Everyone expects to deal with baby sleep issues. We all know that the first three months or so of your baby’s life is going to consist of you wandering around in a sleep-deprived haze, almost totally unaware of your surroundings or, in some case, even your own name. This is all normal and natural, and a big part of your rite of initiation as a parent.
For some unlucky parents, this can last much longer. It might be six months before your baby sleeps through the night. For other parents, your baby may sleep through the night right away, only to start waking every couple of hours at night by the time that he’s a toddler.
If you have a toddler that’s having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, here are a handful of things that you can do to try to help normalize your schedule:
Keep your toddler’s bedtime routine a quick one. Don’t let it become a big production. If you have to provide a bath, read a book, sing a song and do a dance every night just to get your toddler to fall asleep, you’re not doing it right. Try to keep that nighttime routine under about 15 minutes.
Watch out for daytime sleep. Monitor naps very carefully. You shouldn’t be surprised that your toddler won’t sleep through the night if he takes a six hour nap every afternoon. Even if she’s the type that sleeps very soundly at naptime, wake her up after a couple of hours.
Have a regular wake-up routine, too. Believe it or not, your wake-up routine is as important as the one that you do at nighttime. Get your toddler up at the same time each and every day. Don’t be tempted to let her sleep too much longer on the weekend – about half an hour is enough. Otherwise, you’ll create a toddler who’s constantly experiencing a sort of jet lag.