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Getting a Toddler to sleep alone!

September 18th, 2019
Getting a Toddler to sleep alone!
Sleep can be a major issue in some families with parents having to share their bed with their fidgeting toddler who refuses to sleep alone or one parent having to stretch out on the bed next to their child each night, waiting for them to fall asleep. Surely there much be a clever way to get a toddler to successfully sleep alone? !

By the time your child is a toddler you will have established a good daily routine and daytime naps will not cause any concerns, but somehow, encouraging your toddler to enjoy a good night's sleep – in their own bed- seems a huge challenge Discussing sleep with parents, soon reveals what an emotional subject it is and for parents suffering some sleeping challenges with their children, it can be a stressful time too. The problem is that many young children quickly learn sleep associations so if they become used to falling asleep with a bottle or being rocked they will seek these associations at every bedtime and these can be hard to change.

The overwhelming key to success is to be confident about what you hope to achieve. If your toddler's room is safe and their bed is warm and comfortable and he/she has had a hectic day, there is no reason why bedtime has to become a battlefield and yet it is in so many households. A good tip is not to end daytime naps too quickly as your toddler can quickly get overtired. Another point worth remembering is not to let your child nap after 4.00p.m. As they will not be tired enough at bedtime.
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Once your baby has become a toddler, his communication skills should be good enough for you to explain things and reason with him. Bedtime can be a really special time for all of you if it ends on a happy note with your child going peacefully to sleep , but only too often, a crying child will keep you occupied for hours, torpedoing any plans for a relaxing evening as parents with joined up conversation!

Establish a really good bedtime routine early on at the same time each evening. This routine should stay the same wherever you are and whatever you are doing as children love and thrive on routine. Establishing a good routine early on also helps them to establish your child's biological clock.

The usual bedtime routine begins with a final snack and drink, followed by a fun bath time. Afterwards, your toddler must not be allowed to rush around as you are trying to slow the tempo. So they quietly get dressed in their bedclothes, brush their teeth and choose the small toy that they would like to take to bed , before they climb into bed for their bedtime story.

Read them their favourite story and then tuck them into bed and say 'goodnight', if they begin to get upset, tell them that they are being like their favourite character – a teddy bear, Thomas the Tank or a Superhero – as they all sleep on their own in their bed.

If your toddler protests – and they will - tell them that if they stay in bed quietly, that you will return in ten minutes to read them another bedtime story. Usually the incentive of another bedtime story works well and they do have a small toy to distract them too, Go back into their bedroom after exactly ten minutes and if they have been quiet, then keep your promise with a second bedtime story. Keep repeating this routine until your child drifts off to sleep – which is usually in about 30 minutes.
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If your toddler has not kept quiet and has been really noisy, return to their bedroom at the ten minute mark and quietly tell them that unfortunately, they made too much noise to have a second story but if they can be quiet for the next ten minutes, you will return to read to them. Likewise, if your child climbs out of bed to find you, simply return them to bed and repeat, promise to return in ten minutes to read.

Believe me, leaving your toddler yo cry for even ten minutes can be very difficult and will seem like an hour! The key to success is to stick exactly to the ten minute rule – even if your toddler is crying because you know they are fine, so in reality it is a battle of the wills!

On average, it takes just five nights to establish the perfect bedtime routine. Now it is true that it could take quite a bit of time each night to be successful, but the incentive is that you will soon have your life back! True, there will be occasions when your toddler will not want to sleep but on the whole. He will be happy to sleep alone in his bed just as super heroes do!

Angey x

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