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15 ways to help your toddler sleep



Helpful tips for more quality snooze time for baby – and you

Helpful tips for more quality snooze time for baby


Like most parents, when I became a dad, I wondered who coined the phrase, “sleep like a baby.” Certainly not a parent. Most families I knew – and know – wouldn’t wish “sleep like a baby” on anyone.

In fact, upon birthing a baby, a lot of mom and dad friends have rethought the concept of sleep altogether. Prior to a child, they assumed they needed much more sleep to function, but now they realize they can get by with far less than imagined. Why? Because their baby has kept them up all hours of the night, sometimes wailing with astonishing power and stamina, other times just awake, with a million questions, needs, and unreasonable energy. 

Author Dr. Laura Markham, writing for Motherly, wants to help. She notes: “Toddlers don't seem to have an off switch. Often, when they're tired, they just reverberate faster like an overwound toy until they crash.” Also, humans, she writes, “seem designed to sleep with other humans. You may get a better night's sleep with your toddler in another room, but your toddler instinctively feels safer in your presence.” And some children are innately better sleepers and some just aren’t.

READ MORE: Create a bedtime routine for your child

Luckily, you can train a toddler to sleep better, and to sleep in another room. Dr. Markham’s list is pretty comprehensive, but I can add one item.

Read to your child in their bed. If you fall asleep either while reading or while laying in the dark with them afterwards, don’t sweat it. Before you know it, your child will not want you to read to them, and soon will not want you anywhere near them while they rest. Trust me on this.

My son’s mother and I took turns reading to our now-twenty-two-year-old son every night, from birth until he was about nine. She read him Harry Potter, and I read him everything else. It was a habit we now look back on as crucial to his development and sense of self, and one of the best things we did as parents. We often remained when he fell asleep. Sometimes we would pass out before he did, awakening in the middle of the night to go lie down in our own bed with our snoozing spouse. Maybe we were bummed out because we’d missed an evening of television or something, but if so, that feels ridiculous right now.

Regarding sleep issues with a toddler or youngster, we hope Dr. Markham’s helpful list can facilitate better rest for your child, and for you. Good luck, and good night. Sleep tight.



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