What Kind of Sleep Schedule Should a Toddler Have?
New parents are often anxious and skeptical about their parenting skills. It is not easy to deal with often changing schedules and habits of kids. One such example is the sleeping habits of children. Every child is different and so are their sleeping patterns. If you take your child for an evening stroll, chances are that he/she may get tired and sleep immediately after returning home. On the other hand, some kids are energetic and active even till 10 or 11 PM with no signs of sleep. While you may still be sleepy and drowsy early in the morning, your child may be wide awake at 6 AM.
Most people believe that putting a newborn to sleep is challenging but it can be equally difficult with a preschooler. Their sleeping schedules can leave parents exhausted and sleep-deprived. Also, when toddlers don’t get sufficient sleep, it can affect their mood, behavior, eating habits, and ability to focus during the day.
Establishing Good Sleep Habits
Children between the ages of 3 to 5 need a minimum of 11 to 13 hours of sleep for proper rest and development. Children also nap during the daytime for an hour or two. However, this may continue only until the age of 5.
Every child is different and it’s ok if they take a nap or refuse to take a nap. The only essential is that they must get 11 to 13 hours of sleep a day. A typical preschooler will take at least one nap during the day time. Naps are not essential if your child is not feeling tired or cranky.
Getting to Bed
The child needs to have a bedtime routine which can make them understand that it is their time to sleep. Experts recommend that you must have a fixed routine for your kids before bedtimes such as giving them a warm bath and bedtime story. When you follow this routine every day, their minds will follow the classical conditioning. They would begin to understand that it is time for sleep after taking bath and listening to the story. Gradually, they will follow the routine and will not try to escape sleeping.
Early Bed Time
There can be various sleeping problems experienced by the parents of preschoolers. Sometimes, when a child is overly cranky or refuses to sleep, it can be a sign that they are overtired. This can be avoided by setting an early bedtime for kids. When children get tired, they get cranky and it increases sleep problems. Some parents believe that tiring them will help them put to sleep but this can worsen the problem. You need to have control over their bedtime. Even if the child is unable to sleep you need to ask them to lie on the bed quietly.
It is also recommended that after a certain age, the kids should be made to sleep independently as it can become difficult for them later on to sleep without their parents. You can begin this by making them sleep in a separate bed in your room itself. Also, the toddlers must have their bed instead of a crib as they can climb out of it and injure themselves.
It is important to make your child sleep in a quiet surrounding. The room should be dark, quiet, and have no distractions such as television. This will reduce the instances of them waking up to nightmares or feeling scared. When their mind is at peace, they can enjoy a peaceful sleep. It is normal for toddlers to wake up at night just like adults but they will sleep immediately without even remembering that they woke up.
You can also keep a nighttime kit besides your bed, which can consist of generic medicines or first aid essentials so that you can handle any emergency there and then. It is said that children who have healthy sleeping habits will have a good sleep architecture. On the other hand, children who are persistently sleep deprived will have mood swings and they will behave cranky throughout the day. Toddlers need to have enough sleep to keep them active and healthy.