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Five Sleep Solutions for Tired Toddlers

September 13th, 2017 | By: Sydney Loney
Here’s what to do if your child is lying awake at night

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Five Sleep Solutions for Tired Toddlers

Scary night noises, fear of the dark or a stressful day at preschool are all things that can keep a kid up at night. Parents often focus on sleep training babies and forget toddlers and pre-schoolers have sleep issues too, says Julie Freedman Smith, co-founder of Parenting Power in Calgary. The trick is to give kids the tools they need to sleep on their own, she says. “It’s never too late to teach kids how to sleep.” Here are five strategies to guarantee they get the shuteye they need.

Rethink your routine

Kids, like their parents, are busier than ever and this means everyone is staying up later than they probably should, says Alanna McGinn, founder of Goodnight Sleep Site in Burlington, Ont. Inconsistent bedtimes and lack of routine lead to over-tired, over-stimulated little people who have trouble falling—and staying—asleep. “How you manage bedtime plays a big role in how the night is going to go,” McGinn says.

Sometimes starting kids on the path to sweet dreams begins with an explanation of how important sleep is. McGinn uses animals. She’ll ask kids to guess how long a tiger sleeps (16 hours) and tells them they need the same amount of sleep as a dog (around 11 hours, give or take). “I get them to think about how they feel when they’ve had a good night’s sleep,” McGinn says. “Forget sticker reward charts—the reward is healthy sleep and what it does for your body.”

Older kids will push to stay up later, but McGinn recommends keeping bedtime between 7:30 and 8:30 with a relaxing routine beforehand, which might include a warm bath, reading or colouring. “With the popularity of adult colouring books, it’s something soothing you can do together,” she says.