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Practical Toddler Sleep Tips For Parents

Updated on August 19, 2016
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ICU Nurse in Children's Ward which was an exciting and challenging career. As a mother of two I look forward to sharing my experiences.

Tips for Parents About Toddler Sleeping

The key is finding what works best for you. Some children need a lot of discipline implemented for them to sleep as soundly as possible while others do not. There is no miracle solution for getting children to sleep through the night wake later in the morning and go to bed more easily and nap well during the day. A realistic time to expect noticeable changes is six weeks. Please do not try something once or twice and think oh that does not work before giving up on it.

Bed Sharing And Co-sleeping

Remember bed sharing is sharing a sleeping surface with your child and sleeping is sharing a room with your child. Both of the practices tend to be frowned upon in western society where it is believed that children should be independent as soon as possible and allow them to sleep in the same bed or room as their parents particularly after babyhood will only create clingy damaged children. This is not true. The emergence of independence is a developmental milestone. It is the very nature of every baby and child to be dependent upon us. In short, they need us to survive and to stay healthy in body and in mind. As a child grows their brain matures and they become capable of more sophisticated behavior including that of being independent but while they are still children. A child who is allowed to be dependent on his parents has much more chance of growing up to be independent secure and confident in their own skin. Science also provides us with proof that sharing a bed with babies and toddlers does not cause any psychological damage when they are older. This point is important since many health professionals and the media frequently warn of the clingy and damaged children.

There is no miracle solution for getting children to sleep through the night.
There is no miracle solution for getting children to sleep through the night. | Source

Safety Guide When Bed Sharing With Your Baby

  • Only share a bed with your baby if the baby is settled.
  • Babies who are formula fed should have their own sleep space with parents.
  • Both parents should not have consumed any alcohol or not have taken any recreational drugs.
  • Parents should not be excessively tired.
  • This is also true for any older siblings the sleeping surface should be firm and designed for sleep meaning a bed only never sleep with a baby on a sofa.
  • Prevent the baby from rolling onto the floor and many parents decide to sleep on a mattress on the floor to prevent this from happening.

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When Is It Time To Move my Baby Out Of My Bed?

Many parents are concerned that if they allow their baby into their bed they will be creating a rod for their own back and will never get their child to leave. Rest assured your child will soon be independent enough to move of their own accord often around three to four years of age but many babies happily move to their own bed much earlier than this. If you are not keen on sharing a bed with a toddler or a preschooler a good age to move a baby to their own bed is around six to eight months when they have passed the fourth trimester. Allow the child to make the decision as only then will you know that their needs are met. However, if long-term bed sharing is not for you make the move as gently and gradually as possible. This could take the form of a cot placed next to you or if they are older a mattress on the floor next to your own bed.

Cuddle and read stories on their bed and do whatever it is that you like to do together that makes your child happy.
Cuddle and read stories on their bed and do whatever it is that you like to do together that makes your child happy. | Source

How Do I Know That My Child Is Ready To Move To Their Own Bedroom

When it comes to moving a child to their own bedroom wait until the child is ready. If the transition is child led then it will almost always go more smoothly. The wanting to be little feelings can often win out with a new baby in the house so encouraging them to be a big girl can be counter productive. Why would they want to be big when it seems like only little get all the cuddles and attention. There are plenty of gentle ways to encourage your child to sleep in their own bedroom and this includes allowing them to decide how it is decorated. What bedding they will have and how the room is set out and filling it with items that are familiar and reassuring for them. Perhaps the most successful encouragement is spending time together in their bedroom in the daytime. Cuddle and read stories on their bed and do whatever it is that you like to do together that makes your child happy. They must see their bedroom as a happy full of good memories and associations, not just a room where they are left alone at night time.

Let us work with our children not against them.
Let us work with our children not against them. | Source

Signs of Tiredness On Children

  • Rubbing eyes and yawning.
  • Red rimmed and watery eyes.
  • A glazed look when the eyes are not focusing.
  • Ear pulling.
  • Touching the head repeatedly.
  • Gaze aversion not making eye contact with you.
  • Increased tantrums Increased crying.
  • The child losing patience and interest in things.
  • Falling over and being clumsy.

Setting A Bedtime Routine For Your Baby

Young children like to know what to expect so having a good bedtime routine is essential. A routine will help the child to know that nap time or bedtime is approaching and this will create a bedtime routine that is as comfortable as possible for your child to get a calmer night sleep. Gentle parenting is needed and forcing the child to behave in a way that is unnatural to them may not be a good idea. Our goal is to work with our children not against them and because of this we need to invest a little more time and energy than others would.


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