Struggling with getting your toddler into a good sleeping routine? Three mums share their secrets to toddler sleep routines that actually work. If you’re about ready to give up on ever getting a decent night’s sleep again, then you need to read this.
And, if you have a baby who likes to keep you up all night, then have a read of these five baby sleep routines that may save your sleep and your sanity.
Time for Bed, Sleepyhead
Is your toddler’s bedtime routine leaving you exhausted? Then you’re doing it right in my books. My kids have always been terrible sleepers and I like to assume every other mum is getting most of their 10,000 steps in at night, carrying their dead weight toddler down the hallway and back to her own bed 25 times each night.
But, apparently, it is possible to get your toddler to go to sleep, and stay asleep in her own room, for the ENTIRE night, and without the need to sleep beside her. Three mums, with children aged one and two, share their toddler sleep routines.
1. Emily, 13 months old
- Down at 7pm. Up at 6am
- Sleeping training method: Controlled crying
- Sleeping aids: Comforter
You’ve probably been told how important a decent night’s sleep is. This isn’t just true for adults. Children also greatly benefit from a good night’s sleep and no one understands this more than Kellie, mum to Emily.
Before Emily learned how to fall asleep (and stay asleep) on her own, she would wake up crying. But since Emily has learned this lifelong skill, she wakes up happy.
Emily has her daytime sleep in her bed with her comforter. She is put down in her bed awake but drifts to sleep on her own. At night Emily has a bath, bottle, teeth brush and she is placed into bed with her comforter. She puts herself to sleep and wakes around 6am.
Kellie used the controlled crying method to help Emily learn to sleep (read more about controlled crying here) and gradually got rid of the sleep aids Emily was accustomed to, including a dummy and being rocked to sleep.
“It took about a month to get this working well,” Kellie explains. But now that Emily has learned how to put herself to sleep, the entire family benefit from this new routine.
“She’s doing more things since she’s sleeping better and we as a family are much more happy and relaxed.”
2. Jennifer, 22 months old
- Down at 7pm. Up at 7am
- Sleeping training method: Cry-it-out
- Sleeping aids: Gentle music
Bec’s little girl Jennifer has been in a sound sleep routine since she was five months old. And it’s working wonders for the entire family! Bec started sleep training Jennifer at five months old using the cry it out method (read about CIO right here). Jennifer was able to teach herself to self settle in one week and now sleeps 12 hours straight every night.
Bedtime routine for Jennifer consists of dinner at 5:30pm, following by a bath at 6:30pm and a little play. She has one bottle in bed as Bec reads her a couple of books and then it’s music on (set to play for an hour) and lights out.
3. Thomas, 16 months old
- Down at 8pm. Up at 8am
- Sleeping training method: Fed to sleep
- Sleeping aids: Breast and salt lamp
Lauren’s little man, Thomas has had a very similar routine since Day One. He has always slept in his own room, in his own cot/bed and with a Himalayan salt lamp to keep him calm and comforted. He has also always been fed to sleep.
Lauren tells us that Thomas has a very strict routine during the day as well as at bedtime. At night Thomas has dinner at 6pm, followed by shower at 7pm, a play until 8pm, then he is breastfed to sleep and wakes around 8am the next morning.
Thomas’ routine took about three months to get down and it works because she provides plenty of prompts and warnings that bedtime is coming up.
“At night, I say ‘It’s time to go to sleep’.We walk to his room together as he repeats what I say. ‘Close the door’ and we close it and ‘Turn off the light’ and we turn it off.”
Although Lauren tried sleep training, it wasn’t for her and she found success simply by tracking her son’s eat and sleep times.
“We tried Save our Sleep as I was told bub should be on a specific routine. It did not work for us. It was too distressing. I believe a baby needs to be comforted and made to feel safe and that mum will come when needed,” Lauren explains.
But, Lauren puts it perfectly when it comes to toddler sleep routines: “What works for one may not work for another. If CIO or other routines haven’t worked, track your baby’s eat and sleep times. You just may find they have their own routine.”
Good luck mums! We wish you a decent night’s sleep in the not-too-distant future!