4 Common Toddler Sleep Issues
Do toddler sleep issues disappear when a baby grows into toddlerhood? The answer is no. While some babies may outgrow their sleep issues, a majority of them will continue to experience sleep difficulties when they grow into toddlerhood.
Some sleep problems are widespread, while some are unique to toddlers. The key to resolving toddler sleep issues is to learn about different sleep problems and how best to deal with them.
The following are 4 common toddler sleep issues and how you can address them:
When a toddler moves from his crib into a bigger bed, he will demonstrate jack-in-the-box behavior. The toddler likes to spring in and out of bed, and you will have to tuck him in repeatedly. In some toddlers, this problem is quite persistent.
How can you deal with this issue? Match your toddler’s persistence with some of your own. Perform a “silent return to bed.” Each time your toddler gets up, quietly and calmly return him to his new bed. Do not engage him in conversation or become upset. If your toddler can elicit a reaction from you, it is highly likely he will repeat this behavior.
Some toddlers are talented bedtime stallers! Just one more book mom, just one more drink dad, just one more kiss grandma…sound familiar? Be patient, while this can take up every last bit of your patience, it is also one of the most common toddler sleep issues. To minimize this daily bedtime marathon, initiate a countdown. Say “30 minutes to bed time”, then “20 minutes to bedtime”, etc. You can also try saying goodnight to ALL the animals but be sure to clearly indicate that you’re in fact saying good night to everything in the room! A sticker chart also works wonders to curb such toddler sleep issues. Create a chart with his bedtime routines (including staying asleep) and hang it in his room. Tell him that for every night that he completes his routines, he will be awarded a sticker. Give him the freedom to pick his favorite stickers. Kids love working for incentives.
This is also one of the most common toddler sleep issues. It first surfaces around nine months. Many parents see a resurgence of it around two years of age. Separation anxiety is trying enough for the child, but around bedtime, it can be heartbreaking. Rest assured, this is a normal phase of development. To curb some of your toddler’s sleep anxiety, try to develop a healthy bedtime routine. Refrain from crying or showing worry when your child is exhibiting anxiety. It only reaffirms the child’s separation. Do comfort your baby if he wakes up crying or feeling anxious.
Bedtime fear and anxiety
Toddlers have active imaginations. However, that imagination can create some terrifying bedtime fears, making bedtime an anxiety-provoking time. To curb their fears, pay attention to the following:
- Be aware of what your child is reading or watching on television.
- Never threaten your child with the “boogeyman” or ghost.
- Acknowledge your toddler’s feelings.
- Try to invent a magical “monster repellant spray.” It works with some children.
- Read happy bedtime stories at night.
Toddler sleep issues are common and a part of healthy development.