Sleeping Methods for Toddlers

By Michelle Blessing
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Toddlers can present a variety of sleep challenges for their parents. From not sleeping in their own bed to not sleeping through the night, toddlers can benefit from different sleeping methods to help them sleep soundly. There are several things you can do to assist your toddler in getting a good night's sleep.

Cosleeping

One option parents have for toddlers to sleep is to utilize cosleeping. Cosleeping, or bed sharing, is one way to help your toddler feel secure when he sleeps, according to AskDrSears.com. Many parents utilize a family bed for their children, or at least allow their children to sleep in the same room as them, either on a cot or the floor. Cosleeping with a toddler can be a bit more tricky than with an infant, as you will need to make more space and still take the necessary safety precautions so the child won't fall out of bed and hurt himself. Do this by placing your child in the middle of the bed or using safety rails.

Routines and Rituals

Having a set routine is important for toddlers, who thrive on consistency and may not respond well to change. Set up a simple bedtime routine to help your toddler wind down for the night and understand that it's time for sleep, according to the Toddler Bedtime Tips website. Start with a warm bath to help relax your toddler, then allow her some quiet play time in her pajamas. Designate a specific time for your toddler to be in her room, then read a book and tuck her in for the night. Play some white noise or quiet music and use a night light to help her feel more secure.

Gradual Withdrawal or the No-Cry Method

Start this method with using an established bedtime routine, then put your toddler in his bed, Toddler Bedtime Tips suggests. You can either lay with your toddler for a few minutes or you can sit next to his bed. Stay the first night until your toddler is asleep and then leave the room. Go in and comfort your toddler if he wakes until he goes back to sleep or return him to his room if he gets out of bed. Stay until your toddler is almost asleep the next night and gradually decrease the amount of time you spend with your toddler before he goes to sleep. This method might take longer than some other ways, but can makes parents feel more comfortable that their toddler is developing healthy sleep associations.

Cry It Out Method

Place your child in her room and put a safety gate up so she can't get out of her room. Follow the normal bedtime routine and be sure her room is safe and free of anything that could harm her. Place locks on the windows and pad any sharp edges of the furniture. Place your toddler in her bed, tell her good night and leave the room. Your toddler might protest but you need to allow her to make the connection that it's time for sleep and she will need to comfort herself, Toddler Bedtime Tips states. You can check on her and return her to bed after several minutes, but don't stay in the room with her. She should be sleeping through the night after several days.

About the Author

Michelle Blessing has experience in child development, parenting, social relationships and mental health, enhanced by her work as a clinical therapist and parent educator. Blessing's work has appeared in various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and is pursuing her master's degree in psychology with a specialization in applied behavior analysis.