Parenting can be exhausting. From the very first time you found out you were pregnant, you already have things to do. After birth, the tasks are far from being over. Once your child starts to move from crib to bed, it’s another challenge that we should overcome and mind you, it’s not an easy one.
So if you’re on this parenting stage, I know two things about you. One, you’re tired and you need a nice, long massage and two, there are tons of sleep-training strategies you’ve tried already but none of it worked.
The sad thing about this is that you thought it was going to be easy now that they’re almost grown-up. There’s little assistance needed, such as diaper changing, feeding milk, etc. But the truth is, there’s a slight chance that your child still needs you to be with them for just an hour before they sleep, and this time gradually increases.
Another thing is that there are times when you need to unleash your inner drama queen. You have to act like she’s done a great thing when she tries to sleep on her own, which, by the way, is really a great thing. This means saying things like “Wow! I’m so proud of you for sleeping in your own bed and being a big girl!”
Just in case this doesn’t work or you need more techniques than the usual, here are more tips on how to sleep train a toddler:
Rehearse Their Bedtime
Really? Practice as a bedtime routine? What kind of technique is that?
I know it sounds crazy but starting with rehearsals can help in sleep training your big kids and toddlers.
For instance, you can practice a mini bedtime routine, which may or may not involve brushing teeth and bedtime stories. The important thing that you should remember is to not forget the usual sleep-training technique you’ve done before. Also, don’t forget to express how proud you are of them for sleeping on their own, like what you usually do when it’s actual bedtime.
When practicing, be sure to make it fun. This might mean switching roles -- you go to bed and your child acts as the parent. Get into pajama and let them read you a book, tuck you to bed, or put a teddy bear beside you. Not only will this help you strengthen your parent-kid bond, but it will also keep your child excited about bedtime.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to do this 24/7; you only need a few days a week and a few hours before bedtime. But remember, the more practice you have, the higher the chance that they get better with it.
The “Take A Break” Technique
If you’ve never heard or tried this technique, I bet that you will like it. It’s simple and effective and it will help speed up your sleep-training.
To do this, you have to find out how long your kid normally falls asleep after you switch the lights off. For instance, if you turn out the lights at 9 in the evening, she/he usually dozes off at 9:30 PM.
Once you know this you’ll have an idea when to “take a break” and it’s better if you do this in the middle of those 30 minutes, and here’s how it would go:
- Do all the bedtime routine you need to do, such as reading books, tucking the kid to bed, etc.
- Turn off the lights and say good night. Stay in the room for a while.
- After 15 minutes (if it’s a 30-minute period), tell your kid that you’ll just take a break and that you’ll be back soon.
- Go back to your kid’s room after 1 minute and praise your child for being a big kid. Of course, don’t hesitate to show some love to your little one with hugs and kisses.
- Stay until they finally fall asleep.
Do the same thing every night but instead of a 1-minute break, gradually increase the number of minutes every night. For example, 2 minutes on the second day, 3 minutes on the third day, 4 minutes on the fourth day, and so on.
Once your child is able to sleep in 30 minutes or less in a week, you can stop this technique. Also, don’t forget to include this strategy in your rehearsal.
- To avoid a screaming or crying child, be sure to stay in your kid’s room until they fall asleep. However, be sure to give enough space and independence; meaning, avoid holding or cuddling them all the time.
- Practice “Cry-It-Out” or CIO for toddlers. This is a great alternative for parents who have the patience to hear their kids whining big time. Also, this is ideal for less determined kids otherwise, the entire family might suffer from lack of sleep.
- Use white noise to help the toddler sleep.
These are just some of the sleep training techniques you can use for your little ones. We hope that it will help you and your kid get the slumber you deserve and if you have additional tips, feel free to share it below.
See you there!