Babies can wake multiple times a night and catnap, but Toddlers, they have a whole other level of stamina when it comes to bedtime. They know what they want and they tend to put boundaries in place for us, which we agree to, just to keep the peace.
The most common sleep issues I come across in toddlers and preschoolers are, the inability to fall asleep independently and frequent night wake-ups with the need for resettling. But why do these happen? I have listed below my top 5 reasons why you might find bedtime a bit of a battle.
1: Your little one has a strong association with you laying with them or being in their room to fall asleep. This may have happened because of a one off night when you did it to help them settle down and it worked and then all of a sudden it became habitual and routine for them, they need you to fall asleep, and stay asleep.
2: If they require you to lay with them to fall asleep, they will more than likely wake overnight or early morning looking for the same association (you) to resettle. The same applies to falling asleep with a bottle or breast. If they are falling asleep with this, then they will usually look for this overnight to resettle.
3: They just want some one on one time with Mum and Dad. As busy working parents, we are often exhausted ourselves and by the time bedtime comes we just want to get the show on the road. Our little ones do crave our attention and they really do aim to please, do by dedicating 15-30mins of your evening with no distractions such as phones etc. Just being present and talking about their day, doing some puzzles or duplo etc can give them that little bit of time they need and this can really help to ease the protest come bedtime.
4: They are over or under tired. If your little one is over or under tired, then of course they are going to fight bedtime more then they normally would. I would recommend sticking to an age appropriate awake window and also watching the timing and length of their naps.
5: They need time to wind down. Its hard to expect our little ones to go straight from a stimulating lounge room which would be brightly lit and have a TV or iPad playing, to winding down and falling asleep. If just doesn’t happen, unfortunately!!! This is where implementing a good wind down routine will make your life bliss. It can just be something as simple as going into their room, getting into their sleeping bag if they wear one, dining the lights having a story (might be 4 books if your preschooler is as demanding as mine) or a song, having a little chat about their day and what your going to do tomorrow, then saying your goodnights and leaving the room. When done repeatedly this will become routine for your little one and you will notice they begin to naturally wind down so much easier.
Some children respond better to a visual representation for their bedtime routine, this where some bedtime routine flash cards come in handy. I have created some FREE bedtime routine printable’s for you to download and use at home with your little one. Click here to download https://thesleepteacher.com.au/our-packages/
Toddlers and preschoolers days usually involve some many boundaries and instructions that come bedtime, they are simply over it. They thrive of routine as much as we do.
By preparing them for what is to come and allowing them a little control over this, it allows for less kick back come bedtime, as they know (and can see) what the next step is.
Why not try laminating these FREE printable’s and blu-taking to your little ones door and help them show you what the next step is in their bedtime routine. You could also create some tailored ones yourself.
Let me know how you go implementing these are part of your wind down routine by tagging me @thesleepteacher or #thesleepteacher