottle. Try not to feed your older child at night, as this could become a habit that will be difficult to break. If your child is drinking in the night, try to substitute it with cooled boiled water instead, as this will discourage your child from waking up for a feed.
It might be necessary to allow your child to cry in the cot. This method is called control crying and is used to encourage the child to stop waking up and to get themselves back to sleep. This can be difficult for both the child and the parents, so you need to be committed to the process. In order to help your child to stay in their bedroom and not be scared, a night light can be placed in the corner of the room. This can be activated by movement or be on permanently. A training clock shows what time the toddler is allowed to get out of bed and wake up the parents. This is shown by either a light coming on, or a picture of a clock that is set to a certain time.
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