Have you noticed that lately everyone has an opinion on every subject? To clarify, I have read multiple articles on tips for getting a toddler to sleep. As a result, I have only found a few tricks that help with getting my grandson to sleep at night.
Allow me to explain, If you know me, you know that I have a 3-year-old grandson that lives with me. His mother (my daughter) works nights. So, I help raise him. In addition, it has become my job to get him in bed each night.
To clarify, I wear the words pop-pop proudly on my sleeves. I would not do anything to change my situation. However, bedtime has become a deep stressful time for both of us.
So, I would like to share some of my successes and pitfalls that have experienced along the way.
Related: Baby Sleep Miracle
Co-Sleeping (not a good idea)
Co-sleeping is the practice of having your child sleep in bed with his parents or in this case with pop-pop. Not surprisingly, it is one of the most debated and controversial topics related to pediatric sleep.
Some people argue that co-sleeping is the right and natural way to raise a child because the practice fosters a stronger bond and a more secure attachment.
While I will agree that it fosters a stronger bond. However, after making what I feel was a huge mistake. I would have to disagree with this being considered a natural way to raise a child.
To clarify, One night my grandson woke up in the middle of the night, He came into my room and asked if he could sleep with me. It was late and I needed to get up early in the morning. So, out of frustration I caved in. As a result, he fell back asleep quickly as did I.
I wish that was the end of the story. But, it was not. After that, he continually started coming in my room almost every night.
Now, if you have never slept with a 3-year-old, I must say you are missing out. I can honestly say, in all my years, I have never been kicked, poked, prodded, or head-butted so much in one night. And, that’s just one night.
Needless to say that co-sleeping still continues to this day simply because I love him. However, if I had it
to do over. I would choose another way to bond with my grandson.
Going to Bed on a Full Tank
So, giving your toddler something eat just before bedtime almost seems like a no-brainer. However, sometimes it is not as easy as it seems. That is to say, while most experts will agree that if your child is comfortable he falls asleep easier.
Sometimes getting a child to eat when you want or what you want is the challenge. To clarify, my grandson is a very picky eater. For example, he will seldom eat dinner. He is at that stage where he likes nothing.
So, I had to create a game in order to get him to eat at night. We have a golf cart and every night after dinner we go for a ride around the neighborhood. I have noticed that if I pack a cup of food he will eat everything in the cup while we are on the ride. As a result, by removing the distractions at the dinner table he eats a nutritious meal.
Certainly, I’m sure the experts would not agree with this tip for getting a toddler to sleep. However, in my mind, if it works there are no tears at bedtime.
Cry to Sleep
Seeing your baby cry is perhaps the most heartbreaking moment of all. You don’t want him to cry. You want him happy. And of course, you want him healthy. But for all that to happen, he needs to sleep properly.
Above all, children cry when learning to sleep because they are protesting or frustrated.
That is to say, they are protesting because they don’t like change. We all resist change, it is completely normal to do so.
What’s really interesting about falling asleep is that although each of us is born with the inherent ability to do so, it is considered a learned behavior. And yet you can’t teach anyone else how to do it. In other words, you can’t simply say to your child to close his eyes and sleep. Instead, each of us has to learn for ourselves what to do to settle into sleep.
Enter frustration, Your child is placed in a room by himself without you and is expected to fall asleep. So, they cry out of frustration. Consequently, your child, along with many others, have not learned this essential skill yet
The truth is, each of us has different things we do to soothe ourselves into sleep, and your child will surely find a way that’s perfect for him. But he won’t discover those things nearly as easily with you standing right next to him or picking him up.
Simply put, if you “help” him, he will cry even harder because the touching feels like a tease that serves to reinforce the crying.
So, as hard as it is let him cry so he can learn to fall asleep on his own.
Remain as Calm and Relaxed
One of my last tips for getting your toddler to sleep falls back on you. You know how they say a dog can smell fear. Well truth be told, your child can sense your frustrations. And, he tends to react to them.
Try to control your frustration and anger as you deal with your child in the night. As a result, your child will inevitably pick up your vibes, even if you’re trying hard to hide your feelings.
Accepting the fact that some babies take a little longer to learn their baby sleep techniques. And, feeling confident that you can solve your child’s sleep problems will make it easier to cope with the middle-of-the-night sleep interruptions.
Every Child is Different
At the end of the day, every child is different just as every adult is different. Therefore, you will find many tips for getting your toddler to sleep. To clarify, some ways will work and others will not.
There are a lot of experts in the field of pediatric sleep. However, you are the most knowledgeable expert when it comes to your toddler. Just stay calm and one day your child will grow into a happy adult and you will have many stories to tell your grandchildren.