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Toddler sleep and settling

Toddler sleep and settling.

  • Having a relaxed and consistent bedtime routine will help with your toddler get to sleep. This could include a bath, massage, feeding, cuddles, a story or songs and settling into his cot or bed while they are tired but not quite asleep so they can settle themselves to sleep.
  • It’s common for toddlers to experience separation anxiety that causes them to find it difficult to get to sleep, especially if there has been a change in their routine, such as illness, teething or the introduction of a new sibling. Readjusting after a disruption can take a little time and effort. A consistent pre-bedtime routine will help reintroduce the association between sleep activities and sleep time.
  • Night waking is common and some children can resettle themselves. There may often be a reason such as sickness, change in environment or daily routine. At other times they need help and support to settle back to sleep.

During the night when they wake, go to them and quietly reassure them that everything is alright. Say something like ‘sleep time now’, give them a cuddle, resettle them and when they are calm and falling alseep walk out of the room.

If your child comes into your room when they wake, gently take them back to bed and resettle them there if they are calm.

  • Toddlers have very different sleep cycles to adults and often appear awake by moving around or chatting when in a period of light sleep. If they are safe moving around in the cot, you can leave them to resettle themselves into deeper sleep. If the movements are violent, like head-banging and body-rocking, you can find some strategies to help here. It's a good time to put them into a bed when they are standing up and trying to climb out of the cot.

  • Remember to give them plenty of praise when they do sleep well, say things like: “I like the way you went to sleep all by yourself”.

Remember every toddler is different and has their own sleep pattern many things can affect that such as development, teething, growth spurts and sickness. If you’d like more support with toddler sleep problems, give PlunketLine a call on 0800 933 922 – it’s free and available 24/7.

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