It’s never too late to teach your toddler how to sleep. Here’s what you can do to help your toddler to go to sleep:
Do put your toddler on a schedule during the day. Following a certain schedule makes it a lot easier for both your toddler and yourself: it reduces stress and discussion with your toddler about when it’s time to go to bed. This also has a calming effect on your toddlers behaviour. After a peacefull day it is much easier for a toddler to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Don’t fill your days with loads of excitement. You toddler really needs some time to relax during the day to process new experiences. So allow your toddler some quiet time every now and again, like sitting on the cough doing nothing, or reading a quiet book together. It needs to get the excitement of the day out of its system before going to sleep, in order to prevent a restless night for you and your toddler.
Do find a moment alone with your toddler before putting it to bed. Your toddler needs to be reasured that you are really there for him when it’s asleep. So give your toddler a moment of individual attention right before sleep time. Choose any calming activity such as reading a book or singing a quiet song together.
Don’t spend too much time with your toddler when putting it to bed. It needs to be clear for your toddler, that individual attention before sleepingtime doesn’t take very long. Some toddlers are very good at manipulating their parents. It is very important to make clear straight away that your toddler is not the one who’s in charge. So don’t spend more than 10 minutes quiet time with your toddler before putting into bed.
Do make clear that you are ‘the boss’. You attitude towards your toddler will always effects its behaviour. So you need to make very clear that you are the one who’s in charge.
Don’t allow your toddler to misbehave when putting it to bed. When your toddler tends to make a struggle at sleep time, you need to stop this straight away. Your toddlers needs to accept that you are the one who’s in charge. By setting boundaries you can really help your toddler to accept this.
Do use rewards and punishments. The best way to influence your toddlers behaviour is by using rewards and punishments. You should punish your child at the very moment of misbehaviour. So if your toddler is crying out loud, you can take away it’s favourite teddybear for a couple of minutes minutes. You can also turn off the light, or announce to do so if it doesn’t stop misbehaving. After a good night of sleep you can reward your child the next day, for example by reading an extra book together the next time before bed.
Don’t hesitate to get mad at your toddler when refusing to go to sleep. You toddler needs to know its boundaries. One way to make this clear, is by getting mad. Or actually, pretending that you are mad. Don’t wait to long to ‘play the mad parent’. If you wait too long, you can get very frustrated and you obviously don’t want to take that out on your child. Never spank your toddler!
Do ignore your toddler for a while if getting mad doesn’t have any effect. Sometimes you need to ignore your toddlers crying for a while, especially during the night. Most toddlers will sleep through the night again within a week.
Don’t take your crying toddler out of bed. Once picked up your toddler probably won’t accept being laid back in bed again. And don’t ever allow your toddler to sleep next to you. Before you know it, your toddler will be sleeping in your bed for ages.
Do try and stay as calm as you can. If you allow yourself to get too frustrated, there is a good chance you won’t be able to sleep again due to the massive amount of adrenaline going through your veins.
Don’t forget that there will be a time that your child will sleep through the night again.
Always try to look on the bright side. And if you really think that this is the end of the world, you should buy this book: http://www.amazon.com/Go-F-Sleep-Adam-Mansbach/dp/1617750255