Sleep

What to do if Your Toddler Won’t Sleep?

Reviewed By

Does bedtime look like a wrestling match in your house? You're not alone. Countless parents struggle with young children in this situation. That's why we made you a blog for this challenge.

Uploaded on:

28/11/23

Last Reviewed:

28/2/2024

Reading time

5 min

Table of contents toggle

Hey, don’t worry; we know toddlers are notorious for their sleep regressions and occasional resistance to naptime and bedtime. But fear not, parents! You can implement several strategies to help your little one drift off to dreamland and ensure a peaceful sleep experience for both of you.

Reasons why your toddler won't sleep

  • Hyperstimulation: Toddlers may become excited quickly due to television, rough play, or consumption of refined sugar.
  • Discomfort: Bright lights, loud noises, teething, hot or cold temperatures, stuffy noses, or itchy pajamas can make it difficult for toddlers to sleep.
  • Curiosity and strong will: Toddlers are naturally curious and may not want to go to bed because they fear missing out on what everyone else is doing.
  • Lack of a bedtime routine: Children benefit from a consistent bedtime routine that promotes relaxation and calmness, signaling that it's time to sleep.
"Sleep is not a reward for the good child; it is a necessity for the growing child."
💡 Dr. William Sears.

5 helpful steps for when your toddler refuses to sleep

Bedtime with toddlers: a combination of lullabies, cuddles, and... the unexpected challenge of a toddler refusing to nap. It's a familiar scene for many parents, leaving them exhausted and frustrated. But fear not, weary warrior. Here are five helpful steps to turn those bedtime fights into peaceful nights:

1. Create the perfect sleep environment

  • 🌘 Have complete darkness: lights outside could interfere with your little one's sleep.
  • 🌡 Set the temperature: Extremes are usually negative. The room should be neither too hot nor too cold. 
  • 🎵 Sound and comfort: Quietness and comfort at bedtime are crucial for your child's development. StoryBook can help with this.

Visit our blog and discover effective strategies to put a toddler to sleep fast - don't miss our tips for more restful nights! ➔➜ how to put a toddler to sleep in 40 seconds

2. Establish a bedtime routine

Relaxing activities are essential. Check out this ideal routine: 

  • 🛀 Bath time! (8:00 - 8:15 pm): A good bath is always a perfect way to start the trip to bed.
  • 👚Let's get into our pajamas! (8:15 - 8:20 pm): Choose an appropriate and comfortable outfit for your little one; 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, at this point, your little one should be completely asleep. And you know what? It's time to go to sleep, too.

3 Millions of families already trust us

The #1 app for parents and kids in more than 150 countries.

Download now!

3. Prioritize needs over wants

Establish clear boundaries: While offering choices is essential, so is setting clear boundaries. Avoid indulging them with unreasonable demands or negotiating bedtime. 

4. Don't skip naptime.

Regular naps are essential for toddlers, especially on busy days. It also keeps him from sleeping too much. Napping should be balanced.

5. Incorporate calming activities for toddlers

Put relaxing activities and sensory experiences into action, and massages can be your perfect solution. 

"All babies are born with a survival instinct that makes them cry when they need help to calm down."
💡 Dr. Harvey Karp

When to worry if your toddler won't sleep

In the book Sleep Solutions for Your Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler: The Ultimate No-worry Approach for Each Age and Stage by Ann Douglas, we are told that Most 2- to 3-year-olds need between 11 and 14 hours of sleep per night.

If your child sleeps less than those hours, has difficulty concentrating, and is irritable and tired, it is time to take action.

 If you need more information, we recommend you to check our blog: toddler sleep schedule 

3 Millions of families already trust us

The #1 app for parents and kids in more than 150 countries.

Download now!

References

  • O'Malley, T. (2023). THE IMPACT OF INFANT-TODDLER SCREEN TIME ON SELF-REGULATION AND BEHAVIOR CHALLENGES: The  Role Of Parenting Style And Socio-Economic Status.
  • Karp, H. (2002). The happiest baby on the block: The new way to calm crying and help your newborn sleep longer (2nd ed.). New York, NY: HarperCollins.
  • Douglas, A. (2010). Sleep Solutions for Your Baby, Toddler and Preschooler: The Ultimate No-worry Approach for Each Age and Stage. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Sears, W. Website Title: https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/.

More Sleep Posts