Toddler sleep advice from mums

Whether your child is scared of the dark, or never wants to go to bed, these mums share their top tips to make bedtime easier

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Dealing with toddlers who are scared of the dark

“Jessie has a real phobia of her room at night, so each evening before bed I go into her room and check there aren’t any strange shadows made by her nightlight. I check each corner of the room and remove any clothes that are hanging up on the outside of the wardrobe so she won’t be frightened by anything if she wakes in the night.”

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Katherine Wright, 41, from London, mum to Jessie, 4, and Laura, 1

“Charlie hated going to bed because he was scared, so we got a bedside lamp that he could turn on and off, which worked as he seemed to feel better about having some control. I also went into his room at night before him to make sure there were no objects, like clothes hanging up, that could cause any creepy shadows.”

Mary Hastings, 35, from Scotland, mum to Charlie, 4, and Beth, 3 months

Helping your child get to sleep

“I sprayed Maclaren Beginning lavender room mist in my daughter’s room to help her sleep. I also asked the staff at her nursery if they could spray it when she got upset, as it’s familiar to her, and that’s helped her in less calm moments.”

Leanne McLoughlin, 27, from Liverpool, mum to Alex, 3, and Jessica, 9 months

Coping night terrors and nightmares

“Henry’s been screaming, sweating and tossing in his sleep recently. This happens more often if he’s overtired so I try to make sure he has an afternoon nap. I never wake him when it’s happening or remind him of it the next day – hopefully he’ll grow out if it when he’s ready.”

Alice Goody, 25, from Scotland, mum to Henry, 3, and Jess, 4 months

“Oliver had a few months of regularly waking up after bad dreams and coming into our room. I would let him have a quick cuddle in with us, then carry him back to his room and we’d lie together until he drifted off. He usually went back to sleep quite quickly as I was with him, and wouldn’t remember it in the morning when he woke up alone in his room as normal.”

Beth Stands, 41, from London, mum to Oliver, 4, and Jennifer, 6 months

Dealing with bedtime delaying tactics

“I’ve found that if Jacob has a countdown before bedtime he’s less likely to try delaying tactics as he isn’t as surprised when bedtime finally comes around. We start with 15 minutes and then work down to two minutes and by the time we get to one minute he races us up the stairs to get there first.”

Nicola Spiteri, 32, from Cardiff, mum to Jacob, 3

“I found the main reason Harry was playing up at bedtime was because this is the only time during the week he gets my undivided attention. So he was trying to stretch it out as long as possible. I now make sure once I’ve picked him up from nursery he gets at least half an hour of my time before I tackle any chores. He still plays up a bit but he’s definitely better at going to bed.”

Katie Goodwin, 32, from Leeds, mum to Harry, 3

Getting your toddler to stay in bed

“I’ve found Sarah tends to get up in the night when her routine of bath, milk and a story has been disrupted, so we try to stick to the same routine as much as we can. If she does get up we walk her back to her bed, tell her it’s still night time and put her musical toy on to help soothe her back to sleep. No matter how many times she gets up we always put her back as consistency is important. It seems to be working!”

Jenny Harrow, 27, from London, mum to Sarah, 2

For stress-free bedtimes

“Mylo used to cry when we put him to bed in his own room, so to distract him we made up a bedtime song. My partner and I sang goodnight to each other and blew him lots of kisses as we carried him up to bed. Gradually, he picked it up and was more interested in singing while he got into bed than worrying about us leaving him.”

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Ellie Drew, 22, from Plymouth, mum to Mylo, 17 months

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