Baby Sleep

Babies do not have regular sleep cycles until about 6 months of age. While newborns sleep about 16 to 17 hours per day, they may only sleep 1 or 2 hours at a time

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Helping Your Toddler Learn to Put Himself to Sleep

Toddlers need adequate sleep to rise to the developmental challenges that fill their lives, from controlling their temper on the playground to staying on top of their own bodily functions.. The bad news is that some kids seem to be born "good" sleepers, and some aren't. The good news is that falling asleep is a habit, and all kids can learn it. While some kids have a harder time falling asleep than others, all children do eventually start falling asleep without a parent's presence, and sleeping through the night most nights. It may take some time to develop that habit, but your child can learn to put himself to sleep, and to stay asleep, eventually. Here's how: 1. Start the wind-down process early in the evening. Toddlers who've been racing around the apartment can't simply switch gears and decompress when you decide it's bedtime. The last few hours before bed should be calm and quiet. 2. Follow the same evening routine every night, if possible. Your goal is a sense of calm, safe, inevitability. Dinner, then a bath, then stories, then kissing and tucking in all the stuffed animals who share the toddler's bed, then prayers or blessings, then lights out while you sing to your little one, is an example of a common and effective routine Toddlers who are showing oppositional behavior may resist moving along with the bedtime routine. The best way to sidestep this is to have the clock, rather than you, be the bad guy. 3. Help your toddler set his "biological clock." Toddlers need a set time to go to bed every night, so their body begins to expect sleep. Most toddlers do better with an early bedtime; between 6:30 and 7:30 pm. You'd think a later bedtime would help them fall asleep more easily, but when they stay up later, they get over-tired, and stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol kick in to keep them going. Then they actually have a harder time falling asleep, wake up more during the night, and often wake early in the morning. So keep moving bedtime earlier until you find that magic moment before your little wind up toy starts getting wound up. (Of course, toddlers who nap later may need a later bedtime.) 4. Set up a cozy bed. All children go through normal sleep cycles in which they wake just slightly and then settle into deep sleep again. Your goal is to ensure that discomfort doesn't wake your child during those periods of slight waking Warmth matters -- if your toddler kicks his covers off, make sure he sleeps in warm pjs with feet. And of course, once he's out of diapers, be sure he uses the bathroom last thing. 5. Don't give up naps too early. Although every child has individual sleep needs, most kids are not ready to give up naps until age 3. Going napless before that just makes them cranky and adrenalized, making bedtime much more challenging. Content Image Source Feature Image Source: