Don’t you just love the sight of your child sleeping? It’s so precious and peaceful.
Sleep is important for your toddler’s physical and mental growth. This is the time where their bodies are still growing and research shows that the most intense period of growth hormone release is at the beginning of deep sleep.
During sleep is also when consolidation happens for your child. Young children consume a large amount of information every day, particularly school-aged children. This study suggests that sleep enhances memory consolidation in children, maximising learning potential.
Simply put, it’s an aid to the learning and development of children.
So how can you ensure your child gets enough sleep to achieve this? Read on to find out how to help your child get a good night’s rest.
1. Create a routine
Set up a bedtime routine for your child. This can include brushing their teeth (or wiping down their gums for babies who’ve not started teething yet), putting on their pyjamas, singing a song (or reading a book to your toddler) before you turn off the lights. The routine should only last an hour tops.
Having up a nighttime routine for your little one gives them a sense of regularity and calmness, which is an essential part of peaceful toddler sleep.
Take note that activities included should be calming too -- no tickling and definitely no wrestling with dad!
2. Stick to the routine
Coming up with a plan is great, but you need to be able to stick to it too. If your child knows that they can bend the rules, they’re more likely to act out and try to bargain for a later bedtime.
This is true especially for toddlers when they begin learning how to use the word “No”.
So it’s important for you to be firm on this. You can give them choices as long as it’s part of their routine, such as choosing between which book to read, or which lullaby to listen to.
3. Power down
An hour or two before bedtime, start the process of winding down. Remove access to tablets, phones, television shows as this only stimulates their brain, which makes it harder for them to fall asleep.
Additionally, be sure to clear the sleeping area of toys or any other items that could distract your toddler from going to sleep.
4. Spend time with your toddler
As part of the bedtime routine, take some time to bond with your toddler.
Having you spend time with them gives them a sense of safety and comfort which will help them feel relaxed and reassured, eventually helping them to sleep better.
5. Check the room temperature, noise and light level
It’s important that your toddler’s bedroom is not too cold or warm, too bright or too noisy for optimal sleep.
You can have a fan turned on for light ventilation of their sleep area, or even turn on the air conditioning if it’s a particularly warm night.
And if your child isn’t comfortable with sleeping in the dark, you can overcome this by getting a dimmable bedside lamp.
(Do also be mindful of your own noise levels, especially if you’re catching up on your favourite Netflix shows near their bedroom!)