The good folk at Ooly asked me to write a piece for them about Toddlers and Sleep. Here are my 5 top tips to encourage stress free toddler bedtimes
- Consistent Bedtime Routine
We all learn through repetition and this is why consistency is key when helping your toddler to sleep independently. Mixed messages make things unclear as they don’t know what to expect. Create a bedtime routine that suits your family and stick to it. Don’t make it a convoluted process. Simple routines like Pyjamas – Drink/bedtime snack – Stories – Bed, work best.
Depending on the time of year, some days it can be harder to encourage bedtime when if is still bright outside. Plan ahead. Shortly before bedtime, darken the room so that you are not trying to wind the kids down in full daylight. Use blackout blinds if you need to. Darkness encourages the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone! Encourage plenty of fresh air during the day too!
Luckily enough, for most of you reading this, it’s winter time, so darkness is our friend these days!
- The Bedroom
Make sure that the bedroom is a peaceful place. There is one job to do here and that is to sleep. Too many distractions can overstimulate your little one at bedtime. Try to keep toys in the bedroom to a minimum.
If your little one has night time fears, use a night light. Here is one of the reasons why Ooly could be a really good investment! Bear in mind that the darker the room, the better.
We can also help them deal with nightmares by getting creative and talking about them. Children will be able to recall their nightmares the following day. Don’t ignore them. Talk about them. Get them to draw pictures and be open about their fears.
- Bed hoppers
If little ones are jumping in and out of bed at bedtime (and indeed overnight), get on the same page with your partner. You should both be responding to your toddler in the same manner. So, no good cop/bad cop. One message: It’s bedtime. Time for sleep. Or get your hands on Ooly when it comes to market!
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Niamh O’Reilly is a sleep coach in Dublin, Ireland and owner of www.thenursery.ie. Niamh’s best selling book “No Fuss Baby and Toddler Sleep” is available from her website and online from Amazon.