Getting your toddler to sleep through the night. Night after night, that may seem like an unachievable goal for your family. You might be counting the years until your toddler gets there. Toddlers fighting sleep is perfectly normal. As they get to understand their night routine, they can also start to try to figure out how to get out of it and stay up later. As with babies, toddlers can go through different phases from teething to growth spurts that affect their sleep patterns.
It is natural. Even sleep training does not necessarily prevent your toddler’s sleep habits from changing up at one point of the other. Getting your toddler to sleep through the night is a battle that many parents face. Luckily, there are things to try out to get your toddler a good night’s sleep.
Have you already tried getting your toddler to bed earlier to give them the chance to get more hours of sleep? You may also have tried dimming lights and keeping things quiet around 30 minutes before your toddler gets to bed. Already tried limiting their screen time throughout the day and for the 15 minutes or so before bed? Even a warm bath before bed has not done the trick? If nothing’s worked so far, try the following.
5 Hacks to get toddler sleeping through the night that you probably haven’t tried yet
1. Check for sleep associations
See if there is anything your toddler is used to having to help them fall asleep that they cannot have if their sleep is interrupted in the night. If there is any such thing, it might be the reason why they struggle to fall back asleep at night. They need that crutch again every time they stir. Katherine suggests helping your toddler to break away from these associations to help them sleep better and independently.
2. Comforting & reassuring words
From Kate: “I turn off the lights and say the following to my son as I hug him in his room:
“Goodnight my love. Sleep well. You know how to fall asleep on your own so well – you did it last night and you can do it again today. We had a wonderful day today together. We are right here at home with you. We are not going anywhere. You are not alone. Sleep well. I love you so much. Goodnight my love.”
This reassures him that he is not missing out on anything by being left in his room, and he is not alone. He falls asleep quietly and stays asleep all night!”
If you have a toddler who is still waking up to night nurse and you’re ready to wean them, you should read about how I fully weaned my co-sleeping, breastfeeding toddler.
3. Talk them through it
Jeanne suggests talking your toddler through what to do when they wake up in order to get themselves back to sleep. With her daughter, for example, she explained to her that she should just look for her favourite stuffed animal. It would be in bed with her). She told her daughter to hug the stuffed animal and go back to sleep.
4. White noise
Make white noise a part of your child’s bedtime routine. Use a white noise machine in your toddler’s room and start it before they fall asleep. Let them fall asleep to the comfortable sound. The same sound will hopefully lull them to get back to sleep easily should they stir in the middle of the night.
5. Keep a food diary
Track your toddler’s food for a couple of weeks. You might find clues about why your toddler is unable to sleep through the night. See what your toddler is eating consistently. Check if they are behaving like their tummy is uncomfortable when they wake up in the night. If so, it is possible that a specific item on their menu is stopping them from getting good sleep.
So those are some techniques you may not have tried yet. For us, number 5 is what did the trick. It got us a first full night’s sleep! We realized that any green veggies before bed gave our daughter made our daughter uncomfortable. She had so much discomfort that she could not stay asleep throughout the night.
It’s a matter of testing things out and seeing what works for your toddler.
Are you working on getting your toddler to sleep through the night?
What got your toddler sleeping through the night?