Sleep is essential for the healthy development of young children; it is our duty as parents to establish good and healthy sleep patterns and habits; let's look at the behaviors you need in this blog! 🥳
Typical toddler sleep patterns
Although toddlers may seem like boundless balls of energy, they need significant sleep to fuel their rapid physical and mental development.
Understanding their different stages of sleep and how much they require at different ages can help you get a toddler sleep schedule and better at nap schedules and nighttime awakenings.
Age and sleep needs
Toddler sleep needs to vary slightly for the sleep changes in many toddlers throughout their ages.
“Toddlers generally sleep 12 to 13 hours in 24 hours, including daytime naps of 1 to 2 hours.”
💡 Better Health
Let's look at the following table:
Little travelers may have quirky sleep habits. Still, during their first three years of life, some common patterns in toddler sleep schedules tend to emerge:
- 🌅 Early risers and night owls: Some toddlers become hopping bunnies at dawn, while others stay awake like wide-eyed owls.
- 🛌Nap nomads: Naps can be unpredictable at this age. Some toddlers need two stops, and others spend the afternoon wide awake. Watch your child's cues very carefully.
- 💫Drowsy clouds: Illness, travel, or changes in routine can disrupt sleep patterns and cause irritability and resistance.
Patience, consistency, and reassuring routines can help weather the storm!
Factors affecting sleep
- 🎑Environment: A dark, quiet, cool room with a comfortable bed and familiar objects creates a haven for sleep.
- ⏰Routine: Consistent bedtime and wake-up times, soothing rituals such as baths or stories, and predictable nap times help regulate their internal clock.
- 🌌Development: Developmental leaps and new skills can cause excitement and disrupt sleep patterns. Patience and calmness are critical during these growth spurts.
Common toddler sleep challenges
In the evolution of the health of our children, we can see several challenges; let's look at some of them:
- Health: Illness, teething, or allergies can cause discomfort and disrupt sleep. Addressing these problems can restore calm to the seas.
- Emotions: Anxiety, nightmares, or separation anxiety can cause nighttime awakenings. Comforting them, addressing their fears, and creating a sense of security will help them rest better.
Caring for babies and toddlers with sleep challenges can be exhausting. It is essential to seek support for yourself through family, friends, and your community. 💡The Royal Children’s Hospital.
Addresses parents' sleep problems, such as frequent night wakings, early rising, nap time, bedtime battles, and challenges like toddlers refusing to nap.
How to establish good sleep habits for toddlers
Establishing healthy eating habits and sleep routines early on ensures that toddlers benefit from a lifetime of restful nights. By incorporating calming practices, you can confidently help your little one navigate bedtime and easily reach dreamland.
Check out more examples and information about bedtime routines here: bedtime routine for kids
1. Create a consistent bedtime routine
Creating healthy sleep habits early on sets children up for a healthier life. Let's look at a concrete example to establish healthy toddler sleep patterns:
- 🛀 Bath time! (8:00 - 8:15 pm)
A good bath is always a perfect way to start the trip to a toddler's bedtime.
- 👚Let's get into our pajamas! (8:15 - 8:20 pm)
Choose an appropriate and comfortable outfit to help your toddler sleep little one more sleep well; it's just important that they are comfortable when it's time to rest.
- 🍎 Let's eat something (8:20 - 8:40 pm)
He must have some nutrients in his body, such as fruit or some snack that he likes and is not refined sugar, and he will be perfect.
- 🦷 Brush your teeth (8:40 - 8:50 pm)
Good oral hygiene is essential, particularly in children; ensure it is a constant habit during development.
- 📚 Listen to a story in Storybook. app (8:50 - 9:00 pm)
Open your Storybook app, and look for a novel that he likes or one that you feel can help him relax; Little Red Riding Hood or Sleeping Beauty can help you with that. It is also advisable to accompany it with a massage.
- 💤 And...to Sleep ... Zzz... (9:00 pm ➔)
By now, your little one should be completely asleep at this point in screen time. And you know what? It's time to go to sleep, too.
2. Gentle massage
An effective, gentle massage can significantly help. In the Storybook App, you can find good references to improve your little one's sleep.
3. Create a comfortable sleep environment
Turn their bedroom into a sleeping paradise. Ensure it's dark, quiet, and cool: ideally around 38°C. Blackout curtains can block out unwanted light.
4. Monitor sleep duration
Pay attention to how much sleep your child needs. Most toddlers and young children require between 11 and 14 hours of sleep daily. Follow their sleep patterns weekly to detect inconsistencies and adjust nap times.
5. Introduce a sleep cue
A special blanket, lullaby, or soft night light can become a comforting signal that it's time for a toddler to sleep; bedtime now.
This familiar signal helps children relax and know what to expect, which eases the transition to bedtime, including insights on when to transition to a toddler bed.
6. Limit stimulation
Screens emit blue light, suppressing melatonin production and making sleeping difficult. Avoid screens at least one hour before bedtime and opt for quiet activities such as drawing, singing, or relaxing music. Encourage these types of activities.
Sleep schedule example for toddlers
What to do when a toddler resists bedtime?
- Stay calm: Remember that your frustration amplifies the situation. Take a deep breath, keep your voice soft but firm, and calm the situation.
- Investigate the source: Is your child overtired or under-stimulated? Is he or she anxious about something? Is he or she looking for your attention? Do a problem screen.
- Offer choices: Within reasonable limits, offer your child a choice of a story, favorite pajamas, or a soothing tune. This sense of autonomy can help ease resistance.
Check this blog to improve your performance: toddler won't sleep
What are common signs of sleep regression in toddlers?
Young children may surprise you with a detour called sleep regression. These temporary disruptions often occur when there are developmental leaps, teething, illness, or changes in routine. Here are some common signs to watch for:
- Frequent nighttime awakenings: Your little one may wake up more frequently than usual, seeking comfort or needing gentle guidance to get back to sleep.
- Early morning wake-ups: You may find yourself awake before the rooster crows, with your child jumping up and down at the foot of the bed.
- Nap nomads: Naps may become shorter or disappear altogether, leaving your little one cranky and overtired.
- Bedtime battles: Resistance to bedtime routines may intensify, with protests, tears, and attempts at avoidance.
For more information, please visit our blog: toddlers sleeping issues
- Better Health Channel. (n.d.). Typical sleep behaviour (5) – toddlers 2 to 3 years. Retrieved from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/conditionsandtreatments/sleep
- The Royal Children’s Hospital. (n.d.). Sleep problems – babies and toddlers. Retrieved from https://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Sleep_problems_babies_and_toddlers/
- Behavioral treatment of bedtime problems and night wakings in infants and young children. Sleep, 2006, vol. 29, no 10, p. 1263-1276.
- Andrew, K. (2019). Bedtime resistance and parenting in early childhood: a self-determination perspective (Doctoral dissertation).