Sleeping should actually be a moment of rest, but some children see it very differently. The problem of the child or the toddler does not want to sleep occurs regularly. The causes of sleep problems are not always clear, but fortunately there are a number of methods that you can use as a parent to get your night's sleep back. Read all about the reasons why your child does not want to sleep and what you can do to tackle this.
Toddler does not want to sleep, the causes
Children around the age of 1 often suffer from separation anxiety. This means that they find it difficult to say goodbye to their parents. That is not surprising, of course, your child wants to be with you.
Other causes may occur from the age of 2 years. Your child develops quickly and more and more daily. Due to the excitement of the day, it may be possible that your child does not get well asleep and would rather discover more.
If you often give in and get your child out of bed every time, it can also become a habit that your child can get out of bed a few times before he or she goes to sleep again. It is better to avoid the latter, undoing a habit is very difficult.
Start with regularity and structure
You can not start early enough with a good structure in daily life. Children need this structure and regularity for grip and safety. Also try to keep an alternation between activities and rest during the day. An overexcited child can often sleep badly. Let the same thing happen every day of the week. So get up, eat, sleep and play at fixed times of the day.
Also ensure that your behavior is predictable and clear. Set clear boundaries and be consistent in this. Especially when it comes to sleeping. If you start to show varying behavior, for example one time getting your child out of bed and sometimes not, your toddler will continue to explore your limits because he or she does not know exactly what they are now.
Fixed sleeping ritual
In addition to regularity and daytime predictability, a fixed sleep ritual also works wonders. Do not play with him intensively the hour before your child has to go to bed, because that will ensure that your child gets more energy. So keep it quiet and prepare your child for sleeping.
A common sleep ritual is: changing diaper, pajamas, brushing teeth, bringing to bed, reading a story, putting on a night light, singing a song (optional) giving a kiss and leaving.
Read more about the 10 minute rule with babies here
Methods to let your child sleep and sleep through
There are various methods that you can use when a toddler does not want to sleep. Before you try this one thing is very important: to be consistent. Do not expect your child to sleep right after 1 time. You often spend several nights and sometimes a week or several weeks. Below 2 known methods:
Alarm clock method
You bring your child to bed after the sleep ritual and you come back to look back once in a while. This is a good method to deal with the separation anxiety. Below the steps:
- You bring your toddler to bed and tell him you will come back in 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes you are going to watch. If your child is crying, comfort you briefly without getting him or her out of bed. Do not go further into questions or stories. Keep it short and say that you will come back in 7 minutes.
- After 7 minutes you will watch again, repeat the mentioned actions and tell your child (if your child is still awake) that you will come back in 10 minutes. You repeat this until your child falls asleep.
In the evenings after you make the break between pauses a little longer. For example, you start with 5 minutes, then 10 and then 15 minutes. Make sure that you do not make more than 20 minutes the first time you stay away. Certainly not when your child is crying.
Step-by-step method when toddler does not want to sleep in their own bed
If your toddler does not want to sleep in his own bed, it is often because they find it scary. You can try to address this with the step-by-step method. It also helps with other "toddler do not want to sleep" problems.
- The first evening you sit next to the bed until your child falls asleep.
- The second evening you go a bit further away from the bed.
- And the third night you go even further from the bed.
- The fourth evening you leave the door open and you go upstairs doing some household chores. Or at least something that makes soft sound (fold up for example) so that your child can hear you and knows that you are in the neighborhood, but can fall asleep.
It is important that you do not talk to your child during all evenings. It must be quiet.