Sometimes, despite our very best intentions and the tightest of routines, things can start to seemingly unravel. Our toddlers might start to wake in the night where they’d previously been sleeping well. Or they might start to need longer and longer to get to sleep in the first place, despite having always fallen straight to sleep once their head hit the pillow. Changes like this are normal, and thankfully very easily dealt with- read on for tips on re-adjusting your toddler’s routine, and let me know if they help.
This has to be my number one tip, no matter what the sleep issue and no matter how old your child is. You really do need to stay consistent, especially if you are making changes to your child’s routine. Stick with it and make sure that all care givers are on board too.
Identify areas that need work
I often ask on social, what are you working on with your child’s sleep this week? This is really because as parents, we are probably facing each new week with a new issue that needs our attention. Children and their sleep habits are ever evolving and so as parents we need to keep up with this. It might be that your child has many different issues affecting sleep; if this is the case, choose one area to work on at a time. Often the rest will fall into place once you start to focus in on another.
Establish a proper bedtime
As your toddler grows older, bedtime timings might need adjusting. For example, if your toddler is having shorter naps, or dropping the naps altogether, you definitely need to adjust the time that she goes to bed. A child who isn’t sleeping through the day will quickly tire, and will need to go to bed a little earlier than a child who naps well. As with anything, you know your child best, so adjust your routine accordingly.
If your child doesn’t nap, watch for cues that she is tired, and bring your whole routine forward by maybe half an hour. Tweak the time until you find the bedtime that suits.
Establish a good wake up time
Just as a good bed time is important, a decent wake up time is essential too. When you re-adjsut your toddler’s routine, it’s a good idea to take the lead from them when it comes to waking up. Of course if you have other children, your toddler is going to have to fit in around everyone else too so bare this in mind. But remember that your toddler’s wake up time will set the schedule for the rest of the day so having a good wake up time might make all the difference.
For example, if your toddler wakes up late and then does not nap but becomes very tired way before bedtime, you need to look at establishing a better wake up time.
Focus on naps
Naps can be a real issue for toddlers! Chances are, you toddler’s nap schedule will need re-adjusting time and again- but don’t worry, this is completely normal. Once you have a good bedtime and wake up time established, it will be easier to adjust the nap time accordingly. It might be that your child needs just one nap now, at a different time. But until you have a good wake up and bed time set, you won’t really know when the optimum nap time is.
If your toddler’s still having two naps, then the first nap of the day is generally the one to work on first. This tends to be the most restorative nap, so it makes sense to work on this and get the timing spot on. The second nap will follow.
Some toddlers can be a little resistant to change, so be patient and prepare for the re-adjusted routine to take some time to get used to. It should’t take long, and if you run into issues get in touch with me via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.