Q: My toddler has a lot of energy at night and has trouble going to sleep. How can I get her on a schedule?
A: Just because your toddler has all this energy to spare doesn't mean it's okay for her to sleep inconsistently. So you'll need to choose a bedtime and stick to it. Toddlers need between 10 and 12 hours of sleep at night, so your child should be going to bed between 7:30 and 8 p.m., depending on how early you need her awake in the morning. Between ages 2 and 5, kids are also ready to start giving up their afternoon nap -- if you think your child is ready, that may also help make her more tired before bedtime. Remember, the key to a sleep schedule is consistency. Try these tips to get started:
• Give a warning about 15 minutes prior to starting your bedtime routine, so your child knows it's time to start winding down and finishing whatever she's doing. • Set up a bedtime routine, like reading a story, that will signal your child that it's time to sleep and get her in the mood to snooze. Start at the same time every night.• Once you've completed the routine, say goodnight to your child and leave. If she comes out of her room, turn her right around and put her back to bed. • Make any post-bedtime interactions with your child totally boring (i.e., no conversation, cuddling, or playing), which will help make it not worth her while to get out of bed.