We were all warned that; when you have a baby be prepared for sleepless nights.
The issue is, we weren’t prepared for years of this sleep deprivation.
So, what techniques do work? The question that we really want answered is “how to put a toddler to sleep fast?” I’ve scoured the web for the top tips and used them with my own daughter to test them out to report back to you. Take a look below along with my personal ratings, out of 5, try them all out and see which one works best for your little monster treasure.
- Use visual routine – Especially with toddlers
Ashley Soderland of ‘Nurture and Thrive’ noted that “In a large study across several countries, researchers found that having a constant bedtime routine is directly related to better sleep: Children who had a regular bedtime routine fell asleep faster, had an earlier bedtime, had fewer night wakings and slept longer than children who did not have a regular bedtime routine.”
Introducing picture cards and making a game out of it worked a lot better than a standard routine, we added a star chart for every part of the routine and if all were ticked off she would be able to have a treat at the weekend.
- Set a wake-up time
This wasn’t just a weekday; this was for every day of the week. Setting a child’s body clock means they have a regular sleeping pattern and ensuring that they sleep for the right amount of time each night. Once in this routine they would naturally feel tired at the same time each night and wake up the same time each morning.
Me and my Wife concluded we are happy to put our daughter asleep an hour later for that extra hour in the morning at a weekend
- Limit screen time at least two hours before sleep
Research has shown “. . . the light from a television screen, phone, or computer can interfere with the production of melatonin.” Metaltonin is a hormone released by the pineal gland in the brain that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. When this hormone level is high, most people are sleepy and ready for bed. However, when this is disrupted, just half an hour of screen time can be enough to keep your child up for a further two hours.
- Make the bed cosy
AhaParenting website highlights that children go through the same sleep cycle as everyone else, (who knew) ‘they wake slightly then settle off into a deep sleep’ This is where the importance of making the bed as comfortable as it can be. This doesn’t just include the bedding but ensuring the atmosphere in the room is also comfortable, including the lighting and temperature. If you child kicks the covers off, ensure they are wearing pyjamas that will keep them warm with feet. Buying a white noise machine also ensures a constant noise throughout the night that settles your child.
We really noticed a difference just by changing her pillow and thickness of the of the quilt.
- Introduce a ‘Security Item’
The pragmatic parent shares many hints on their website, they highlight that adding a security item into the bedroom helps calm your child down and not only adds comfort but also security. If your child falls asleep knowing they have a soft toy or blanket that they are holding, when they wake up, they have that to reach for which will settle them down and help with the transition of shallow sleep to deep sleep.
We woke up to our daughter shouting for her scary looking green-eyed owl at 2am
There we have five of the most talked about techniques in getting your child to sleep. Let me know on our Facebook page if you have any tips yourself or if the above worked for you. If all else fails we have had some amazing feedback on our Storm Racing Car Bed, where, if I was a child, would go to bed earlier than needed!!