Many parents struggle with getting their toddlers to sleep. It not only impacts the toddler, but mom, dad, and other siblings. I do not consider my children’s sleep to be a problem. That doesn’t mean that they never wake up and it doesn’t mean that there are not tough nights here and there, but on the whole I get enough rest and my kids get enough rest.
Over the next five days I’d like to share tips for getting babies and toddler to sleep better without using the cry it out approach. There are additional tips and resources in the original article from which this was excerpted, but let’s get started here and please chime in with your questions, comments, and suggestions for gentle ways to get babies and toddlers to sleep.
Tip 1. Calming Bedtime Routine
Children need time to calm down and prepare for sleep. Having a consistent bedtime routine can be useful in giving the child cues that sleep time is coming. There are likely things that you do each night before bed, such as putting on pajamas, brushing teeth, reading bedtime story, nursing or rocking, and so on. Try to do those things in the same order to help your child understand what is coming next and learn to calm down through that process. You may also want to have a few routines that you alternate. For example, one routine for bath night and another one for other nights. One for weekdays and one for weekends. One that involves Daddy and one that involves Mommy. Having these alternate routines can help keep things smooth on nights when things need to change up a bit (e.g. one parent isn’t there, you are visiting friends, a favourite book is missing, etc.) Also, create a calming environment during the bedtime routine. For example, turn off any bright lights (dimmers are great), television, and loud noises at least an hour before bedtime (ideally no television in several hours leading up to bedtime if you allow television at all). Consider building a massage into your bedtime routine.
By phdinparenting – Excerpted from Gentle Baby and Toddler Sleep Tips