Sleep and Your Toddler

As your child grows up their sleep needs and patterns will change. It’s during sleep that hormones responsible for growth are most active. Most toddlers need about 10 – 12 hours of sleep at night, with one or two naps during the day of about 1 – 2 hours long.

If you are faced with a little one who resists bedtime, wakes at night and has difficultly returning to sleep, it can be a frustrating experience for you both. Fortunately, many of these issues are resolved with time, but there are some things you can do now to help your child settle and get to sleep:

Maintain A Sleep Schedule

Routine sleep times can help stop your child getting overtired or sleepy during the day and prepare them for sleep at night.

Example sleep schedule

  • 7 am: wake up
  • 1 pm: nap of no more than 2 hours
  • 3 pm: wake up
  • 7 pm: bedtime.

Keep A Bedtime Routine

A consistent bedtime routine helps prepare a child for sleep.

Example sleep routine

  • 6.30 pm: brush teeth and change nappy
  • 6.45 pm: quiet time (read a book or tell a story)
  • 7 pm: into bed with their favourite toy and a kiss goodnight.

Look Out For Signs Of Tiredness

Recognising when your child is ready for bed can prevent them from becoming overtired and make it easier to get them settled. The signs of tiredness include:

  • clumsiness
  • taking longer to do things
  • irritable behaviour
  • crying
  • clinginess
  • demands for constant attention
  • boredom with toys
  • fussiness with food.