Asleep at Last: A Toddler Sleep Guide

Toddler Sleep Text
Image adapted from iStock

Tired parents of toddlers, this one is for you.

I have seen a few comments from tired parents in the EverydayFamily community, expressing how exhausted they have been because they too have a non-sleeping child. I’ve offered support by letting them know that they are not alone, but now I am sharing a roundup of articles and blogs about toddlers and sleep, in hopes that they’ll help some of you – and your toddlers – to achieve some shut eye.

boy with stuffed animal
Image via iStock

My daughter was born with an unbelievable ability to thrive on very little sleep. She never slept about five hours a day – less than half of what infants are supposed to get. It was awful. And it continued to be awful for four years. I asked her pediatrician if I should be concerned, he said that as long as her growth and development was normal, then no. Then he looked at my zombie face with much sympathy, wished me luck, and offered a few tips on how to get my daughter to, at the very least, settle down for a while.

If you’re struggling to get your little one to sleep, you might find some good advice that works well for you and your child.

1. Sleep Aides for Your Toddler. From room darkening shades, to  a sound machine, this article is full of tips that are worth a try. 

2. Setting Bedtime Routines for Toddlers. This addresses the unconventional idea of using your toddler's behavior as guide to setting a bedtime routine, even if that means having a child stay up late.

{ MORE: Two Cute! How to Match Your Mini-Me }

3. Go to Sleep! Nighttime rituals can be important and helpful to toddlers; find out what you might want to add to your ritual.

4. Snooze Soundly, Even When You're Sick. Sometimes not feeling well (whether it's you or your toddler) can make sleeping a little harder to do; try one the tips listed in this article.

5. Naptime: When Is It Time to Stop? This one is all about how to have a successful nap, and what to do when naptime goes away.

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6. How Much Sleep Does a Toddler Need? Find out why sleep is so important to our toddlers.

{ MORE: The Number of Kids Sent to the ER for Doing This Has Gone Up 90% In 20 Years. Know the Risks. }

7. Children and Sleep: Consistency Matters. Here are five great tips on how to improve sleep consistency in your kids.

8. Real Mom Tips For How to Get Your Toddler to Sleep Through the Night. Get some tips from a mom who hasn't had a good night's sleep since 2012.

happy toddler boy
Image via Amanda Rodriguez

My children never had a crib. My son slept in a playpen for a year before he easily transitioned into a toddler bed. And as I said before, my daughter rarely slept, but when she did she'd only snooze in her car seat; and when she grew out of her car seat, she was more than happy to accept her brother's old toddler bed — not to sleep in, but to jump on.

I don't know what it is like to have a child who has a difficult time transitioning from his or her previous sleeping arrangements, but some of our writers do. Here are their thoughts on the subject:

1. Goodbye Crib, Hello Big Kids Bed. If you're questioning whether or not it's time to move your child from a crib to a bed, this article will help you decide. 

{ MORE: Should You Hire a Sleep Coach? }

2. Things That Go Bump in the Night: Is Your Toddler Climbing Out of Bed? If you've got a climber, this article will help you learn how to keep your child safe in the night.

3. 5 Tips for a Smooth Crib to Bed Transition. Help make your child's transition an easier one.

4. The Toddler Bed. If you're searching for the toddler bed, use these guidelines to pick the perfect one.

{ MORE: Should You Enroll Your Toddler in Athletics? }

5. Kicked to the Curb: Getting Your Toddler Out of Your Bed. If your toddler is taking up too much room in your bed, get some advice on how to get your little one to sleep in his or her own bed. 

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sleeping toddler
Image via iStock

Last but certainly not least, there are other nighttime issues that can be a roadblock when it comes to our toddlers' sleep. Read what our writers have to say about nighttime diapers and scary dreams.

1. Dealing with Your Toddler's Nighttime Fears. Learn some of the causes of nighttime fears for our toddlers, and how to help minimize and deal with their occurrences.

2. Nightmares and Night Terrors. Lean the difference between these two, they're very different.

{ MORE: Do You Sing Your Baby to Sleep? New Research Says You Probably Should }

3. Great Ways to Avoid Diaper Leaks at Night. Soiled diapers are one of the many reasons our little ones wake in the night. Some great tips on preventing leaks can be found in this article.

Help us help our toddlers sleep: What's your best advice?

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What do you think?

Asleep at Last: A Toddler Sleep Guide

Melanie Denney lives in the smallest of towns, with her two little darlings. She has a Bachelor's degree and happily works as a full-time mother and a freelance writer, specializing in sociology and recreation leadership. ... More

Tell us what you think!

12 comments

  1. MonicaKelly says:

    Co-Sleep. Family Bed. I am an American and this is what I’ve done from the birth of my 2 children on-ward. But then I also still nurse my 20-month old. My 3 year old sleeps on one side of me, my 20-month old, the dogs and my husband is in there too. Until the kids want to stop sharing the bed with us (and the day will come; I am sure) we all go to bed at 7:45 or 8:30PM depending on the night and we all get a full night’s sleep. We also have the toddler beds in our bedroom (we never did cribs), so they have the option when sleepy during the day naps or even at night to go to their beds. But are still safely in the family bedroom. One day, we will gradually move the toddler beds to their rooms; right now I don’t see it as a big deal, they are potty trained, and they can dress themselves somewhat. I breast fed from day one to 22 mos, and that makes a HUGE difference since my newborns would sleep through the night, my breast was there, they nursed and we’d fall back to sleep. It was a natural movement in my sleep to turn over nurse, settle back to sleep. Nursing settles them like no other method. I wouldn’t let my kids cry it out ; I think that is ridiculous. Not sure why there is this huge push to get them out of your arms and on their own, they are only LITTLE once. Enjoy it while you have it.

  2. alissa says:

    Any tips on how to get a very smart toddler off his bottle, we have tried everything we can think of and he won’t sleep without it… He will wake up several times a night and scream and cry until he gets it (last time he cried for 3 hours before my fiancée gave in). We have a new baby on the way in 2 months and I would like him off before she is here.

  3. Samantha says:

    My daughter is a year old. I still have to rock her to sleep every night and hope she stays asleep when I put her down in the crib. How can I get her to go to sleep on her own?

  4. Kady says:

    My son just turned one and he will only sleep through the night if I feed him a filling meal right before he goes to bed. He didn’t sleep through the night until I took him off the bottle because he was so used to waking up and drinking one in the middle of the night.

  5. Kristie says:

    My son slept thru the night from when he was born until november when he was hospitalized for severe gerd the worst the childrens hospital said theyve seen. It was then he was 5 months old and BAM stopped sleeping hes up 3 times a night at least granted he eats and goes back to sleep but he gets up non stop and then only takes 2 naps during the day which are 30 to 45 mins each. Ugh im one exhausted mommy and hell be 10 month in a week. I NEED SLEEP!!!!!

  6. LIZ says:

    i think buying a bouncer is gonna help me with her 🙂

  7. Melissa says:

    My child like to sleep at night but not during the day.

  8. Leslie says:

    Never had this problem. My child loves to sleep.

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