Is Sleep Training Your Toddler Possible?

Dream Baby Sleep® Founder Carolynne Harvey answers frequently asked questions about toddlers. Read below.

How do toddlers sleep during this period?

  • Sleep is especially important for toddlers because it directly impacts mental and physical development.
  • During NREM sleep the blood supply to the muscles is increased, energy is restored, tissue growth and repair occur, and important hormones are released for growth and development.
  • Toddlers need about 11-14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. When they reach about 18 months of age their nap times will decrease to once a day lasting about one to three hours.

What is the #1 sleep issue or pain point for toddlers?

Many toddlers experience sleep struggles including bedtime battles, difficulty self settling and falling asleep independently, night waking and early rising. Nighttime fears and nightmares are also common.

Many factors can lead to toddler sleep problems including:

  1. Toddlers’ drive for independence and an increase in their motor, cognitive and social abilities can interfere with sleep.
  2. Their new ability to get out of bed if they’ve recently transitioned to a big kid bed
  3. Separation anxiety
  4. The need for autonomy and the development of the child’s imagination can lead to sleep struggles.

What are some excellent guiding tips for parents of this age group?

Some action items you can take to begin improving toddler sleep struggles  include:

  1. Maintain a consistent bedtime routine and bedtime no later than 7:30pm
  2. Make the bedroom calming and neutral using continuous white noise.
  3. Set limits that are consistent, communicate them by having a simply family meeting to set boundaries and expectations. Encourage use of a security object like a blanket or stuffed animal. Learn how to help your toddler in a big kid bed return to sleep after they leave their room.

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