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Naomi de la Torre is freelance writer and stay-at-home-mom with two delightful boys, ages three and six. An enjoyable and soothing bedtime routine might include a warm bath, followed by picking out pajamas, a couple of bedtime stories, a song, a drink of water, mommy snuggles, a soothing backrub and lights out. While it may seem obvious that a calm environment is necessary at bedtime, sometimes in the chaos of trying to put multiple children to bed, a sleep friendly environment can get lost in the shuffle.
Take care that the room where your child sleeps is quiet and dark, but not so dark that your child is frightened.
It is common in our society to expect very young children to sleep through the night on their own. Dinner, bath, stories, then kissing and tucking in all the stuffed animals who share the toddler's bed, then prayers or blessings, then lights out while you sing to your little one, is common and effective. Toddlers who are showing oppositional behavior may resist moving along with the bedtime routine. Your goal is to ensure that discomfort doesn't exacerbate the normal cycles of slight waking into real waking.
There are 10 common sleep habits that toddlers can develop; habits that are not so ideal for healthy sleep. A reasonable wake up time for a child is anywhere from 5:30-7am, but some children are up before that time wide awake or their wake up time is too early for mommy and daddy. Solution: Earlier bedtime to help make up that sleep deficit and make it easier to nap, get the child outdoors in the morning for fresh air and exercise, very soothing routine before naptime, and leave the child for 60 minutes to give them the opportunity to fall asleep without stimulation. Many children have difficultly falling asleep on their own if they have been used to being rocked to sleep, or if they have been falling asleep next to their parents. Waking during the night is normal, but it becomes a problem when the child cannot return to sleep unassisted. Solution: Make sure the child has lovey or comfort item like a teddy bear to help them feel protected. Solution: For children who are still in a crib, turn the crib around so that the higher side of the crib is facing out (if possible).
Children may experience nightmares or night terrors, which may appear similar but are actually quite different. Solution: If it is a nightmare, reassure your child that the dream was not real and help them understand reality vs. Solution: If your child snores or mouth breaths ensure you talk to your pediatrician about it and have them check out their tonsils and adenoids.
Jenn Kelner is a Family Sleep Institute Certified Child Sleep Consultant and owner of BabyZzz. This entry was posted in Sleep Tips and tagged break bad toddler sleep habits, help toddler sleep, Sleep tips, toddlers. However, a few months ago, my husband and I decided to take a trip to Europe for nine days. One evening, after a record 90-minute back-rubbing session, my husband and I decided we needed to get back on the sleep-training wagon. When your child inevitably gets out of bed, calmly walk her back to her own bed, Waldburger says. Without talking, continue walking her back each subsequent time she gets out of bed, Waldburger says. It may take a little while that first night, but after she’s gone to sleep, pat yourself on the back.
You can train your child to not ask you to meet its needs but you can’t train a child to stop having needs. As a parent of triplets, it is very hard to go through sleep training as they all share the same room.
Sometimes, when you are deep in the throes of parenting a 2-year-old, you can wonder: Dear Lord, will this ever end? There are some sleep issues that need to be addressed now so that they might not get worse down the line.
Solution: "Start an earlier bedtime to help make up that sleep deficit and make it easier to nap," says Kelner. If your children are anything like mine, adequate sleep is essential to keeping them well-rested and happy. Central sleep apnea in children happens because the area of the brain that controls the breathing process doesn’t work properly, so breathing stops or doesn’t continue at a proper rate. If you suspect your child has sleep apnea, take them to see the doctor for a proper diagnoses. Lack of sleep can also contribute to serious medical problems such as stunting a child’s growth. Because enlarged tonsils is usually a main cause of sleep apnea in children, one of the common treatments is a surgery that removes the adenoids and tonsils. For cases where surgery is not recommended or doesn’t take care of the problem, positive airway pressure therapy (PAP) can work. Getting your toddler to sleep through the night can sometimes feel like a three-ring circus.

