“From the time she was two months old, my baby was a great sleeper. She slept through the night almost every night and took great naps. Then, she turned into a toddler. Now, she hardly naps at all. She has even started to try climbing out of her crib. When she doesn’t nap, she is sometimes cranky in the early evenings, which makes it hard for me. What do I do?”
When babies become toddlers, they start to realize all the fun they’re missing when they’re asleep. They are discovering a world full of sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and textures. They feel like they have more control of their world, and sometimes its hard for them to sleep. Here are some tips for getting your toddler to get her zzz’s.
- Establish a good nap routine. For instance, after lunch get out her blankie or stuffed animal, whatever she associates with nap time. Curl up on the couch with two or three books. Let her know after the books, its nap time. Always take her up for her nap after you read the books.
- If she does not fall asleep after 30-45 minutes, go up and check to see if she may have pooped in her diaper. If she has, change her and put her back to bed immediately. Do not pick her up if you don’t have to.
- If after an hour, she is still awake, try rocking and singing to her. Keep the room as dark as possible.
- Be sure her crib is on the lowest position. If she climbs out of it, put her back in and tell her its nap time again. Repetition is key with toddlers.
- If she is wide awake after 1 ½ - 2 hours, go in and get her. She is not going to sleep, and maybe she doesn’t need it. At the very least, she had at least an hour of quiet time with little stimulation. This may be enough to keep her happy and rested for the rest of the day.