As your toddler starts becoming more and more independent and doing so many things for himself, it's tempting to think of him as "beyond babyhood." But keep in mind that he still has many of the same needs he had as a baby. He still needs a lot of attention, a lot of cuddling and a lot of sleep. In fact, toddlers need between 12 and 14 hours of sleep in total, usually 11 to 12 hours at night and another 1 to 3 hours during the day.
Toddler Sleep Problems
While most toddlers have learned to sleep through the night, changes and stressful events such as switching from the crib to bed at too early an age, a trip or illness may cause temporary setbacks.
To ensure your toddler gets the rest and sleep he needs, follow these sleepy-time tips:
- Set a regular sleep schedule for napping and sleeping (avoid naptime in the late afternoon)
- Establish a 20- to 45-minute nighttime routine to help him wind down and relax
- Provide a soothing surrounding that is dark, cool and quiet
- Your child should be drowsy but awake when going to bed
- Save his favorite nighttime activity for last
Create a Nighttime Routine
A before-bed routine will help your toddler become sleepy and signal that it’s time to relax and prepare for sleep. Make sure that you stay consistent and follow the same pattern every evening. Your child will feel more relaxed if he knows what is coming next. Also, make sure his bedtime routine is always heading in the same direction — bed.