If you are like me you made the mistake of just dealing with your baby every time he woke at night or worse you have made the mistake of letting your toddler sleep in your bed.
It is Not Eternity
Now after what seems like an eternity, he is sleeping on his schedule not yours. Well, I have good news. Believe it or not you are not alone. In fact, there are many parents going thru the same thing every night just as you are. And, it is not too late to start training your child to sleep thru the night in his bed.
Even though sleep training a toddler has technically been around for years, the studies of how to sleep train is relatively new. That is to say, it has only been the last couple of years that researchers have really studied sleep and its effect on toddlers.
It is no secret that your child is cranky and pretty much miserable when he doesn’t get the sleep he needs. It not only effects his day it wreak havoc on your day as well. I am quite sure you don’t need a study to tell you the effects of lack of sleep in your child.
However, the studies not only gave us the effects, they have showed us many techniques to try so that as parents or grandparents, we can put an end to the deprivation of sleep. And, possible the return of your sanity.
Why Do You Want to Sleep Train a Toddler?
Aside from the obvious, you not getting any sleep at night. Studies have shown sleep training has more benefits to your child than it does to you.
Most parents dread the first 18 months of childhood. That is because, it is pretty much a given that sleep is no longer a main part of your day. In fact, it is probably the biggest joke at work, as soon as your coworkers find out you are having a baby.
In addition, studies have shown that more than 20 percent of children between the ages of one and three still continue to wake at night. As a result the sleep deprivation continues for longer than anticipated. I’m sad to admit that I fall into this category.
Most importantly, most children do not get the crucial sleep needed to develop their bodies and minds. It only takes about four nights of one hour less of sleep per night for the repercussions of sleep deprivation to be noticed.
Therefore, it is just as important to ensure that your child gets the proper amount of sleep each day as it is to ensure he eats nutritious meals.
When Do You Start?
Now is a great time. It is recommended to start sleep training around four to six months of age. However, if that window of opportunity has passed, don’t fret. You can start anytime.
That is to say, the only thing you need to do is to start now. And, to know what method you would like to start with. There are several methods that claim to work. Below is a few listed. But, this list is by far complete.
- Ferber Method
- Cry It Out
- Chair Method
- Pick up, Put Down, Shush-pat
- Bedtime routine fading
- bedtimehour fading
In my opinion, if you try a method and you don’t get any results try another. Every child is different. Therefore, each method may work differently for your child. Even with all the studies that you will find, there is no science to sleep training. It is more trial and error.
Likewise, so is parenting, I haven’t been able to locate the all in one parenting guide for every situation. If by chance you have this manual please share it with me.
That being said, you will find that every specialist and expert has their own opinion on what works. I can say I think I have tried most of them. Consequently, I have noticed some work better than others with my grandson.
What do I do?
First of all, it is never too late to sleep train a toddler. Sleep training can work all the way up to a teenager. I must say, I hope that you don’t have to sleep train your teenager. However, it has been proven to work in some studies.
Firstly, start with a consistent age appropriate bedtime. This is probably the part where you are going to think I’m nuts. Follow me I am going somewhere with this.
So, it is recommended that your toddler have a constant bedtime around 7pm. Therefore, if you think about a normal 9 -5 job, with traffic to get home, preparing dinner, sitting down to dinner, bath time, book reading and so on, How in the world does 7pm fit into your schedule. Truth is, it probably doesn’t. So what do you do?
It is important to find a happy medium that works for your family situation. The most import take from this is to be consistent. However, keep in mind that more tired your child is, the more times he will wake up in the middle of the night.
I shared this chart on my last post.5 Astonishing Answers To Why Do Children Need Sleep But, I feel this is a good time to share again.
Age The recommended amount of sleep
Newborns (0 to 2 months) 16 to 18 hours (3 to 4 hours at a time)
Babies (2 months to 6 months) 14 to 16 hours
Older babies (6 months to 1 year) 14 hours
Toddlers (1 to 3 years) 10 to 13 hours
Preschoolers (3 to 5 years) 10 to 12 hours
School-aged children (5 to 10 years) 10 to 12 hours
If your toddler is well rested during the day. That is to say, on or two naps, it is possible that a later bedtime may work for your situation. Although, keeping a consistent daily routine is hard, especially during big life transitions like a new day care or family trip.
However keep in mind that an irregular schedule and flexible bedtimes may be the cause of the interrupted nights.
If you haven’t noticed by now, toddlers love control. So, here is a chance to give them a little control. To clarify, let your toddler help make a chart for a bedtime routine. Make sure you give them choices.
For example, let them choose between two pairs of pajamas and which book he wants to read.
Most importantly when your toddler starts pushing back on your sleep training remind him of the chart that you made together. Keep them involved in the routine by making a game of checking the chart that was made.
Above all, keep in mind loosing your temper will not help your bedtime routine when sleep training a toddler. Ultimately, how you deal with your toddler fighting back at bedtime is up to you as a parent, and every family has a different comfort level.
In conclusion, your toddler may go along with your sleep routine for a couple of days. However, they will start testing you. Remember, to stay the course. It is important to keep in mind that no matter how hard it is not to give in, you are help your child feel more secure because they will know their expectations.
If you have further comments or have an experience to share with this topic please leave a comment below. I will make a point to get back with you.