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Mom putting her kid to sleep

5 Eye-opening Guidelines in Toddler Sleep Training

Written by: Dayvin Malifer

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Time to read 8 min

As parents, there is nothing more heartwarming than watching our little ones peacefully drift into dreamland.


Ah, the magic of slumber and rejuvenation!


But let's keep it real – the journey to making bedtime consistently restful for both you and your little one can be a bit of an adventure.


Sleep training and maintaining healthy sleep habits for toddlers is crucial for their overall well-being. This guide offers some effective strategies, supported by credible sources, to help parents establish good sleep routines for their little ones. 


According to HealthyChildren.org, toddlers typically need about 11 to 14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. This includes nighttime sleep as well as naps during the. As they approach 3 years old, the amount may shift slightly to 10 to 13 hours.


Here are 5 basics of toddler sleep training to help create a healthy sleeping habit and a bedtime discipline you will thank us for later:

1. Create A Perfect Sleep Environment

Child sleeping at night

Creating the perfect sleep environment is key to toddler sleep training and ensuring your little one drifts off into dreamland effortlessly. As we unveil top strategies to transform your toddler’s bedroom into a cozy, sleep-inducing haven, discover the secrets to a peaceful night’s sleep for your child.

Ensure Optimal Room Conditions

Creating a sleep-friendly setup is all about making the room cozy. Maintain a cool room temperature, ideally between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit (20-22 Celsius) for deeper, less fragmented sleep. Think about the possible food particles or insects that are on the bed, lighting, and keeping it quiet.


Color palettes of the toddler’s room that are soft and easy to the eyes matter in toddler sleeping training standards, too. Choosing pastel or soft, light colors is a wise act in helping them get at ease. It's like setting the stage for the best sleep vibes!

Choose the Right Bedding

Picking the right bedding is a game-changer for your little one's comfort. It's like giving them a cozy hug during bedtime. The number and quality of pillows also matter in making a great bed for your little one.

Establish A Consistent Bedtime Routine

Consistency is the name of the game with toddlers. Having a bedtime routine is like their secret code for winding down. It's the magic wand that makes going to sleep a breeze.

2. Plan Out A Good Bedtime Routine

Banana
Pouring milk into glass

Plan out a simple yet doable bedtime routine that incorporates calming activities, creating a soothing pre-sleep atmosphere for your toddler. Here is one:

  • Pre-Bedtime Play (30 minutes before bedtime)

Engage in calm and quiet activities like reading a story, coloring, or playing with soft toys and avoid stimulating activities or screen time.


  • Warm Bath (15 minutes before bedtime)

Give your toddler a warm and soothing bath. Use gentle, calming soap.

Keep the lights dim to signal that bedtime is approaching.


  • Pajama Time

Help your toddler change into comfortable pajamas.


  • Brush Teeth

Establish good dental habits by brushing your toddler's teeth or helping them brush their own teeth.


  • Quiet Time (10 minutes before bedtime)

Dim the lights and start creating a calm and quiet environment. Consider soft music or a lullaby.


  • Bedtime Story

Read a short bedtime story. Choose calming and positive themes and use a relaxing voice for reading.


  • Goodnight Snuggle

Spend a few minutes snuggling or cuddling with your toddler in bed. Offer words of reassurance and love.


  • Lights Out

The toddler sleep training ends as you turn off the lights and say good night. Consider leaving a nightlight if your toddler prefers it or is comfortable with it.

3. Know Foods That Impact Toddler Sleep Training

Foods That Promote Sleep

banana on plate
glass of milk

Certain foods can naturally support good toddler sleeping training. Discover the dietary choices that can positively influence your toddler's sleep patterns:


  • Bananas – Bananas are rich in potassium, a mineral that plays a crucial role in muscle relaxation leading to a better sleep in toddlers.

  • Dairy – Dairy products, such as milk and yogurt, contain tryptophan. Tryptophan promotes relaxation and causes a child to fall asleep faster, and melatonin regulates the sleep/wake cycle.

  • Oats – Not only are oats whole grain and gluten-free, but they also boast a wealth of benefits, providing essential fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Additionally, oats play a role in promoting the natural production of melatonin in the body. Say yes to this nutritional powerhouse!

  • Supplements – Supplements to promote better sleep in toddlers often contain specific ingredients that are believed to contribute to relaxation and improved sleep.

Foods To Avoid Before Bed

Soda
coffee

Certain foods and beverages may interfere with a toddler's sleep or cause discomfort, leading to difficulty falling asleep. It's a good idea to avoid the following items close to bedtime.


  • Caffeine - Caffeine is a stimulant that can affect sleep patterns in both adults and children, including toddlers. If your toddler consumes caffeinated beverages or foods close to bedtime, it may take longer for them to fall asleep.

