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Survive or Prevent Preschooler or Toddler Sleep Problems: 15 Expert Moms Give Their Best Sleep Advice

Survive Or Prevent Preschooler Or Toddler Sleep Problems:  15 Expert Moms Give Their Best Sleep Advice

If you’re going through preschooler or toddler sleep problems you may be feeling like a:


Mombie:

an exhausted mom who feeds off coffee, wine and leftover chicken nuggets (probably from the floor).


But don’t despair… that this phase will end, even though it feels like it will last for the next million years.

Take the advice of 15 expert moms on the best toddler sleep advice.  So now, you can either prevent toddler sleep problems from happening or stop them in their tracks.  From co-sleeping to CIO, moms always have the best ideas.

Toddler Sleep Advice #1: A Mothership Down

Love You Forever is the War and Peace of Toddler Books
Liz is the hysterical momma behind the award-winning blog, A Mothership Down.  She contributes regularly to The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, and BLUNTmoms sharing her personal experiences.

Liz’s Advice

I have some favorite toddler bedtime stories to recommend! In no particular order: Are You My Mother?, Love You Forever (especially if you want to trigger a minor existential crisis for yourself), The Going to Bed Book, any of the Little Blue Truck series, and of course the perennial favorite, Goodnight Moon. My toddler loves all of these and makes regular bedtime requests for them.

I’ll read him three books if they’re on the shorter side, and two if he requests Love You Forever, which is the War and Peace of toddler books.  Check out my other bedtime book favorites found here.

Toddler Sleep Advice #2: The Early Years

Rules and Boundaries Help Children Free Secure 
Sharyn Timerman is a child behavior specialist and a member of the Canadian Association of Early Childhood Educators providing parenting support & guidance.

Sharyn’s Advice

Know what it is you are ready to do. Before you can “sell” sleep to your children, you need to feel confident yourself. Arm yourself with all the necessary information and be sure the plan is something you can stick to. Children of all ages need to know that you the parent know what you are doing. Rules and boundaries help children to feel secure and cared for. Mean what you say and follow through!

Toddler Sleep Advice #3: Life Unplanned Blog

I’ve Tried Everything Under The Sun
Life Unplanned is a place where women can share thoughts, ideas, lifestyle tips, and inspiration. It was created with the intention of providing a safe, kind, honest community for moms where they can obtain and share information about their hobbies, families, health, and frugal living.

Darci’s Advice

My best advice is to allow them to cry… a bit. I check in 5, 10, and 15 minute intervals. After a couple of nights of doing these checks and allowing a bit of independence, your child will get the hang of sleeping on her own. I’ve found that my kids, once they get the hang of it, wake up happier and are in a better mood for the rest of the day. I’ve tried everything under the sun to get my kids to sleep, but the having a good sleep plan is by far the most effective!

Toddler Sleep Advice #4:  Sleep Baby Love

Include Your Child in the Plan – But you gotta be Ready! 
Susie is the creator of the blog you are reading (high five for reading it). She’s a mom and certified sleep consultant whose girls made her learn how to tackle sleep challenges head on.  She now shares her knowledge to help other exhausted parents see the light at the end of the tunnel. Oh, and she’s probably in PJs right now.

Susie’s Advice

Don’t start anything until you’re ready and have a solid plan in place. Think about these questions:  What happens when your child wants to read 6 books? What happens when your child yells for 20 more hugs? What happens when your child gets out of his bed? Does your child really understand what will happen at night and will they trust that you will follow through with what you say? So many parents start something but once the going gets tough they stop since they haven’t considered all the scenarios and they just go back to the path of least resistance.

The great news is that things can change!   Now that your child is older, you can incorporate them into the process setting a plan and better yet, you can be consistent so they know what to expect. Also, know that you don’t have to go it alone…

Toddler Sleep Advice #4: Authentic Parenting

Connection Leads to Cooperation
Anna Seewald is the founder of Authentic Parenting®. She is a speaker, author and a parent educator, hosting a popular Podcast on iTunes called Authentic Moments. She is a mom to a vibrant 8 year old who doesn’t approve of her fashion choices. Today she is helping parents around the world to transform their relationships, build deep emotional connections by making sense of their past experiences, heal from trauma and find happiness.

