Having trouble with your toddler not sleeping through the night? Put these six practices into a consistent routine so your toddler can start sleeping like an angel.
Are you struggling with your toddler not sleeping through the night?
I feel your pain.
If your toddler is anything like mine was, then supposed “bedtime” could make for long, anguishing nights instead of the peaceful slumber it is intended to be.
Night after night, he would wake up constantly.
And he wouldn’t have the decency to wake up and just relax in his crib. He made sure to move toward us as close as he could get while SCREAMING and HOLLERING at the top of his lungs.
Then he managed to figure out how to escape from his crib and start demolishing the bedroom as we slept. (Of course, the sounds of ensuing destruction woke us up).
This way of life COULD NOT continue.
We found some different methods to implement with our toddler that helped him start sleeping through the night, so we could all be happier, more restful (and sane) human beings.
Trying these methods with your toddler could CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE.
What To Do If Your Toddler Is Not Sleeping Through The Night:
1. Skip the daytime nap
One of the first things you'll want to do is nix that nap (and avoid letting them sleep in)! Sounds crazy, right?
Sometimes those little toddlers seem desperate for a nap, but when you have a wild little toddler who refuses to sleep through the night, it’s best to do whatever you can to ensure they’ll be sufficiently tuckered out when it comes time for bed.
We tried whatever we could to keep our toddler awake the entire day so he could get used to being sleepy enough at night to sleep throughout the entire night.
I say “get used to” being sleepy enough at night because it doesn’t seem to click immediately the first time you skip a daytime nap. It took about one week of consistent skipped naps for 7 consecutive days before our son started to get into the routine of regularly falling asleep at night without still frequently waking up.
Do whatever you can to keep them up if you see them starting to doze off.
We would try to engage him in an activity, start dancing him around, put him in the tub for an impromptu bath, or gently dab a cool rag on his cheek - just ANYTHING to keep him up.
If skipping the nap seems impossible at first, then try to knock that nap out of the way as early in the day as absolutely possible, so it doesn’t conflict with or infringe upon your set bedtime.
2. Serve dinner 1-2 hours before bed
Having a nice, full belly works well to help anyone sleep soundly through the night, even grown-ups. Who wants to wake up with a grumbling tummy?
I recommend serving your toddler a nice filling dinner before bed, but within 1-2 hours beforehand so that they haven’t ingested their meal so close to bedtime that they inadvertently end up with a tummy ache.
An unexpected tummy ache is not going to help AT ALL with achieving the goal of keeping your little one sleeping peacefully throughout the night.
So, the goal is to provide a nourishing meal at a time that will be in close enough proximity to bed to leave a long-lasting feeling of fullness but not so close to bedtime that they haven’t been given a chance to let their food digest.
3. Melatonin sleep drops
Melatonin can be used to help adjust the body’s internal clock or improve sleep. In nature, it’s found as a hormone in our bodies that plays a role in sleep regulation. It can also be obtained as a dietary supplement to provide individuals with sleep support.
We used a children’s supplement of melatonin by a brand called JoySpring. The melatonin they have is called SleepBerry. It provides a 3 mg serving of melatonin plus vitamin D to not only help facilitate better sleep but also boost your little one’s immune system.
We would give our toddler his nightly dose of SleepBerry about 30 minutes before laying him down for bed.
4. Warm bath directly before bed
A warm bath AFTER dinner and before bedtime is typically a soothing, relaxing experience that will help your little one wind down for bed. It helped our little one ease into that relaxed state of comfort that leads to sleep.
I recommend washing your toddler with some soothing lavender baby wash.
Lavender baby wash is highly regarded for helping induce relaxation and calmness.
Any brand will do. I enjoyed the scent and the results in all the baby brands I’ve tried. Each one smells slightly different but still good.
I would put some directly in the tub as if it were a bubble bath. I’d give him some time to soak for a bit, and then I’d wash him with the lavender baby wash.
5. Serve some warm milk
Warm milk can be a very soothing and refreshing drink for your toddler as well.
Whether your toddler is still drinking from a bottle or has graduated to a sippy cup, fill up their favorite drink container with some warm milk and give it to them when you lie them down for bed.
I recommend pouring cold milk into their cup, filling up a large (at least quart size) mason jar with hot tap water, and putting the sealed cup inside the mason jar so it can soak in the hot water and gradually warm up.
Once it’s warm, remove the cup from the mason jar, dry it off with a paper towel, then serve it to your child.
This really helped put our toddler to sleep.
6. Gentle back massage
Lastly, a gentle back massage really helped work out any of those last kinks of sleep resistance.
I would gently rub his little neck and shoulders and gently work my way down to his little lower back. He loved it.
Amid the massage, he would fall into a deep sleep.
Aaaah...then sweet bliss followed for us as we too could sleep peacefully throughout the night.
And there you have it. Six ways you can effectively soothe, relax and tucker out your toddler. If possible, combine all six methods so that you ALL can experience a tranquil sleep.