The challenge of getting toddlers to sleep is one of the hardest parenting tasks. It often feels like a never-ending battle that requires an abundance of patience and gentle persistence. Whether your child struggles with sensory issues, has difficulty transitioning from rocking or feeding to dozing off on their own, or is simply a picky eater, sleep has a powerful impact on their behavior and overall health.
For parents who are struggling with this common issue, it’s important to remember that every child is unique. Even if a specific method works well for another toddler, it may not work for yours. Try to keep an open mind and be willing to experiment with a variety of techniques until you find the right combination that works best for your child.
To help ease your child into a deep sleep, gently stroke their forehead or back while repeating a calming word or lullaby to soothe them. Use a firm yet gentle touch and avoid tickling or rough movements that could stimulate them. Eventually, you may be able to move your hands further and further away from them until they are completely asleep.
Establishing a consistent bedtime routine also helps your child know it’s time to wind down for the night. Start your routine 30 to an hour before bedtime, and include a warm bath, reading a book together, turning off the lights, and/or relaxing music or a lullaby. In addition, it’s helpful to limit your child’s screen time and encourage relaxation techniques such as breathing or progressive muscle relaxation.