Anna’s Advice

Remember, children do not resist sleep but rather the separation from their parents.
Connection is one of our basic human needs. Humans are hard wired for connection. Understanding and honoring that in our children is important. It is only natural for young children to want to be close to their parents, especially at night. Night time is a long stretch of separation time. I recommend spending quality time with your children during the day and meeting the need for connection. It could be hard in today’s parenting. Many parents work and many children go to daycare or preschool. Creating and maintaing a consistent bedtime routine is essential. But it is equally important creating connection rituals. You don’t have to feel guilty for working or being away from your kids. What matters is to fill their emotional bank with daily deposits-quality time that builds connection. These are activities, things that you do that are unique to your family. Children who feel connected behave better. Connection leads to cooperation.

 

Toddler Sleep Advice #5: Sarah Feezor Real Estate

Talk about what to expect…in advance
Sarah’s passion is working with clients in transition; whether that’s due to expanding your family, newly engaged, or new to Chicago.

Sarah’s Advice

I’ve found that talking about bedtime rules earlier in the day with my 4yo is helpful. If he is introduced to what is expected he responds better because it’s not a surprise. He currently shares a room with his 6yo sister, and he’s the “talker” while she falls right to sleep. So, we have conversations about it being ok to “talk in your head”, but to let your sister sleep. Most nights go well, but certainly not all 🙂

Toddler Sleep Advice #6: Hulafrog North Shore

The Exception Becomes The Rule
Kim runs Hula Frog North Shore, a place the go-to site for in-the-know parents

Kim’s Advice

The exception becomes the rule, so we try to keep that in mind if we are offering something to our kids at bedtime because we know that it will be requested (or demanded) again and again.  So we try to look at our long-term bedtime goals vs. just getting them to fall asleep that one night.  Although, it does seem that for the most part that they are all phases, it’s just a matter of how long the phase goes on.

Toddler Sleep Advice #7: Chicago Dance Therapy

Be Consistent
Erica is the owner of Chicago Dance Therapy, offering dance/movement therapy to transcend verbal communication and connects the person’s mind, body, and soul.

Erica’s Advice

My best advice is to be consistent. Whatever your decision, whether it’s CIO, co sleeping or everything in between, being consistent and following a routine will create a stable environment for your child.

Toddler Sleep Advice #8: Fluency Therapy

Pee Before You Sleep
Stephanie provides speech, language, and stuttering therapy to children and adults on Chicago’s north shore (Glencoe, IL).

Stephanie’s Advice

A preschool child may be waking up early because of an urge to use the bathroom. Someone suggested to walk my child to the bathroom before I went to bed (no talking, just put her on the potty) so her bladder would be empty, and thus reduce early wake-ups.

Toddler Sleep Advice #9: Swift Child Care

Chill Two Hours Before Bedtime
Joanna Varda has worked extensively with families and teachers to develop healthy daily routines that makes sense for children and their families. As a mother of four children and the Executive Director and co-owner of SCC Early Childhood Centers, (Skokie, IL) Joanna has experience developing sleep approaches for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school-age children.

Joanna’s Advice

As a mother of four, and an early childhood director who works with infants through school-age children, I can attest to the need to have consistent nap times and bedtimes/routines, in addition to minimizing the stimuli in the environment around the child for at least two hours before bedtime. Too often, as busy parents and professionals, it’s easy to park a child in front of the television or hand them an electronic device to keep them quiet, while we go about multitasking all day and all night. This leads to children who have an impaired ability to self regulate, self soothe, and a general inability to quiet their mind… All of these capacities are required in order for a child to wind down and fall asleep deeply enough to get that restorative sleep.

Additionally, parents often think that the more they wear their child out, the better they will sleep. In fact, this method most often backfires. Toddler and preschool children still need to nap during the daytime, and recognizing and responding quickly to your child’s sleep signals ensures you do not miss that narrow window of opportunity to put them down for a nap. Children who do not nap well during the daytime often have difficulty going to sleep and staying asleep at night. Keep in mind, including naps, toddlers still require 11 to 14 hours of sleep per day and preschoolers still require 10 to 13 hours of sleep. Creating and sticking to a consistent sleep routine, as well as limiting stimuli in the child’s environment will have deep and lasting effects on the quality and quantity of sleep they obtain. Remember: a well rested child equals a happier child, and a happier child equals a happier family!  

