Toddler sleep

1 2Sleep

Your toddler may continue having a daytime sleep until they’re 3 or 4 years old. Others have outgrown it by 18 months. 

Sometimes, even if your toddler doesn’t sleep, giving them a rest time can give you both a quiet, peaceful time during the day. You could try giving them books, toys, a story or music tape to keep them happy during rest time. 

Routine and night time sleep

There are regular bedtime routines that can help a toddler sleep at night. Things like a bath, story, quiet cuddle, and then bed will help children to gently settle to sleep at night.

Often toddlers have become attached to something that they take to bed like a teddy or a blanket, and these also help them to feel safe, calm and relaxed for sleep. Check that their loved ‘thing’ is safe; not too small or with pieces that can be pulled off and cause choking, and not so big that it could smother or strangle them.

Separation anxiety, when children don’t want you to leave them, is common around 18 months old. Your child may become tricky to settle and more clingy.

Your calm, soothing approach, as well as perhaps introducing a night light (a small, dim lamp) can help at bedtimes. When you move your toddler into their own bed, you may find they start coming out of the bedroom.

Read more about sleep with 2-5 year olds to help manage this.

Waking at night

When children wake at night, they’re not being naughty. If your toddler does wake, try not to rush to them straight away because they might settle back to sleep by themselves.

If they’re unwell or teething, they might wake and will need your care and comfort. Once they’re feeling better, they should soon settle back to normal.

Read more about illnesses if you think your child is sick.

If your toddler’s waking is becoming a problem for you, you can talk to your Plunket nurse for some more ideas, and also check your library for helpful books.

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