  • Sodas – Sodas are often high in sugar, and excessive sugar intake, especially close to bedtime, can lead to energy spikes and crashes. This can result in restlessness, making it challenging for your toddler to settle down for sleep.

  • Sugary Foods e.g Chocolates – Chocolate contains theobromine, a stimulant that is related to caffeine, though it has a milder stimulating effect.

  • Fatty foods – Fatty foods can take longer to digest, and they may be more likely to cause indigestion or discomfort. If your toddler eats a meal high in fats shortly before bedtime, it could lead to feelings of fullness and discomfort, making it harder for them to settle down and fall asleep.

Pay Attention to Nutrition and Hydration

Setting the stage for a restful night starts with the last meal of the day. Sleep training toddlers involves timing dinner, managing snacks and caffeine intake.


Serve dinner a few hours before bedtime and offer a small snack if necessary. Feeling too full or hungry can interfere with falling asleep. Be mindful of caffeine content in drinks. Caffeine can take hours to wear off, so it's best to avoid it, especially in children.


You also might consider incorporating children's supplements into their diet to help their sleep and overall nutrition.

4. Manage Screen Time

Screen time before sleep time

Excessive screen time can interfere with sleep quality. Understand the impact and explore ways to manage screen time effectively before they throw tantrums due to lack of managing their screen time throughout the day.


  • Trouble Falling Asleep – Too much screen time before bedtime can make it tricky for your little one to doze off. The bright light from screens messes with the sleepy hormone, making it harder to feel tired.
  • Messing with Sleep Schedule – Screens can throw off your toddler's sleep routine. That means their sleep schedule might become a bit unpredictable, making bedtime a bit of a challenge.
  • Not Enough Sleep Hormones – Screens and their bright lights, can trick the brain into thinking it's still daytime. This tricks the brain into not making enough of the sleepy hormone, making it tough for your toddler to feel ready for bedtime.
  • Too Excited to Sleep – Fun games and videos on screens can get your toddler all excited, making it tough for them to calm down and get ready for a good night's sleep.
  • Not Sleeping Well – Too much screen time can lead to not-so-great sleep. Your toddler might wake up during the night or have a hard time getting into a deep sleep.
  • Feeling Tired During the Day – Oddly enough, too much screen time at night can make your toddler feel tired during the day. It's like their sleep didn't do its job properly.

5. Observe Deeper Sleep Problems

Toddlers can have their share of sleep challenges naturally. The trick? Spotting and fixing these issues pronto! It's the key to making sure those little ones get into the groove of healthy sleep habits.


In achieving the goal of toddler sleep training, the sleeping issues that your toddlers are facing might slowly come to a conclusion.

Insomnia and Parasomnias

Girl can

Some toddlers experience difficulty falling asleep, frequent awakenings, or waking up too early. Insomnia can lead to inadequate sleep and behavioral problems. If it persists, consult your child’s pediatrician for potential treatments and interventions.


Parasomnias are sleep-related behaviors that may disrupt a child’s sleep. Common examples include:


  • Night terrors

Night terrors are frightening episodes where children scream, thrash, or appear distressed. They may not recall the event.


  • Sleepwalking

Children getting out of bed and moving around while still asleep is basically sleepwalking. Ensure a safe sleep environment to prevent injuries.


  • Sleep talking

Sleep talking is usually harmless but can disrupt sleep for the child and others, especially if sharing a room.


Remember, most of these sleep challenges are phases that children will outgrow. However, if you’re concerned about your child’s sleep behavior, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized advice and support.

Conclusion

In the journey of toddler sleep training, remember that consistency, patience, and a nurturing environment are your allies. As you guide your little dreamers toward restful nights, celebrate each small victory – because well-rested toddlers make for happier days!


Remember that every child is unique, and it may take some trial and error to find what works best for your toddler.

FAQ

How old can toddlers get sleep training?

While sleep training can typically begin when a child is around 4 to 6 months old, as this is when babies are generally able to self-soothe and may no longer require night feedings, toddlers begin sleep training between 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 years of age. It’s often initiated when signs show that the toddler is ready for more independence, such as learning to climb out of their crib or becoming fully potty trained and needing access to the bathroom.

What is the best time for a toddler to sleep?

Most toddlers sleep best when they’re tucked into bed by 7:30 or 8 p.m. at the latest. Research shows that young kids who go to bed before 9 p.m. tend to fall asleep faster and wake up less often during the night. 


A combination of two one- to two-hour naps during the day (or one longer afternoon nap as they near age 2) and a solid 10 to 11 1/2 hours at night is ideal.

Can supplements help toddlers sleep through the night?

While sleep training primarily involves behavioral strategies and consistent routines, certain nutrients can play a role in promoting healthy sleep patterns for toddlers. Melatonin, L-Theanine, and Lemon Balm are great for a healthy sleeping pattern. All of these are found in TruHeight®️ Sleep Gummies which can be a great addition to your toddler sleeping training kit!

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