Dream Baby Sleep® Founder Carolynne Harvey answers frequently asked questions about toddlers. Read below.
Sleep training your toddler cans sometimes feel like an uphill battle. Between their newfound independent streak and their extra mobility, the struggle to develop a sleep scheduled and maintain it can be daunting, to say the least. It is important to realize that sleep training your toddler can be down, however. You just need to understand how sleep and toddler work together and how to use that to your advantage.
Important Points to Know About Sleep Training Your Toddler
Knowledge is power, and in this case, that knowledge is vital to building an effective sleep schedule. First, we should look at the importance of sleep during this period of their lives.
Why Sleep is so Important to Toddlers
- 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.
Contributing Factors to Toddler Sleep Problems
Many toddlers experience sleep struggles that can negatively impact a parent’s attempt to sleep train. Bedtime battles, difficulty self-settling and falling asleep independently, and night waking and early rising are all common issues that can make sleep training your toddler difficult. Nighttime fears and nightmares are also common.
Many factors can lead to toddler sleep problems including:
- Toddlers’ drive for independence and an increase in their motor, cognitive and social abilities can interfere with sleep.
- Their new ability to get out of bed if they’ve recently transitioned to a big kid bed
- Separation anxiety
- The need for autonomy and the development of the child’s imagination can lead to sleep struggles.
Tips for Sleep Training Your Toddler
While sleep training your toddler can be difficult, it is not impossible. There are actionable measures you can take today to begin improving your toddler’s sleep struggles.
- Maintain a consistent bedtime routine and bedtime no later than 7:30pm
- Make the bedroom calming and neutral using continuous white noise.
- 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.
Have additional question about your toddler and want to learn more toddler sleep tactics? Schedule your free 15 minute consultation with one of our certified Sleep Experts.