8 Tips To Sleep Train Your Toddler
Constantly battling night-time tantrums? Spending your night chasing your little one round the house?
It can be hard as a parent to know how to sleep train your toddler. But for your child, sleeping on their own is a big adjustment, so having patience is key. With our tips, your little one will become a bedtime-pro in no time!
How to sleep train your toddler
So, how can you sleep train your toddler? Here are our top 8 tips to help you and your little one have a peaceful night’s sleep.
Plan out a consistent bedtime routine
Before you start thinking about approaches to stop your child crying or getting up during the night, think about their current bedtime routine. Do you take similar steps every evening to get them ready for bed?
If not, implementing a consistent bedtime routine will get your toddler into the bedtime groove. Not only will they spend time getting relaxed for bed, but eventually the routine will trigger a habit.
An example of how you could structure your evenings could be:
- Dinner time (toddlers sleep better with full tummies)
- Bath (just like adults, children love a nice relaxing bath before bed)
- Get into pjs (let them pick out their favourite pj set. This will show them how nice it is to have independence, and also avoid any tantrums about which ones they want)
- Brush teeth
- Story time
Create a bedroom that is ideal for sleep
Once you have planned out your toddler’s bedtime routine, you can take a look at their bedroom setup. It is important that toddlers have a safe, comfortable space that is their own to help them settle into a routine.
Consider decorating their room with their favourite things to get them excited about sleeping on their own. Make sure they also have a comfortable cot or bed.
Be sure to measure the temperature of the room. Your toddler will struggle to sleep if it gets too hot or too cold, so a nice cool temperature is optimal.
Lastly, consider a nightlight if they have been getting scared at night.
Have a special bedtime comfort item
Bedtime needs to be a time where your toddler can completely relax. To help them, let them bring their favorite comfort item to bed.
You might also consider a soft item that has your scent on it, such as a piece of clothing or teddy. This way, your toddler will feel comforted by your presence without you being there.
Talk about bedtime during the day
The idea of going to bed on their own might be daunting for your toddler. To help them see going to bed in a positive way, try talking about bedtime with your child.
You might talk about how you love going to bed or how everyone needs to sleep so they have enough energy for the day. You can make going to bed seem “grown-up”, but never tell your child they are being “baby-ish” for not sleeping, as this will invalidate their emotions.
You could also prompt your child to roleplay putting their toys to bed. This might be a nice activity for them to do just before bed to get them ready.
Make a ‘stay in bed’ rule
When it comes to sleep training your toddler during bedtime, the first thing to do is set boundaries. It should be clear that the rule is once your toddler is in bed, they need to stay in bed unless they need the potty.
If your toddler has a habit of getting out of bed and wandering, remain calm and simply remind them that they need to go back to bed and go to sleep. This way, they will eventually get bored of getting out of bed and settle down straight away.
Most importantly, once you make the transition to your toddler sleeping on their own, do not let them sleep in your bed. This will backtrack any progress and likely cause tantrums when you don’t allow them to do this another time.
Take a calm approach to crying during the night
If your toddler does tend to cry during the night, always know when it’s best to go and see them. A bit of crying is natural, and they will eventually stop after a while.
However, if your toddler continues to cry for a long time or it escalates, then you can go and check in on them.
Be strategic about night time check ups
There is no easy way to get out of checking up on your toddler during the night, it’s something you might deal with for a while.
When you do go and check up, only stand at the door and ask what the matter is. By keeping a distance, they will learn to become more comfortable without you there.
However this might not be possible at first. If it continues to escalate, come closer but remain with a firm yet calm tone.
During checkups, try and keep the light off too.
Take gradual approaches
If your child still struggles to be left alone, there are a few gradual approaches to try.
Firstly, you can try waiting next to your child’s bed until they fall asleep for a few nights. When they can do this quickly, move further away from them, for example you could sit on a chair away from their bed. Eventually, you should be able to wait by the door for them to fall asleep until you don’t have to wait with them at all.
Alternatively, you can try using a timer. The amount of time you start with depends on the situation, but a good start point might be 15 minutes. Wait with your child until the timer goes off and then leave. As your child’s sleep improves, you can decrease the time until they no longer need you there.
Summary: How to sleep train your toddler
- Plan out a consistent bedtime routine
- Create a bedroom that is ideal for sleep
- Have a special bedtime comfort item
- Talk about bedtime during the day
- Make a ‘stay in bed’ rule
- Take a calm approach to crying during the night
- Be strategic about night time check ups
- Take gradual approaches
Caring for your child’s needs at Maryam’s Nursery
At Maryam’s Nursery, we pride ourselves on providing an environment in which your child can be as happy, relaxed and comfortable as they are at home. We breathe warmth, affection and care into everything we do, to help your little one through every stage of their development.