Toddler Sleep Tips

Getting your toddler to sleep through the night


Many new parents are prepared for sleepless nights with their newborn baby, what many are not prepared for is the sleepless nights to continue well into the child’s second year and beyond. The average toddler, aged one to three years, requires between twelve to fourteen hours of sleep a day. However, what toddlers actually need and what they think they need are often two very different things.

If you are like many parents out there, you are probably wondering how to get your toddler to sleep through the night. Tracey Ruiz, a sleep doula by trade, understands your struggle. “Just when I think I have seen it all - the craziest antics toddlers will use to avoid going to bed - I meet a new one who tops the list,” she says. “Their creativity and perseverance, I calmly remind parents, will be an asset to them as they get older. Sometimes with a little prodding from me, parents remember they had similar habits and see how the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” She has outlined a few of the most common “get out of sleep” tricks and how to solve them.

The "Mr. Look at me I am Naked".  Take a toddler sleeper and put it on backwards; rending them unable to unzip or unbutton their P.J.’s. Believe me toddlers are smart but I can’t even get it off; and yes, I have tried.

The "Little Miss I Need to Pee" For this one, make sure you limit liquids shortly after dinner and offer bathroom breaks often. Remember - if they ask to go potty again, moments after being tucked in for the night, they are just stalling.

 The "Mr. Lonely”. I suggest using an egg timer. This is a great way to give a few minutes of cuddle time before bed; but make sure you tell them “when it goes off mommy has to leave”.

The "Little Mr. I'm Scared there is a Monster in my Closet" Although you don't want to reinforce there are monsters; you can reassure them. Try talking to them or even showing them nothing is hiding in their closet or under their bed. I love to use monster spray (water spray bottle with a personal label) to calm their fears and make them feel more empowered and that they are safe.

"Mr. I Don't Wanna Nap". As only parents know, if they skip their nap they are more miserable then a bear woken during hibernation. It is important even if they don't nap to have quiet time; both for you and for them. By just making them rest, you may be pleasantly surprised to see them catch some zzz's. 

Children, especially toddlers, thrive on routine and creating a consistent bedtime routine can yield great success. The routine should be short, sweet and the same each night. It is of the upmost importance to make sure you put your child to bed when they are still awake. A toddler will not sleep through the night if they do not know how to soothe themselves to sleep. Everyone, adults included, have brief periods of waking during the night, a child who does not know how to fall asleep on their own requires help getting back to sleep. At night, keep their room dark, quiet and comfortable, during their daytime nap they should still be exposed to natural light. Don’t give up if your toddler doesn’t sleep through the night right away, give it time, your child will learn and you will both be thankful you stuck to the plan.


Tips For Getting Your Toddler to Sleep Through The Night

  1. Create, and stick to, a bedtime routine
  2. Limit the amount of activity leading up to bedtime
  3. Give your toddler a bath early in the evening to signify it is time to relax
  4. Put your child to bed while they are still awake, always ensure you put them to bed before they fall asleep
  5. Limit the fluids you give your child before bed
  6. Be consistent, don’t give up! Your effort will be rewarded!


For more information on sleep doulas and their services please visit

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