Are you struggling with getting your child to sleep? Get the solutions to toddler bedtime issues.

By Mali Anderson
Image Source/ Veer

For some toddlers, sleeping doesn't come easy. Things like crying out for mom, fear of the dark, and the need for one more sip of water can interfere with a good night's rest. Here are a few strategies to calm your child.

Sleep Issue: Your child keeps getting out of bed.

Reason: She doesn't want to go to sleep.

Solution: If your child is having difficulty staying in her bed, try an hour of quiet time before saying good night. Reading, snuggling, giving her a relaxing bath, or listening to lullabies can assist her with having a good night's sleep. If she continues the behavior, give her a "bedtime pass," suggests Greg Hanley, M.D., director of the Children's Sleep Program at Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts. Allow her to leave the bedroom, but only once a night, to ask for whatever is needed. It can take months to modify a behavior, so remember that consistency is key. For some children, the pass can replace the crying and calling out while still giving them a feeling of control. This pass, along with a security object like a pillow, stuffed animal, or blanket, can be helpful for your child, and she'll eventually outgrow the object on her own.

Sleep Issue: Your child is taking too long to fall asleep.

Reason: A lack of a consistent sleep routine or frequent late naps could be to blame.

Solution: A regular bedtime is ideal for transitioning from a busy day to restful sleep. A sudden change in your child's schedule, such as a late-afternoon nap or a night of staying up too late, can affect sleep. And sleep deprivation can enhance sleep issues. For toddlers who still take two naps, experts recommend a morning nap of about 45 minutes at around 10 a.m. Schedule the afternoon nap for around 1 p.m., for up to 2 hours. For toddlers who have adjusted to one nap, try filling the morning with activities and set naptime for after lunch, around 1:30 p.m., from up to two hours.

Sleep Issue: Your child has fears and nightmares.

Reason: While a child's imagination is developing, she can invent faces in the dark and monsters under the bed.

Sleep Solution: Nightmares are common between the ages of 2 and 3. If a child is prone to these fears, avoid books or movies with scary themes close to bedtime. Make her bedtime routine as cheerful as possible, says psychologist Linda Blair in The Happy Child. Resist the temptation to tell your child that the fear doesn't exist. "If she is having a bad dream, tell her that it's 'gone' now. Don't, however, tell her the dream wasn't real, because to many preschoolers dreams do seem completely real," Blair says. Instead, "tell her there's no need to worry...Don't embellish with long explanations or distractions. Simply soothe and reassure, and as soon as she relaxes, say good night."

Sleep Issue: Your child keeps crying out at night for you.

Reason: Your child doesn't want to be alone.

Sleep Solution: When your child is crying at night, or calling out for you to return to his bedroom, try setting a schedule of timed visits to the child's room rather than responding to every request. By following a schedule, whether it's every five minutes or another amount of time, your child will still have her needs met. In Sleep Solutions: Quiet Nights for You and Your Child from Birth to Five Years, author Rachel Waddilove recommends that parents begin with 5-minute increments and then extend the time to 7 minutes, and then 10. As long as nothing is wrong (such as illness or a wet diaper), a child will eventually self-soothe and fall asleep.

Sleep Issue: Your child gets you up too early in the morning.

Reason: As toddlers grow, some wake up as soon as it's light, or even earlier, and they don't want to spend time alone.

Sleep Solution: "What time you get your toddler up will depend on what you need to do during the day. If you are at home with him and he isn't in a nursery early, he doesn't need to get up until 7 or 7:30 a.m.," Waddilove says. If a child begins waking early, explain to him that it is not time to get up yet. Some toddlers will go back to sleep; others may stay awake and play on their own before relaxing and falling asleep again. Each day, try to establish a sleep schedule that works for your family and optimize your child's room for alone time. For example, if your child wants to be awake, give him a few stuffed animals or a favorite picture book to look over in his own bed, and tell him you'll let him know when it's time to get up.

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Comments (18)

Anonymous
April 17, 2019
My Husband and I have applied the instructions we found here ( http://instantbaby-sleep.bestips.info ) on our 16-month old son and we have seen a great improvement in his sleeping at night.
Anonymous
April 7, 2019
Sleeping through the night is so important for you and your child. What really helped us was the sleep training a friend recommended us. You can find it here: www.SleepTrainChild.info
Anonymous
April 17, 2019
Amazing!
Anonymous
April 15, 2019
Thank you!
Anonymous
March 14, 2019
I have a six-month old who sleeps all night thanks to this great sleep program I found HERE: http://instantbaby-sleep.bestips.info
Anonymous
April 16, 2019
Nice.
Anonymous
April 7, 2019
Thank you.
Anonymous
March 19, 2019
Very helpful!
Anonymous
February 13, 2019
Sleeping through the night is so important for you and your child. What really helped us was the sleep training a friend recommended us. You can find it here: www.SleepTrainChild.info
Anonymous
March 18, 2019
Great share
Anonymous
March 14, 2019
Nice
Anonymous
March 6, 2019
Thanks!
Anonymous
January 18, 2019
My baby never slept well (especially through the night) until I started using the website www.SleepBaby.org - that website has been by far one of the best things I've ever got my hands on to get him to fall asleep quickly. Best time is 45 seconds from awake to asleep! Can’t imagine life without it! I heard about it through a kindergarten teacher who uses it to put to sleep a group of 30 children. Check it out!
Anonymous
January 11, 2019
My almost 2 1/2 year old has rarely slept the entire night. She will still wake up every couple hours. Sometimes I can just put her back down with her blanket or favorite toy and wait for the next wake up. And sometimes she will wake up and stay up crying every 5 minutes for 3 hours. It’s always for at least 3 hours in the middle of the night. She has recently started lying also at bedtime. She will say she is hurt, or a body let hurts or she needs the nose frida just anything to get us to go in. She used to puke or poop to get us to go in. I honestly don’t know what to do. I’ve tried every method and they will work for about 2 weeks and then she goes back. Any suggestions? I have a nightlight. I have tried soothing sounds and no sounds at all. I have tried making my own essential oil spray. More activities, less activities. Of course not all at once but I just don’t know what else to do.
Anonymous
December 17, 2018
My 2 year old never slept through the night, after using the baby miracle sleep program I found HERE ( http://instantbaby-sleep.bestips.info ) my baby falls asleep in minutes until the next morning. Best product I got my hands on, clears the mind, relax the body and there we go all fast asleep.
Anonymous
March 6, 2019
Nice.
Anonymous
February 16, 2019
Great share!
Anonymous
January 20, 2019
Thank you.