In a study of 405 mothers, 30% were concerned that their toddler wasn’t getting enough sleep. Toddlers actually need 11-14 hours sleep every 24 hours, at least 10 of these being at night. When toddlers have sleep difficulties, it can often result in more tantrums, and this was also found to affect the mood of the mothers. 90% of pediatricians recommend a consistent bedtime routine to help improve the quality and quantity of sleep for toddlers. Research has found that by establishing a good bedtime routine, toddler’s general behavior also improves too. Getting your little one into a healthy sleep routine will mean that everyone gets more rest in the long term – and that includes moms.
Wind down time
A wind down routine will help your toddler move on to autopilot in the hour before bedtime. Begin by turning down the lights to create a calm atmosphere. In the summer months when it’s light outside, use a blackout blind to block out bright sunshine. The lights being dimmed will help to trigger your toddlers brain into producing melatonin – this is the essential hormone that makes you feel drowsy before you go to sleep. In the last hour before bed, try to reduce the stimulation in your home. Turn off the television, or any devices with bright lights. If you’re playing music, choose something calming such as Clair de Lune by Debussy, or a Rock-a-Bye album of lullabies.
Stories and tucking in
Toddlers respond really well to the routine of having a story time, and you may well find that they often request the same storybooks over and again at bedtime. A familiar book makes them feel safe and secure, so don’t worry if you’ve read “That’s not my Tractor” six times in a week. When storytime is over, tuck your toddler in, so that they feel warm and comfortable. Many toddlers go through the transition of moving from a cot to a big bed. If you keep the storytime routine the same in their new bed, it can help them to adjust. Your bedtime routine will also teach your toddler the right time to get in and out of bed at night and in the morning.
Time for lights out
There have been some myths over the years that using a night light will damage a child’s eyesight. Research done by Ohio State University that was published in Nature debunked this myth and found that there is no link between myopia and nearsightedness, and using a night light. If your toddler doesn’t like to sleep in the dark, then a small night light that gives a warm yellow glow is very calming. Alternatively you could simply place some glow stars on the ceiling for your toddler to watch while they drift off to sleep.
Establishing a bedtime routine can help your toddler get enough sleep. A well-rested toddler should be happy and content, and this will be a boost for mom’s mood too.