Toddler Sleep Advice #10: Blissfully Raising Kids

Give it a little bit..
Emily is a wife, mother and a full time pediatric occupational therapist. She is also attempting to write a blog on the side to offer support, advice and to have a community filled with others in the same stages of life.

Emily’s Advice

Wait 10 mins! It’s hard at first but a lot of times they will put themselves back to sleep without fussing

Toddler Sleep Advice #11: Premium Care Pediatrics

WIRED = TIRED 
Sapna has been practicing pediatrics for almost 20 years. She is passionate about caring for children and partnering with their families to keep them safe and healthy.

Sapna’s Advice

A couple of tips to make sure your child is getting enough sleep: In contrast to the tired, groggy adult, children who are overtired may actually act very awake and alert…even wired. Wired = Tired in my book. So if your kiddo seems to be ramping up at bedtime instead of winding down, this may be a sign that your bedtime routine needs to start earlier. I have been known to have my toddler in bed at 5:30 especially if they missed a nap that day.

If early waking is a the problem at your house then use a digital timer and lamp to make a cheap and easy “ok to wake clock“. Start by having it turn on at the time your child is waking and then move it later by 2-3 minutes every 2-3 days until you get to the time you want your child to get out of bed. Must have a consistent routine.

Toddler Sleep Advice #12: Tickled Pink Company

You Have Permission to Night Wean
Amber is a brand therapist, copywriter, junkie of all things heart-fuelled, rocker of adversity and a single mama of one.

Amber’s Advice

“If you’re still a nursing mama, consider this your permission to night wean. It wasn’t until someone gave me this EXACT advice, that I finally decided they were right. Your toddler DOES NOT need to eat at night anymore. I remember thinking I was a ‘bad mom’ for not saying yes every time he wanted to nurse. It wasn’t until I began night weaning that I realized that was not only the best thing for him, but it was also the best thing for me. We co-sleep and nurse to this day (he’s 4.5 now) and the process was a slow and gradual one. We began at 18 months and it took about a year because of illness and travel, but just a month shy of 2.5, he was officially sleeping through the night. Honestly, I never thought he would sleep as well as he does now, but I’m so thankful for taking an intuitive approach to night weaning, breaking each feed individually until there were none left.”

Toddler Sleep Advice #13: Peytons Momma

Just Roll With It 
Shanna  blogs at peytonsmomma.com about family/lifestyle/elementary age children topics. She likes to share tips and tricks she has discovered help make her life run smoother.

Shanna’s Advice

Just roll with it. Each child is different and there’s no right way to get a child to sleep. For us giving my daughter a warm bath with lavender and then slathering lavender lotion on her seemed to help calm her down. Then I made sure she LOVED her bed. She had Sofia the First coming out her ears! And a night light. I also made a playlist of instrumental lullabies and played them on repeat all. night. long. This seemed to help a ton. And when she did wake up I would just let her snuggle with me. I learned to pick my battles. And if at the end of the day the worse thing was my toddler coming in my bed for half the night then so be it. Everyone needs sleep and this worked for us.

 

Toddler Sleep Advice #1: Carrie Rubin Health Coach

Educate on the Hows and Whys of Sleep  

Carrie is a Holistic Health Coach who helps busy moms build healthier, happier families!

Carrie’s Advice

Be sure to create a consistent routine, so your child knows what’s expected of them at bedtime. Educate them on the hows and whys of healthy sleep habits, and let them know your expectations of them as it relates to sleepI’ve found that this piece is the key to compliance as it relates to a lot of behavior issues with toddlers (I also see this a lot with picky eaters!). Also, another little tip for those who have early wakers, get the Ok To Wake! Alarm clock – it lights up when it’s ok for them to come out of their room. This helped us get a few extra minutes of sleep when my daughter was waking up before we were ready for her

Susie Parker

Susie Parker is founder of Sleep Baby Love and a Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant through the Family Sleep Institute. When Susie's not ridding the world of sleepless families, she loves spending time with her two girls that have given her a ton of real world sleep experience head on.

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