Toddler sleep problems would seem like an incongruous idea. While it is common for overworked, stressed out adults to have problems falling asleep at night, it seems ridiculous to think that a perfectly healthy toddler could be experiencing the same thing. The fact is, though, that many children as young as a year old can have serious sleep issues and it’s important for parents to understand this in order to help address them.
According to most pediatricians, toddlers need an average of 12-14 hours of sleep a night in order to function properly. When they don’t get enough sleep, their brain function can be seriously affected. Toddlers with a lack of sleep can actually exhibit drastic declines in their IQ, much like those seen in children with lead poisoning. And as with many problems that develop early in life, these sleep issues can continue on right into adulthood.
With these sobering thoughts in mind, it becomes obvious that toddler sleep problems are a serious issue and one that should be dealt with as quickly as possible. The sooner you can get your little one over the bedtime hurdle and help him develop good sleep habits, the better off he’ll be.
So what kind of bedtime problems could you be facing and what can you do about them? Sleep issues in toddlers can take on many different forms… from waking up with nightmares to refusing to go to sleep to crawling into bed with you at night. It’s all about fighting the idea of being in bed and shutting down, which is not really surprising when you consider the excess energy that toddlers have. You may even have joked about how your little one doesn’t want to go to sleep for fear of missing out on the action.
Unfortunately, this may not be a laughing matter. The occasional restless night or bedtime meltdown may be perfectly normal, but if your child regularly resists going to bed or gets up frequently during the night, it could be a sign of toddler sleep problems. If you suspect that your toddler is suffering from sleep problems, you should discuss the issue with your pediatrician, who may be able to offer helpful suggestions.
In general, most sleep problems can be easily corrected. The main thing is to get your toddler to equate being in bed with falling asleep. It sounds simple but it might take some creative prodding, including adjusting their bedtime or inducing a restful environment.
You also need to prevent him from relying too heavily on your presence in order to fall asleep. As much as he might cry or call out for you, you need to resist giving in so that he learns to go to sleep on his own.
It can take some time and effort to help correct toddler sleep problems, but with the right approach you can get your little one used to sleeping peacefully. So don’t just shrug off those night-time struggles… pay attention to what your child’s sleep habits are saying and you’ll both be able to rest easier.
Further information on toddler sleep problems.