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We thought we had it made.
Our daughter Emilie was pretty much born sleeping through the night. Sure, being a parent was exhausting and tiring, but we heard stories from our friends about the nightmares of their sleep training. We kept our lips sealed when we heard stories about parents up and down every 2 hours with their little one. We thought we had lucked out with the perfect little sleeper.
But something changed. It was right around the time she transitioned to her toddler bed.
Maybe it was the extra freedom available to her since she wasn't confined to her crib. Maybe it was a growth spurt. I don't know what it was, but our lives turned into the nightmare scenario we heard our exhausted parent friends talk about. But we were entirely unprepared for what was coming our way.
The next few months were brutal.
I mean brutal.
A sleepness night is something EVERY parent has to go through.
And you probably know the toll of a few sleepless nights in a row, not to mention a month or two, or even a year.
You're already on edge, but it's like 1000x worse.
You start becoming impatient at little things your significant other says.
You start forgetting more than 'just doing the laundry.'
You may even feel angry each time you hear your little one start to stir, knowing the crying comes next, and the ritual of getting them back to sleep starts taking longer and longer.
You may want to rush putting them back to bed, but know that if you don't do things in that 'perfect order, then they'll be up again before you make it back to bed...so you hold out and sing that last song, and arrange the sheets perfectly, ensure the sippy cup is full and there's no need for another trip to the potty or diaper change.
We were in the throws of our second month of hardly any sleep before we hit a wall.
And we hit it hard.
It was time to call in some reinforcements.
Those parents we'd secretly judged because of their kids' sleep issues, soon became our best resource and friends.
So if you're where we were and your child isn't sleeping well, or if you're more proactive than us and figuring out how to get your child to sleep better, this post is for you.
I've compiled a few tips that really made a big difference for us.
Establishing a firm bedtime routine gives toddlers a clear set of expectations for the evening hours. By using these top baby sleep hacks, you can encourage your youngster to start winding down at an appropriate time, without putting up a major fight. Between the ages of two and six, kids need approximately ten to twelve hours of sleep each night. Without sufficient rest, toddlers become irritable, cranky and more likely to exhibit behavioral issue all throughout the day. Following are four tips for the perfect toddler bedtime routine that will help your little one get all the sleep that he or she needs.
1. Create A Clear, Consistent Routine That You And Your Child Can Follow Every Day
When it comes to setting a bedtime for your child, consistency is key. You don't have to make this time of day an extravagant affair. In fact, you want to focus instead on implementing a series of small, simple rituals that you can stick to. After dinner, give your little one a bath and read him or her a story. This is a good time to start dimming lights throughout the home in order to create a comfortable, nighttime ambiance.
Reading a story before bed is an age-old tradition that helps children wind down. Full, clean and comfortable, most toddlers cannot resist sleep. If your child hasn't nodded off by the time that you've finished reading, follow the story with a short, nighttime song that the two of you sing together. Although this routine isn't guaranteed to make your child drift off right away, if you repeat it nightly, it will have a positive effect on his or her sleep habits. Best of all, efforts to establish good sleep hygiene early on can benefit a child for the rest of his or her life.
2. Be Consistent In Your Parenting
Kids can be irresistible, especially when there is something that they want or don't want to do. Resist the urge to let your child stay up for an extra half-hour to complete a favorite activity or spend more time with adults or older children in the home. You'll also have to establish a strong front against whimpering, pouting and outright temper tantrums. While kids often have a clear idea of what they want, they rarely have a good understanding of exactly what they need. It's your job to make sure that your child is getting at least the minimum recommended amount of sleep each night, instead of catering to his or her whims. Like every routine that you establish in your child's life, putting a bedtime routine in place will like prove to be a very challenging endeavor. If you stay firm in your resolve to make this happen, however, your nightly ritual will soon have a soothing, calming effect on your toddler. Ultimately, although they resist routines with all their might, kids need and appreciate consistency. It gives the a sense of comfort and security.
If your child is like ours and can create the most unbelievable reasons to get you to come back in, then this tip is for you.
It's called the "Bedtime Pass"
It's good for ONE trip back into the room. For anything. Another song, another hug or a kiss, a trip to the potty, fixing the blankets....anything.
But it can only be used once. Once they call you back in, they have to hand it to you and that's the last time you go back in for the night. You HAVE to stick to your guns and stand firm. Explain the rules and within the first few nights, the bedtime pass became the best invention EVER for us.
Another trick we use is the OK To Wake Clock. You can set it up so that it turns green when it's ok for your child to get up. It runs on batteries and that's my only disappointment because we're on our third set in two months, but it's definitely worth it.
3. A Comfortable Sleep Environment
Choosing the right bedding for your little one can also have an impact on how well he or she sleeps. Having a comfortable place to rest his or her head will help your youngster drift off easily.
A full-sized, adult pillow is not appropriate for small children. These thicker options do not provide the right amount of neck support and could lead to stiffness and discomfort.
As toddlers continue to grow, the risk of suffocation remains, particularly when young kids are surrounded by lots of thick, plush objects while sleeping. A smaller pillow will significantly reduce this risk while supplying adequate support for the neck and head and promoting proper spinal alignment. It is additionally important to shop for a child's pillow that is both organic and washable.
A pillow spends the most time next to your little one's face and thus, an organic, hypoallergenic option just makes sense. This will limit the likelihood of kids breathing in harmful chemicals while they rest and prevent allergies and a host of other issues. Given the high likelihood of drooling, vomiting and nosebleeds at this stage of life, you also want to choose an option that is machine washable.
4. Place A Small Amount Of Lavender Oil On The Wrists, Neck, Feet and Bedding
Of all the baby sleep hacks that you can try to soothe your toddler into a deep and restful state of slumber, none is more effective than using lavender oil for its calming effects. Lavender oil is a highly versatile essential oil that has a fresh, herbaceous and floral aroma. It has long been used as part of aromatherapy for its soothing properties. In fact, if you check the baby aisle at most local stores, you'll find an array of lavender-scented bath and body products for infants and toddlers.
Keeping a bottle of lavender oil in the home is a great way to calm fussy toddlers down, especially on nights when your chosen sleep routine just isn't working. You can place a few drops of this oil on his or her wrists, feet or neck or you can place it directly on the bedding if you're concerned about direct skin contact. Lavender oil is also valued as a natural and effective treatment for minor burns and thus, it is definitely safe for use on young, delicate skin.
In fact, you don't even need to dilute this oil before putting it on the skin. Not only will the soothing fragrance of this oil have a calming effect on the brain, but it will also allow the olfactory system to associate the lavender scent with bedtime. Placing a drop or two on you child's pillow can be especially effective. In addition to dinner, a warm bath, a good story and a bedtime song, your child will have the fragrance of lavender as another trigger for winding down and dozing off. Lovely Lavender Massage Oil is a safe oil for skin types of all ages, is made with Organic Lavender and Fractionated Coconut Oil and is completely natural, non-greasy and doesn't stain.
Staying consistent in your child's bedtime routine will give you far greater peace of mind. Your little one will be bright, even-tempered and well-rested all throughout the day. Best of all, you'll have more time to relax and unwind before turning in for the night yourself.
Take it from the experts, you don't have to go it alone.
Take a look around our store and let us help your family wake up rested and ready for the adventures of the day. Great sleep doesn't have to be elusive, start a better sleep routine today because when they sleep better, you sleep better!