When parents welcome a new baby into the world, they usually understand that they can expect a few months of disrupted sleep. But what happens when your child is 12 months… 18 months… or ever 2 years of age (or older!) and STILL not sleeping through the night?
Learn More about How to Solve Your Toddler’s Sleep Problems
In almost all cases, a toddler who is not sleeping through the night (or who insists on sleeping in the parents’ bed) is simply reliant on what I call a “sleep crutch.” For example, if your toddler wakes up in the middle of the night and refuses to go back to sleep unless you let him crawl into bed with you, then you and your bed are your toddler’s “sleep crutches.”
The reason your toddler won’t go to sleep unless he gets into your bed is simply because he’s never been required to do so. Let’s face it: When it’s the middle of the night and all you want is to go back to sleep, it’s hard to muster up the energy for a showdown with a stubborn toddler! And so most parents take the “easy way out” and let their toddler come into bed with them.
So the first thing you’ll need to do is decide on a gently way to eliminate the “sleep crutch” from your child’s sleep strategy. If your child is used to sleeping in your bed, you could start by moving your child’s crib into your room and letting them sleep in the same room as you, but in their own crib. Every night, move the crib a little further from your bed, and eventually move the crib into the child’s room.
Within about a week, you should be able to get your toddler out of your bed, out of your room, and sleeping through the night!