Help needed for two year old sleep

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Help needed for two year old sleep

Postby NeedSomeHelp » Sun 23 Jan, 2011 9:37 pm

Hi there

I need some help with my two year old. He is a nightmare to put to bed at the moment, he comes in and out for a couple of hours each night after I put him to bed - asking for drinks, cuddles, toys, you name it. I have two other little ones and I am exhausted. Most of the time I end up with him in my bed or sleeping in his bed. What can I do? Help please!
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Re: Help needed for two year old sleep

Postby NgalaOnline » Wed 26 Jan, 2011 1:34 pm

Thank you for your posts. The difficulties you are having with your 2 year old are very common. At this age it toddlers are beginning to want to assert themselves as independent people with their own opinions. It is common for toddlers also to be testing the boundaries of what is acceptable behaviour. These factors can impact on a toddler's sleep. Changes in routine such as the arrival of a new baby, beginning childcare, travel, or moving from a cot to a bed also commonly unsettle children's sleep for a time.

Most toddlers benefit from a bedtime sometime around 7pm to ensure that they can get all the rest they need during the night. Parents often find that toddlers will arise at dawn regardless of when they settled for the night, and this can result in a child not getting enough sleep to be contented and calm during the day if they are going to bed late. Toddlers this age do still need to be having a day time rest, but trying to ensure this happens in the earlier afternoon can help prevent sleep difficulties at night.

To help your toddler settle earlier in the night, try having a predictable and calming routine in the hour or so before you settle him to bed. This may consist of dinner, a bath, then a quiet time with mum or dad reading a book or singing a song in his place of sleep. TV at this time of night can actually stimulate a child rather than settle him for sleep. A predictable wind down helps your toddler to feel secure and be able to predict what is happening next. Following your calming rituals, you can place your child in his place of sleep with a consistent verbal cue such as "sleep time now". Some children enjoy having a soothing aid such as a cuddly toy, dummy or blanket. You may like to have a very brief, casual conversation in the afternoon with your child about what you will be expecting at night, but keep the conversation short so as not to overwhelm or worry your child.

Before leaving your child it can be helpful to make sure you have anticipated all his needs - he has a drink with a lid in reach, he has had a cuddle, he has his special toy etc. As you prepare to leave you can verbally set your expectation with a brief and positive statement such as "Its sleep time, Sam sleeps in Sam's bed tonight". Some parents have success with coming and going from the room listening to the child's noises - attending to reassure him if he sounds distressed but leaving the child to settle himself if he is just grizzling or talking to himself. If your child comes out of the room, calmly return him to his bed with little conversation or interaction, and with the expectation that you will probably need to repeat this a number of times in the first few nights of settling.

Another approach some parents prefer is "camping out". This involves sitting in your child's room over the period of a week or so, gradually reducing the amount of support he requires from you to fall asleep. At first you may be sitting on a chair beside his bed, the next day you can try moving your chair a metre away, then a further metre the next night. Your aim will be to provide a supportive presence in the room, but to limit any interaction or conversation with your child at this time. By the end of the week you can aim to be sitting on the chair in your child's doorway, coming and going from the chair for brief periods starting at thirty seconds away and gradually increasing.

Settling requires patience and can be lengthy, especially in the first nights - this can be draining for many parents so it is a good idea to start at a time that suits your family and when you have some support available to you, such as a partner home from work or a friend who can be in the home to support you.

You may find helpful information and links on the following page: ... bout-Sleep
This information is general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for the personalized assistance that can be received from the Ngala Helpline by telephone.

For families residing in Western Australia you can also contact the
Ngala Helpline
Telephone 9368 9368 or 1800 111 546 for country access
Available 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm
or request a callback online

For helplines in other Australian states please follow this link
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Re: Help needed for two year old sleep

Postby shahalam » Sun 30 Sep, 2012 1:51 am

During their sleeping time use toddler nap mats to avoid unexpected circumstances.
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