If you are like most toddler parents, you may have trouble getting a toddler to sleep. The toddler years are usually when children decide to give up napping, leaving them tired and cranky. During this time it is more important than ever that they sleep through the night. Babies older than 18 months require approximately 13-15 hours of sleep per night. This is a time of great change in your child’s world, so sleep is very important.
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Common Toddler Sleep Issues
There are many common toddler sleep issues that can affect your child’s nighttime sleep habits. One of the more common issues is when they get awakened by an infant sibling in the same room. If at all possible, children should be kept in separate rooms until they both can sleep through the night uninterrupted. If this isn’t possible, the infant needs to be removed from the room to be fed and the toddler put back to bed. If he claims he is hungry as well, give him some water, as toddlers don’t need to be fed in the middle of the night.
Another problem is when a toddler is temporarily allowed to sleep with his parents while he is sick and he refuses to go back to his own bed. Although it takes perseverance on the parent’s part, a toddler can be trained to return to his bed. Parents may have to work at getting the toddler to sleep in his own bed, but it is the best situation for everyone involved.
Another cause of a toddler waking up at night is if he is reliant on a sleeping aid that gets lost during the night. Although pacifier use to fall asleep at night won’t delay speech development it can cause a problem when the toddler wakes up in the middle of the night and can’t find it. It is better to not let your child develop this type of attachment to a pacifier. If he does, parents need to take it away as soon as possible. Children that rely on sleeping aids to sleep don’t develop the ability to go to sleep independently.
Toddler Sleep Disorders
Although many sleep disturbances among toddlers are simple training problems, there are cases of toddler sleep disorders that are physiologically based. Although these problems do exist, they are not common. About 10 percent or fewer of toddlers have true sleep disorders. If you suspect that your toddler may fall in that 10 percent, be sure to have him checked out by a sleep specialist. One of the more common disorders is sleep apnea. If your child stops breathing while sleeping, snores or breathes through his mouth, he needs to be evaluated for sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening problem. Other disorders include sleepwalking, night terrors and nighttime urination after successful toilet training.
Although there are many factors that can affect your toddler’s sleep habits, most can be successfully solved. Seeking the help of a baby sleep specialist is a great way to develop a plan necessary for getting a toddler to sleep through the night.