One of the biggest hurdles some parents face when they having toddlers is getting those kids to sleep at night, or getting them to take a nap in the afternoon. Because children under the age of four are still growing at a rapid pace, they need to have more sleep than adults and teenagers. Though you will fight battles over food and behavior, nothing can try a parent’s patience more than a child that will not go to bed at night, and that continually gets up for what seems to be no reason. Toddler sleeping problems often start long before they are walking and talking.
If you always rocked your baby to sleep, you have sweet memories of them falling asleep in your arms. However, for some kids, this means toddler sleeping problems. If babies do not learn to put themselves to sleep when they are young, they are not going to know how to do it when they get older. You can not continue to rock them to sleep when they are three, though some parents try. Work on putting your sleepy baby down when they are tired but not asleep so they learn how to put themselves to sleep. It can save a lot of trouble down the road.
Toddler sleeping problems can be because of nightmares or night terrors. They sound like the same thing but they are different. Some babies have bad dreams that wake them up, and they find it hard to go back to sleep because they are scared. These are nightmares. Talk with your pediatrician if your toddler is having nightmares night after night. Night terrors, on the other hand, are dreams that children do not remember. They may be crying and seem to be awake, but they are not. If they are screaming, go sit with them but do not wake them up. They will go back to sleep and won’t remember any of it the next day.
Some toddlers who have always been good sleepers can suddenly develop toddler sleeping problems and you may not know why. They go from not being afraid of the dark to be terrified of it. This may not be something that you see coming. If they do not want to go to bed, or get up time and time again, ask them if something is bothering them. It could be that they have a scary shadow in their room, or that they need more light to sleep comfortably. It is not always easy to pinpoint what is scaring them, but with a little work you can figure it out.
If you have a child with extreme toddler sleeping problems, and you can not find a reason why they are having problems, it may be worth it to talk to the pediatrician about what is going on. Without enough sleep toddlers are cranky and they are not getting the sleep they need to grow and process what they are learning each day. It is not good for their health. Some assume babies will sleep when they need to, which is mostly true, but toddlers are surprisingly good at missing sleep when they are determined not to go to bed. There could be a health issue of which you are not aware.