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4 Toddler Sleep Training Tips

If you think it might be too late to fix your toddler or big kids sleep struggles, I am here to tell you that is just NOT TRUE!

Sleep training is still possible once your kiddo is older and out of a crib. A common scenario that I often hear goes something like this:

“My child is 3 and his sleep is terrible! He can’t fall asleep unless I am right there next to him.  He’ll sleep for a while but then ends up in my bed halfway through the night. I think I missed my chance to sleep train. I’ve tried multiple things on my own and they just haven’t worked. I am so tired, and I just don’t know what to do, but I cannot continue like this.”

If the above sounds familiar to you, please know that there is hope.  With the right tools, a plan and most importantly CONSISTENCY, you CAN get your toddler or preschooler sleeping independently!

Let’s go over some tips to help sleep train your toddler or preschooler.

Tips to help your toddler sleep

Tip #1 – Have a Solid Sleep Plan

When you decide you are ready to sleep train your child, the first thing you must have is a solid sleep plan. Simply implementing a few changes, without a solid plan is a sure way to fail, feel discouraged and ultimately be back at square one.

Your sleep plan should contain a clear sleep training method for nights as well as steps on implementing a new routine. Typically, you will also need instructions on how to apply new visuals for your child such as a bedtime routine chart, a color clock or both! Visit our online storefront for our favorite 'big kid' sleep products!

In short, you need to pick a method & stick with it. At Tweet Dreamzz Sleep Consulting, we choose the method that we think would work best for your family based off a series of questions asked on an intake form. We either go with a method that has higher parental involvement or one that has less parental involvement depending on what we think would work best for your family. Our plans have ALL the answers you need to successfully sleep train your toddler or preschooler in two weeks or less!

When you work with us you also get 1:1 coaching too. Having a plan is one thing, implementing it is another. We get how hard it can be to implement something by yourself. We are there with you every step of the way to guide you through successfully putting into operation a clear sleep plan that will work.



Tip #2 – Keep a Sleep Log

As parents, we already have so much going on. You may think you remember exactly what time your child fell asleep or what happened throughout the night, but let’s be serious, when you’re tired everything starts to blur together.  Keeping a sleep log allows you to track the events that happen every single day and night.

You should be logging the following:

  •     What time your child was put in bed

  •     What time they actually fell asleep

  •     How well they slept throughout the night & if there were any night wakings

  •    `What time they woke up in the morning

You’ll also want to jot down comments relating to the events. For example, what type of intervention was done in the middle of the night, if any?  What was your child’s reaction/was there protest?

Doing all of this will allow you to see in a clear fashion the progress that is occurring and will also help you stay on track and decide if any tweaks need to be made to the plan.

Tip #3 – Have Open Communication

The nice thing about working with older children is that we can communicate with them, and they can communicate back with us. Unlike sleep training a baby who has no say in the matter, a toddler or preschooler will have opinions (strong ones) and willpower (also strong!)

It’s important to openly communicate the new way things are going to be done surrounding bedtime with your child. We encourage you to do a lot of prep work before implementing sleep training with your toddler or preschooler. Your child should be involved in this process!

How to involve your child in upcoming sleep changes:

  1. Holding a family meeting in advance.

  2. Role playing with stuffed toys or with a parent the events that are going to occur.

  3. Constantly talking to your child about the new boundaries and expectations that are being put in place.

With open communication your child will know what to expect. “If I do this, mom will do that.” The child will be in charge of what they are doing, and you will be in charge of what you are doing. Older kids want to feel like they are in control, and it is OK to give them some control by giving them specific choices.

For example:

“Do you want the red pajamas or the blue ones tonight?”

 “Do you want to read this book or that book?”

No one wants to be caught off guard, including your child! It’s all about meeting them where they are maturity wise and communicating in a way that they will understand the new boundaries.

Tip #4– Stay Consistent

Having a solid sleep plan, logging your child’s sleep and communicating is nothing without CONSISTENCY. Although this is tip #4, being consistent is the #1 thing you need to do if you want to be successful in sleep training your toddler or preschooler.

Often times, people will hear advice on how to sleep train their child and claim that they already “tried everything”. However, the piece that they often forget to mention is that they likely didn’t try it for a long enough period or in the same exact fashion for enough time.

Kids thrive with routine and consistency. It is not fair to your child to follow the sleep plan on some nights and not others. You cannot expect your child to learn the rules and boundaries that are being put into place if you are not consistent in your plan and your response.

We get it – it’s hard work but keep your eye on the goal and remember why you started in the first place!

Reap the Rewards of having your toddler or preschooler becoming an independent sleeper!

Sleep in a biological need. Your child knows how to sleep. When sleep training a toddler or preschooler, it is much more about making behavioral changes surrounding sleep and teaching confidence in sleeping independently. Sleep is SO important for everyone, especially your toddler or preschooler as it plays a vital role in their developing mind and body. Sleep can also help improve your relationship with your child. Sleep deprivation is the WORST. You and your child need sleep in order to be the best version of yourselves.

Now that you know that it’s not too late to sleep train your toddler, get started implementing these changes sooner rather than later! Sleep has a direct effect on your child’s mood, memory and cognitive performance.  Even minimal sleep loss can impact your child’s day to day life, so what are you waiting for?

You don’t have to go at this alone. Book a free discovery call here to learn more about how we can help you successfully get your toddler or preschool aged child happy in their bed all night long!

Stellina Ferri is the author of this article. Stellina is a certified pediatric sleep consultant and mom of three.

She supports families through the journey of better sleep as a consultant with Tweet Dreamzz Sleep Consulting. She lives in the Boston, MA area with her family.





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