Does your child wake you up in the night and wants to squeeze in with you in your bed? Does your three-year-old, start bawling at 4 in the morning, crying out that he wants his mommy? Does your two-and-a-half-year-old run to your bed every time she has a horrible nightmare? Well, hello to parenthood.
Every parent has to go through this problematic phase, and while some use tried and tested tips to resolve the sleeping issues of their children, others take the easy way out and make the wrong choice for the long run!
Toddlers and young children are likely to make it a habit to run into your room in the middle of the night, cry out to you to go to them and generally make a fuss if they are facing any sleeping problems. The trick is to resolve their sleeping issue and adopt smart tips to make them sleep soundly at night and in their own beds!
Sleeping Issues in Young Children – How to Resolve the Problem
The first thing is to find out what sleeping problem is troubling your child, and then look for possible solutions to help you deal with the issue.
Baby Crying in the Night
It is essential that both parents work together as a team and are consistent in their approach and attitude to bedtime, especially with babies and toddlers. For me it’s the “4B’s” and this is for all age groups.
- Breast or Bottle
- Bedtime story
If there are any sleeping problems in your child’s routine my advice to parents is to keep a detailed diary for 3 to 4 days. This diary should include all activities in their day to day lives. By doing this it can help you establish notes on your child’s habits, for example take note of any nap times, how long your child is sleeping for during the day, looking at the amount of milk your child is drinking and how much solid food they are eating. What kind of activities are they involved in and how much interaction they have with other children and adults?
If your baby keeps crying in the night, you need to ask yourself some questions.
- Has your baby started crying for just the past couple of days?
- Has anything changed in their routine?
- What activities they are doing?
- The amount of fluids and solids they are having?
- Is the baby teething?
- Are they taking longer naps during the day?
- Has the Nanny been changed in the past days?
By answering these questions, you will be in a better place to identify the probable reason for the crying. If the baby is taking longer naps during the day, just change the night time sleeping schedule by keeping them awake for around 15 to 20 minutes more each night. This will tire your baby out, making them sleep soundly.
If the baby is crying because of teething, then consult your doctor for any possible solution. If anything has changed over the past few days which is causing the crying, find it and fix it.
Toddler Frightened by Nightmares
Children aged 2 to 3 years old are likely to suffer from scary nightmares, as they have a developing creative imagination in those years, and imagine horrible faces and monsters in every shadow.
What you can do is avoid reading any scary story to them before bedtime and make sure that you tell them a happy bedtime story and show happy pictures from a story book. This way, they are less likely to think about any scary monsters and will probably settle down to sleep in a good mood.
Another thing is that when you hear your child cry out because they have just had a scary nightmare, go to them and try to soothe them down. Tell them it’s alright now and help them relax. Then as they relax, help them to settle down and go to sleep in their own bed.
Visitor to your bed in the Middle of the Night
If you have a child who wakes you up in the early hours of the morning and demands to get into your bed, you should not give in so easily. Many parents take the easy way out by presenting the least resistance and letting the child squeeze into their bed. While they do this to get some sleep by soothing the frightened child, they get very restless sleep as the toddler keeps kicking and disturbing both parents for the remainder of the night.
This is one of the biggest problems that parents face when trying to get their toddler to sleep in their own beds in their own rooms. The children simply go back to sleep with their parents like before. The need is to make the child understand that they need to sleep in their own room.
One way of doing this is by explaining to the child in the morning that everyone sleeps in their own bed, whether they are parents or children. You can also read them stories where the baby sleeps in their own bed in their own room.
One other way of dealing with the problem is to take the child back to their bed and refuse to let them squeeze into your bed. If the child persists, parents can also use the gate they used to restrict their baby to a safe playing area.
If your child says that they want you there when they sleep, you can start sleeping on a foldout bed in the child’s room for a couple of nights, but don’t sleep in the child’s bed. Every day, try to move farther away from the child’s bed and maybe sit on a chair in the room as your child drifts off to sleep. Once they are asleep, simply walk back quietly to your room. After a couple of night, keep to your room, and if your child calls you, just go to them and settle them down for the night again and come back to your bed.
Don’t invite your child into your bed, as they will make it into a habit and know that they will get their way by troubling you and throwing a tantrum. Be consistent and don’t give mixed messages.
The Child Doesn’t Want to Sleep
If this is the case, then you will have to give them an hour of quiet time before you settle them down for sleep. Sing them soft lullabies, give them a relaxing shower and read a simple story and tuck them into bed.
If your child is used to getting out of bed, it will take some time for the habit to change. What you can do is to try and relax your child some time before their sleeping time, so that eventually, they will grow accustomed to the idea of settling down for the night.
As your child is as resolute to have his own way as you are in need of sleep, it will be a good idea to identify the problem and try to devise a working solution so that you can get some peaceful night’s sleep while your child also sleeps for the recommended number of hours each day.
If you have any problems with your child sleeping contact Teresa Boardman at Nanny Options.
© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options.
Browse other Parenting Guide articles from Nanny Options
or keep up to date with us on Facebook.