Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Six Ways to Put Your Toddler to Sleep




Since I stopped breastfeeding, I have had to find new ways to put my son to sleep. Luckily, I have been through the rigmarole of putting a toddler to sleep with my daughter, so I have some tricks up my sleeve.

If you are battling to get your little one to sleep, either for daytime naps or at night, here are some tricks that you can try. Some might work on some days and not others, some might not work at all- you need to see what works best for your little one.

A SOLID BEDTIME ROUTINE

Toddlers are creatures of habit, so sticking to a night time routine (eg. bath, brush teeth, pyjamas, bedtime story, shut lights) is essential.

Meet their needs before they have cause to wake up and moan about something. Give them any comfort objects they may need before they ask for them. Ask them if they need the bathroom or a last sip of water before bedtime and make sure that their bedrooms are comfortable. Scan the room with them for anything 'scary' if you have a toddler going through a frightened stage and reassure them that their bedrooms are a safe place. 

If they wake during the night, reassure them but be firm and do not create any incentives for them to stay awake or you will be reinforcing the habit.

A SLEEPY STORY

When putting a little one to sleep, I switch off the lights (or put on just a small night light) and then make up my own stories. The trick is to make them very repetitive and slightly monotonous, engaging enough for your little one not to stop you in your tracks, but boring enough for you to literally bore them to sleep, e.g. He saw a bear at the zoo and clapped his hands. Then he saw a monkey at the zoo and clapped his hands. Then he saw a lion at he zoo and clapped his hands. You get the point. At some point, the character in the story needs to get very sleepy and start yawning, eventually falling asleep.

Have you tried 'The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep'? If not, click on the hyperlink to find the Youtube video. My sleepy stories work on similar principles to this.

A CAR RIDE

No toddler can resist falling asleep after a long car ride. If all else fails, this is a good way to get them to sleep.

WHITE NOISE

Some background noise, eg. a fan or a hairdryer can be a good sleep aid. There are some great free white noise apps that you can download or you can buy (or create your own) white noise CD. Experiment and see what white noise works for your little one. Noodle still drops off after a few minutes of a hairdryer while Squish seems more partial to water trickling. 

A LULLABYE

Lullabyes work well but you are bound to get tired of singing them over and over. So get a recording of your little one's favourite lullabye or if only your voice works, record yourself singing it and then play it softly on a loop.

SOME SLEEPY POTIONS

Try some lavender essential oil or tissue oils or tissue oils designed for sleep. (Note: I have found that this one helps sometimes but other times not).