What parent hasn’t uttered those words? But where exactly is the land of sleep? For some toddlers it takes a lot more than the sandman to help them find the way. The average toddler, defined as 18 months up to age three, requires about 12-14 hours of sleep each day, although some get by on much less. Most toddlers start with two naps, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. By age 2 ½ most have given up the morning nap.
Studies show that a human’s growth hormone is the highest in the night.” In fact, by 30 months toddlers have gained about four times their birth weight, grown an average 2 to 2 ½ inches per year and acquired most of their baby teeth.
Remember though, there are times when sleep issues don’t stem from the toddler but from family expectations. Parents who are overworked or who face job changes may need the child to sleep so they themselves can get some rest, but children will sleep when they are tired, not when the parent is tired.
In order for your child reach the Land of Nod, try these techniques:
- Keep meals, snacks and playtime hours consistent.
- Avoid sugary or caffeinated products before bedtime.
- Start bedtime routines like teeth brushing and sips of water earlier to avoid rushing, which is counterproductive to winding down.
- Create a calm environment before bedtime. Dim lights. Turn off the television or loud music.
- Make sure your child is properly dressed for the season: cool for the summer, warm for winter nights.
- Allow your child to look under the bed and in the closets to be assured of a safe room that is monster-free.
- Sing hymns and pray.
- Offer a back or head rub.