Toddlers need up to 11 to 12 hours of sleep every night to help them grow and develop and they also need up to 2 hours of naps in the afternoon. Toddlers sleep longer than adults; thereby, they also experience more transitions in their sleep phases between REM and non-REM sleep. As a result, they wake up more often during their sleep than adults do, but should be able to go back to sleep after awakening.
Aside from frequent awakening during the night, toddlers are also difficult to put to bed because they are preoccupied in play. They are also fond of staying in their crib so they literally cannot sleep in big beds. Toddlers face the transition from being an infant to a preschool child so their sleeping patterns are also disrupted. Parents should try to establish healthy sleeping patterns in toddlers because children who adopt a good sleeping schedule during this age are able to maintain this as they grow. The following are the most important tips to improve the sleeping patterns of toddlers:
1. Help toddlers in their transition from cribs to big beds
Toddlers may be fixated with their small cribs so moving them to a big bed may become a special challenge for parents. Make sure to praise them when they are able to stay in it and also make yourself available when they need you because staying in a big bed may make them feel anxious. Make sure that big beds are padded and safe to avoid accidental falls and bumps.
Make sure that they stay in age-appropriate sized beds because queen-sized or king-sized beds may make them feel more anxious. In case toddlers get out of the bed, firmly tell the child that itâ€™s time to go back to bed.
You can also help them feel more comfortable in big beds by trying a high quality mattress that is free from any harmful chemicals that can disrupt childrenâ€™s sleep as well as cause various conditions such as allergies.
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2. Give toddlers a good night kiss and promise to check back with them after a few moments
Toddlers love feeling that they are cared for and a good night kiss promotes this feeling. Toddlers tend to go to sleep better and faster when they are relaxed and they feel loved. Some children are also afraid of going to sleep on their own so itâ€™s good if you tell your child that you are going to check on them after a while.
3. Anticipate all the childâ€™s needs
Children always want bedtime stories or songs as well as a glass of milk before they sleep. Make sure that you provide for their needs before they sleep so they can be reassured. Some children fail to go to sleep because they are still anticipating some things that are not yet done. However, make sure not to give in to just any request of the child such as having chocolates or games before sleeping because these just disrupt their sleep.
Instead of games, you can actually help them go to sleep better by allowing them to engage in educational and interactive games like ABC Mouse in the hours before they go to sleep.
4. Go to bed as soon as you tell them to
Children always look to their parents or caregivers as someone to follow. In this regard, caregivers should make sure that they go to bed along with their children as much as possible to show the child the right time for sleep. Children become confused when parents tell them to sleep, but then parents donâ€™t.
5. Make sure your childâ€™s bedroom is close to the bathroom
Since toddlers wake frequently at night, they also tend to feel like urinating every now and then. They need to be able to go to the bathroom and then go back to sleep afterwards. If their bedrooms are far from the bathroom, they tend to be awake longer, making it harder for them to fall asleep again.
Studies show that toddlers who develop healthy sleeping patterns tend to avoid sleep disorders as they grow older so parents should ensure that toddlers get both regular and sufficient sleep at this age.