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6 Tips to Help Your Toddler Sleep Better

If your toddler is having trouble sleeping at night, try these strategies.

If you have a toddler, you are probably aware that bedtime can sometimes be a struggle. There are many reasons a child might have trouble sleeping at night, such as nightmares, too much energy, or adjusting to their own room. For parents with shared custody, toddlers may also have difficulty adjusting to bedtime in two different homes. 

There are several steps you can take to help your kids get a better night's rest. In this article, we'll walk you through six tips to help your toddler sleep better. You can try one or all of them to see what works best for your child. 

1. Establish a bedtime routine

The first thing you should do is set up a consistent sleep schedule and stick with it. Your child should go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, including on the weekends. By doing this, you can naturally adjust their internal clock so that they're more likely to feel sleepy at bedtime each night.

As co-parents, it's important to keep this schedule when they are in both households. For example, if one parent allows the toddler to stay up later or sleep in, this can derail their progress. It’s beneficial to plan a sleep-wake schedule that works for you and your co-parent so that each of you has a better shot at remaining on track.

2. Keep the same bed

As co-parents, you may have a bedroom set up for your child in both homes. However, if your toddler is used to one bed, they may have difficulty sleeping in the other, especially if they find one comfier. If this is the case, consider investing in a cozy travel bed that your child can easily bring to each parent's home.

You and your co-parent can also pick out the same bed to put in your toddler's room at your respective homes. This way, your little one won't feel a difference, which could help them sleep more soundly.

Sleeping child

3. Provide comfort

If your child has been experiencing nightmares or is scared of the dark, nightlights are a popular option to provide a sense of security. Additionally, your toddler could benefit from a stuffed toy to help them feel comforted. Both the nightlight and toy can be easily packed so that they can take it to each parent's home when they stay over.

4. Play music

Another tip to consider is playing some relaxing lullabies for your child at night. Music is regarded as a popular calming aid for people who have difficulty sleeping, particularly young children. You can choose from numerous music-playing devices for kids or place your own device out and turn on a Spotify playlist. 


5. Read them a bedtime story

Reading to your child is a great opportunity for bonding, especially if you're splitting your time with your co-parent. Reading to your toddler at night can be soothing, which can help your little one doze off. If your child has nightmares, reading a happy story can fill their mind with positive imagery, which may help prevent a nightmare from occurring.

6. Avoid too much food or drinks before bed

If your toddler is too full, this can cause them to feel uncomfortable at night. However, hunger pangs could also keep them up. As a solution, offer a light, healthy snack instead.

The same goes for water or juice, both of which should be limited at night. Make sure your child is plenty hydrated during the day so that when nighttime rolls around, they aren't as thirsty. Too much liquid could mean frequent bathroom breaks or bedwetting.

Small child drinking orange juice

These strategies work best if both parents stick to them

Keeping consistency for your toddler in both homes is key. If your relationship allows, you should coordinate bedtime routines with your co-parent. TalkingParents offers several tools to help you with communications like this, such as Secure Messaging, Accountable Calling, and the Info Library.


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