Parents learn a lot about creating a safe sleep environment for their infant along with tips to help them get a good night’s sleep. But what about good sleep routines as they get older?
Toddlers can quickly slide to bad habits when bedtime schedules are interrupted, illnesses keep them up, or bad dreams come into play. We all know that a well-rested child is a much happier child so here are a few tips to help them sleep tight…
SET A SCHEDULE AND BE CONSISTENT.
Pick a bedtime routine and stick to it. Creating a consistent pattern lets them know what to expect and when you always follow the rules, they know you mean business and are likely to protest less. While sleeping schedules get interrupted with events and illness, try to keep the late and disruptive nights to a minimum and get them back on track as soon as you can. Be sure babysitters and other caregivers follow the rules as well. Yes, Grandma, too!
CREATE A SAFE AND COMFORTABLE ENVIRONMENT.
Provide a place your child feels safe — a nightlight, stuffed animal, or an open door can help. Since safety is a primary concern, be sure your child is old enough to have a soft animal in their bed. The first 12 months of a baby’s life is most critical for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), so by the time your 2-4-year-old moves into a toddler bed, they are ready for soft bedding and stuffed toys but always ask your pediatrician if you’re not sure.
With summer almost upon us, keeping the room and their body temperature regulated aids a good night sleep tremendously. Many mattresses and crib pads offer cooling technology that adjusts with your toddler’s body temperature. Two of our favorites, Sealy OptiCool 2-Stage Crib Mattress and Sealy Baby Cool Comfort Mattress Pad, help keep kids cool and dry and the Cool Gel Mattress offers the added benefit of growing with your child. When they are old enough, simply flip it over and they get the soft luxurious gel topper which is perfect for toddlers.
WARD OFF NIGHTMARES.
Around 2-4 years, kids become much more prone to bad dreams. Their imagination is blossoming and everyday fears are coming into play. If your child awakes in terror, hug them, reassure them they are safe, then tuck them back into bed. Avoid a long drawn out search for monsters which makes the dream a big deal (and kind of fun). However tempting, don’t bring them to bed which is a very difficult habit to reverse.
A calm, consistent routine before bed helps. Start with a story and consider other tricks like letting him spritz some ‘monster spray’ (water with a little food coloring) around the room.
WAIT A MOMENT.
When your little one cries in the night, the immediate reaction is to rush in to comfort them. Don’t. Give them a minute or two to try and settle themselves. While it might be rough on both of you at first, it will be best for your child in the long run.