Toddler Sleep Struggles
Sleep challenges with toddlers look a lot different than newborn or infant sleep challenges. Tots are too big to be contained by a crib, are mature enough to try to stall bedtime with requests for an extra story or excuses about everything under the sun, and the biggest hurdle of all is that they can get up in the night and crawl into bed with you. Toddler sleep struggles can be massive, leave your toddler an overtired mess during the day and have you ready to pull out all of your hair.
I’d like to share a few stories from parents of toddlers who have successfully tackled their toddler’s sleep struggles by working with me. When we started, these families had sleep struggles like parents “being held hostage” at bedtime, toddlers coming into their parent’s bed in the night, extreme early morning wake ups, and an overall negative feeling when it came to sleep.
Well rested + happy
Prior to working with me, Ryan, dad of a 2 year old, had never gone a night without his son waking several times. Ryan says “We discovered that he would go to sleep fairly quickly for me on most nights and so I️ took over bedtime routine with him. However, he never stayed asleep for very long and we would all be up several times a night every night.” I knew that their 2 year old needed help and support in learning the skill of independent sleep if we were going to distinguish his toddler sleep struggle.
Here’s what Ryan had to say after they began using the sleep plan: “What I loved about this sleep training program was it was all laid out for us. For me, the plan took the emotional part out of it. Now our little guy is sleeping through the night and so are we! He goes to bed every night on his own and sleeps 11-12 hours straight.”
Ryan’s son is also willingly taking a nap each day, which is a huge improvement. “He is so proud of himself and so are we…but the very best part is that our son is so much happier and content during the day now that he is getting the sleep he needs at night.” When toddler sleep struggles fly out the window, happier toddlers seem to replace grumpy ones!
Say hello to easy bedtimes and goodbye to toddler sleep struggles
Another one of my clients, Alicia, reached out because her 2.5 year old wasn’t going to sleep on her own. Alicia would often spend hours laying on the floor in an attempt to keep her daughter in bed and asleep. Keeping a toddler in their own bed until they go to sleep is often a struggle for parents, so it’s always addressed in a toddler sleep plan. “After only SIX days our little girl was going to sleep in her bed on her own with the door closed and sleeping through the night!” Alicia and her husband were thrilled to no longer be held hostage by their toddler at bedtime.
No more midnight snacks
Hydee’s 2 year old “Never slept longer than 3 hours at a time. At his midnight wakings he demanded a peanut butter sandwich and would eat the entire thing!” A healthy two year old doesn’t actually need to eat a sandwich in the middle of the night, so we needed to make sure he was eating enough before bedtime, and also had to teach her son to fall asleep on his own. Once she began using the sleep plan, Hydee reported “Within the first 3 nights of working with Brittney, my husband and I were no longer making midnight sandwiches and he was sleeping 10 hour stretches!” You can imagine how thrilled they were that the toddler sleep struggles in their house were solved quickly!
The benefit of routine in negating toddler sleep struggles
Despite the fact that toddlers love to push boundaries, they are creatures of habit and they love to know what’s coming next. Getting a reliable routine in place can help to diminish the toddler sleep struggle because they love predictability. Establishing a bedtime routine not only provides the sleep cues they need to calm down, but it also gives them a comforting sense of knowing what to expect as bedtime approaches.
Amber, mom of a 2.5 year old says “It’s nice to have a routine. My son even told me the other night that he wanted to go to bed.” An effective bedtime routine is kept fairly short, includes an enjoyable activity for your child, such as a story or a song, and is the same every day.
Sleep skills for the win
I love working with families that are experiencing any variety of toddler sleep struggles. The troubles can feel so huge with toddlers because they have so much energy and emerging personality. But there is hope! Taking the time to teach a toddler how to sleep on their own, stay in their own bed, and stay out of yours can make all the difference for the entire family. It is worth the effort to get some help in navigating toddler sleep struggles, and I love seeing the success stories of well-rested toddlers unfold.