Toddlers can be difficult, that’s why they have their own period, known as the “terrible twos”. Although, have you wondered if it’s just a phase or if your little one maybe might not getting the proper amount of sleep for their age?
A toddler is most commonly considered to be a child 12-36 months of age (1-3 years old). This age can have many developmental milestones including, learning to walk, talk, run, and jump. Toddlers are more aware of themselves and their environment than smaller babies and generally are more active both physically and socially. Toddlers will show greater independence and at times defiance. Toddlers tend to imitate behavior of the people around them. However, don’t be discouraged. Although raising a toddler can feel overwhelming some days, a routine, especially a sleep and bedtime routine will help greatly.
Toddlers need on average between 11-14 hours of sleep daily. This can be broken down to 10-12 of nighttime sleep and 1-2 hours during the day. I personally noticed a difference on the days we diverged for our routine and skipped naptime. So...my recommendation is, don’t.
Try planning your day and activities around nap time. While there might be a day here or there where you need to skip naptime, try not to. Toddlers in general are going to test boundaries, so being firm and consistent is important.
When you notice signs of tiredness (i.e. yawning, rubbing of the eyes), settle your little one down for their nap or bedtime before grumpiness takes over. An overtired toddler can put up quite the fight. Remember it is important to not put your child down when they are not overtired or completely exhausted. So, keep an eye out for signs they might be getting tired.
When your baby becomes a toddler it can also be a good time to consider transferring to a toddler bed or I personally have loved using floor beds with my little ones. Some parents also choose at this time to begin to train their child to sleep in their own room. However, whatever you decide to do, take it one thing at a time, too much change can be overwhelming even for adults.
It is key before sleep time to keep very active play and screen time low. Also, don’t only establish a routine but work with your child’s unique aspects. Some children are night owls and others are early risers. Adjust their schedule to fit their natural rhythm.
A recommended routine could be:
- 7-8 am - wake up
- 1 or 2 pm – nap time (no more than 2 hours)
- 3 or 4 pm – wake up
- 7:30 pm – bedtime
There could also be other factors in play, such as daycare or school, but remember that 11-14 hours in a 24-hour period is what is recommended for toddlers, so adapt your routine to your lifestyle.
As with older children, toddlers will benefit from a nice massage before bed after possibly dinnertime and bath time. There is nothing better after a long day to share some quality time with your little one. My daughter loves to hear a Storybook story accompanied with a back massage. It can be hard at times to say no to a second or third story, but I try to remember to cherish these moments because I’m sure you’ve heard it before, time truly does fly. So, enjoy your little ones while they are still little, one more story really couldn’t hurt.