Toddler sleep something they all need! Parents need it, toddlers need it! And in some homes it is a precious commodity in a home with young children.
In this toddler parenting article I am going to share with you some hints and tips about getting sleep...and what to do when its just not happening!
We had 3 babies hot on each others heels, then a three year break before our fourth blessing arrived. Needless to say toddler sleep was not something that was taken for granted in our home. My husband and I used to have a standing joke which went like this when I was feeling grumpy:
Me: I have lived without sleep for 11 years I am entitled to be grumpy!
Husband: I have lived with someone who hasn't slept for 11 years I can be grumpy too!
And while this was said in jest, we all know how rough around the edges a lack of sleep can make us.
Yes, I did not have sleepers. In fact it took about 3 years for each of my children to start sleeping through!
We did have times when there was a night or two that we got decent sleep, but generally this time was marked with a general tiredness.
How did I stay sane? There were a few key things I did.
1. Used my time effectively when little ones were engaged in activities I did what needed to be done in the home so that
2. When they rested I rested too.
3. Made sure that when they were asleep, I didn't work late, but rather enjoyed some time to myself or with my hubby before an early night.
4. Rested when they played in the water or sandpit buy taking a book outside and sitting in the shade.
5. Made sure my nutrition was balanced and healthy
6. Enjoyed long quiet days at home with them not always running around from one activity to the next play date.
At the same time as I was going through my toddler sleep deprived stage there were friends who had sleepers. Some say they trained their children to sleep, others just had sleepers from 6 weeks old.
Toddler sleep training (and babies) or controlled crying is followed by some parents. This means that you would put your little one to bed with their comfort item of choice. When they awake or battle to settle you will not rush in to them, but rather give them a period (from 2 to 10 minutes) to try and settle themselves. If they reach crescendo pitch, you would go in, settle the child down and leave the room. This can happen on and off all night for periods of up to 1.5hrs. Info on the internet is varied about this topic some say that it will do damage to your childrens trust of you, others who swear by three nights of controlled crying and then peace and sleep reign in the house.
Another friend just put her babies in her bed with her and her husband and she swears they all got a decent night sleep. When you look on the web for info on this you will find two camps the attachment parents who swear by it and the other extreme who say it is dangerous. I do not advise either way you need to make your own choice.
Encouraging your toddler and baby to have a time of rest everyday is imperative in a home where night time sleep is erratic. When your toddler outgrows their daytime toddler sleep (somewhere from 2.5 yrs to 5 years) they should still have a daily rest time.
Some ideas that worked for us were:
A pile of books looked at on their bed
A special box of quiet time toys taken out just at this time
Story tapes played softly in the room
Easy puzzles to do
See other toys here This time can be up to 1 hour long some time after lunch. After rest time you can enjoy a snack together and then do an activity, take a walk or play outside if the weather is fine before your evening routine.
As I have explained above, I really sympathize with moms who are sleep deprived. The only hope and encouragement I can give is that truly in a blink of an eye your toddler will be older...my oldest daughter is about to celebrate her 14th birthday and even though we have been together 24/7 for the last 14 years, I am amazed how fast the time has gone.
Dont let a lack of sleep rob you of a joyous and precious time with your little children. When things get too tough, find a way to get a little time to yourself to regroup.
Meditate on Isaiah 40.11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
To help your toddler learn to follow their routine, spend a little time and do these toddlers routine book and clock activities.
More sleep tips? Go to Easy Baby Life for some top sleep tips for your youngsters.
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