William Sears, Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California School of Medicine, father of eight children and the author of over 30 books on childcare, wrote, "Sleep is not a state you can force a child into; it must overtake the child. For at least an hour before bedtime, make sure that your children engage in quiet, calming activities so they can wind down. A good way to let your little one feel in control of his nighttime environment is to let him choose a small night light for his bedroom. If dad comes home during the bedtime routine, make sure he reads a quiet story with the kids, rather than tossing them in the air as a welcome.
Most toddlers do better with an early bedtime (around 7pm), because it seems to fit their biological rhythm. Warm milk, a piece of toast with peanut butter (not hydrogenated oil, though), something calming and predictable, not too interesting, and without sugar, usually works best. It’s counterintuitive, but the earlier a child goes to bed, the later they will sleep.
If a child is not used to falling asleep by themselves, it is very difficult to suddenly start doing so. Ensure that before the timer goes off you anticipate what that child may ask for — so get them a drink, take them to the bathroom, and give the child lots of hugs. Older children may be repeatedly getting out of their beds, which is tiresome to the parents. Nightmares are frightening dreams, whereas night terrors occur when the child is between sleep stages and is almost trapped between being awake and being asleep. This can be an indication that the child has enlarged adenoids or tonsils, which can result in sleep apnea. She helps tired families with infants, babies and toddlers become well rested families through customized sleep solutions and support. For my husband and me, the first six months after our son was born were especially grueling. Over time, this overtiredness has a cumulative effect, which may cause the child to refuse to nap altogether. We know to be aware that heavy snoring or fatigue after a full night’s sleep could be sleep apnea in an adult. Sleep apnea can interfere with sleep quality and can cause several other serious problems as well. Obstructive sleep apnea in children is one of the more common types, and it is caused by an obstruction in the child’s airway, such as enlarged adenoids or tonsils.
This type of sleep apnea usually has a neurological cause is far less common than obstructive sleep apnea. This is usually seen in very young infants where the part of the brain that controls breathing is not fully developed. Sleep apnea can lead to an increased production of urine, which in turn can cause bed wetting.
Because growth hormones are generated during the night, sleep apnea can disrupt it, and a child may stop growing and developing properly. It starts with an evaluation by your pediatrician or a pediatric sleep specialist if you suspect that your child may have sleep apnea. Although younger children do not have to be overweight in order to experience apnea, being overweight may be one of the causes. Because surgery is serious and comes with risks and possible complications, you should discuss the pros and cons with your doctor. A PAP machine, like those used by adults, utilizes a Darth Vader-like mask that forces a person to keep breathing during the night. It’s better to be safe than sorry and get your child evaluated if you suspect a sleep disorder. But with these soothing sleepy time solutions, you can put your nighttime battles to bed for good. Create a consistent bedtime routine that your toddler can count on every night and do your very best not to deviate. If your toddler senses that he can change the routine by being silly, having tantrums or sneaking out of bed, all your efforts are wasted.
Doing puzzles or playing board games, reading stories, singing quiet songs or snuggling with mom or dad in a rocking chair are all good options. If your children have consistent difficulty falling asleep on their own, consider parenting them to sleep. It may take some time to develop that habit, but your busy toddler can learn to put himself to sleep, and to stay asleep, eventually. When they stay up later, their adrenalin kicks in, and they actually have a harder time falling asleep.
If they can eat it at a snack table in their room while you read a bedtime story, before brushing teeth, you can move efficiently through the bedtime routine. If the child needs mom and dad close by to fall asleep, gradually remove yourself from the child’s room as they fall asleep.
If the child is still requesting extra attention, implement some sleep rules with consequences, or simply ignore their requests.

The child may appear awake because they are screaming or thrashing around, but they are actually asleep and will not be aware of your presence. When a child has sleep apnea, this effort to breathe interrupts their consolidated sleep at night. Then we sleep trained him, and just like that, everyone in the house was getting glorious, fundamental rest. Especially when they’re out of cribs and have the vocabulary to protest the bedtime rules? Hannah Chow is a pediatrician at Loyola University Health System who is an expert on kids and sleep.
Because of this, you should be aware of your child’s sleep habits, and if you notice anything going on, check with your doctor. Most cases of central sleep apnea happen in premature infants because the respiratory center of the brain has not developed fully yet. Older children can feel embarrassed and alarmed by bed wetting, not to mention the annoyance of changing bedding and clothing in the night. Children who don’t get enough sleep can be moody and cranky, their performance in school can decrease, and their lack of energy can cause them to be less active. Studies are also showing that lack of proper sleep at night can be a contributing factor in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), otherwise known as ADD. After that, they can recommend a treatment that is based on the type of apnea, the underlying causes, and the age of the child. In simple cases, surgery takes care of the sleep apnea in between 70 to 90 percent of the cases. These machines only work, of course, if the person commits to using it properly and on a regular basis.
Both you and your child will be able to sleep better once you know what is going on and seek a treatment. By making the routine a special and enjoyable time, your toddler might even look forward to it, rather than trying to undermine your nightly efforts. This can mean anything from lying down with them for a certain time period each night to allowing them to co-sleep with you until they feel comfortable sleeping in their own room.
If we can get out of the tub now and brush your teeth, we'll have time for an extra story before lights out at 7:30!" That way, you're on his side, and he doesn't need to rebel against you. Dim lights in the hour before bedtime, as well as slow, calm routines, help kids' bodies know that it's time to sleep. Remove all reinforcement (negative or positive) when the child wakes as this is an incentive for the child to wake up fully and call for the parents. Once the episode is over, they will often go right back to sleep and have no memory of the event. If the child is having night terror, do not interfere as this may prolong the episode but rather sit back and watch and make sure they are safe. For the next two-and-a-half years, our son slept through the night despite colds, teething, daylight saving time adjustments and—impressively—two moves to different states within a year. He was waking up in the thick of night needing someone to stay near his bed, rubbing his back until he finally fell asleep. Both parents need to agree on the strategy in order to avoid second-guessing and confusion in the middle of carrying it out.
It's that blessed time of day when your toddler is suddenly quiet and you can peek in, see her angelic sleeping face, and know you have the strength to do it all over again. Sleep apnea in children is very similar to the adult condition, but it has different causes, symptoms, and treatments. If your child snores, you may want to speak to your health care provider, because this is the most common sign of apnea. The decreased activity along with lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain and eventual obesity. Room-darkening shades are invaluable, especially in the summer months when your toddler will be going to sleep while it's still light out.
Other symptoms include poor sleep and restlessness during sleep, difficulty breathing while sleeping, night sweats, and behavior problems during the day as a result of poor sleep at night.
This needs to be done consistently and without any interaction (positive or negative) so that the child is not getting any reinforcement for getting out of bed. Night terrors often occur because of a change in routine or overtiredness, so ensure the child has a consistent routine and put them to bed a little earlier. Rest assured that night terrors are worse for the parents watching than for the child experiencing the event.

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