How To Deal With Sleep Problems In Your 3-Year-Old?
Created by Janaki Srinivasan Updated on Aug 27, 2020
If you are a mother of a toddler or a preschooler you would know that out of all the issues related to a toddler especially a three-year-old are related to sleep. Sleep problems in children usually start when you are shifting your child from his or her crib to a bed or separating him or her from your bed to his or her bed. Sleep problems can be quite frustrating for parents as the child is not getting adequate rest and then is cranky and irritated. So before we go further on what are the common sleep problems let's see why is sleep important for toddlers.
Why Is Sleep Important For Toddlers?
When children don't sleep enough, their tired brain becomes incapable of learning new things and adapting to new skills. Studies prove that insufficient sleep is also responsible for obesity in children because sleep plays a crucial role in regulating the hormones responsible for appetite. The problem is, at times tired children may become hyperactive and therefore parents may never be able to realize the actual problem.
What Are The Common Sleep Related Problems In Young Children?
Let's take a look at some problems or rather tantrums that toddlers throw during bedtime and how to tackle them.
- Keeps getting up: Once your toddler moves out of the crib and into his/her own bed, they have the tendency to keep getting out of bed and you may have to repeatedly put them back in. Make sure you don't react and keep a stoic face and calmly tuck them back in. In a few days, you will notice that this habit gradually fades away
- Don't linger around for too long: Once your child is old enough to start sleeping alone, you must make him/her understand that you will not stay in their room for long. You could slowly move out of the room over a period of time starting with may be 15 to 20 minutes and gradually reducing the time. Make sure you assure your child that you love him/her and give them a good hug and a kiss before you move out
- Dealing with the stubborn ones: Some children try to extend the bedtime, by asking for one more story, one more glass of water, one more kiss, another stuffed animal and so on. Remember not to give in and draw the line when required. Be firm and make sure that you explain to your child how much is actually allowed once they finally go to bed
- Anxiety due to separation: Children at this age obviously suffer from separation anxiety which makes them resist going to bed. Deal with this carefully and don't ignore it. Allow them to make bedtime choices (what to wear), allow them to sleep with their favorite toy, read out their favorite story and maybe even leave the night light on for a couple of days until they are settled. Don't get impatient and angry. Stay calm and remember to be consistent
- Follow the routine: It's always a good idea to follow a routine when it comes to forming habits in children. And this holds good for their sleep as well. Don't make your child depend on you to fall asleep. Let them fall asleep on their own. If they cry out for you, don't rush; go after a couple of minutes. If they refuse to stay in bed, tell them you're going out and closing the door. Do it and stand outside for some time. Then check if they have gone to bed. If not, put them back in bed and leave. Gradually they will get into the habit of going to bed on their own. Remember to follow a routine that is comforting and supportive
- Restrict screen time before bed: It is generally advisable to allow the mind to rest for some time before going to bed. This holds good for adults and children alike. Therefore, make sure that at least half an hour before going to bed, the television and other electronic gadgets are switched off. Read a book and make them do simple activities like counting backwards to tire them so that they'll automatically doze off
- Alleviating fears: Children often fear the dark and that could be one the main reason why they don't want to sleep without you. To alleviate such fears, play games with them during the day that calls for going around the house hunting for their toys, sometimes using a flashlight. If your child wants to sleep with the lights on, it's ok to allow it for the first few nights until he/she gets comfortable. Gradually you can coax them to sleep without the lights on
- Visiting your room late in the night: Well, this is something that happens with most of the children. Children often get up in the middle of the night and find it comforting to come over to your room and sleep next to you. Never encourage this. Slowly walk them back to their room. Lie down close to them for a while until they are fast asleep. You can then slowly move out
These are just some of the common problems toddlers face at bedtime. As each child is unique, some children sleep easily while others may get fussy. But a three old child normally needs at least 10 to 12 hours of sleep in the night and about 1 to 3 hours of sleep during the day. This will gradually reduce as they grow older.
If your child has trouble sleeping don't automatically assume that he/she needs less sleep. It just means that they are having problems going to sleep and you have to help him/her. Once they get used to a routine, both you and the child can get good rest and wake up fresh in the morning. Now, doesn't that sound great?
Did you like the blog on sleep problems in your three year old and how to deal with it? Do you have some more ideas to put your child to sleep effortlessly? Share your views and feedback with us in the comments section below, as we would love to hear from you.
| Dec 06, 2017
my daughter is 1. 8 years. she wakes up after every hour or 2. she sleep with me. I made her tummy full. but she wakes up again and again. I tried everything including your suggestions but nothing works.... she sleep for 1/2 hour in a day. she is hyperactive use to run and play all day.