If you are like me your one year old can be a challenge to get to go to sleep at night! Once they discover their independence it seems to be harder to get them to do a lot of things like getting dressed, diaper changes, naps, eating meals and going to sleep.
Your 1-year-old is not sleeping at night and you need a solution to the problem here are some great pointers that will get you on track to have a sleeping baby.
Our baby is 12 months old and full of spunk and energy, he doesn’t like to have his diaper changed or take naps and can be a picky eater too. Since he learned to walk and is more independent, he makes his own choices and can be quite a challenge in a lot of areas.
The biggest challenge we have had lately is getting him to go to sleep at night. We have kept the same routine, for the most part, his bedtime varies depending on how tired he is and what time he took a nap but no matter what he just isn’t ready for bed.
We figured out what we did wrong now that he is older and the problem was being overstimulated and going to bed to late. In this post, I will give you three important ways to get your one-year-old to sleep and lots of pointers in between that we learned by not sleep training correctly.
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Keeping The Same Routine At Night
Babies and Toddlers like routine and to know what comes next, it helps them transition from one activity to the next. By keeping the same bedtime routine in place they know after dinner is quiet time and bath time followed by brushing teeth, diaper change, pajamas, and bed. Once they start to be pre-toddlers this isn’t always easy because now they want to be more independent and have a say in what is going on.
We have been sticking to our routine but giving him a few choices along the way at bedtime such as what book to read and which pajamas he is going to wear. This seems to help ease the process of going to sleep.
Staying with the same routine every night is one of the most important things you as a parent can do to ensure that your little one will sleep better now, and later on, if you give in you are setting yourself up for failure and frustration later.
This is something we didn’t do very well around this age and learned the hard way, please don’t make the same mistakes we did!
Sleep Requirements for a 12-Month-Old
It is very important to keep the same bedtime or close to the same time every night, a 1-year-old still requires a lot of sleep so depending on what time they have to be up in the morning they should be put to sleep at a decent hour to help them get the 14 to 15 hours they need ( according to WebMD ).
A good bedtime for your 12-month-old is between 7 pm and 9 pm and wake up time should be between 6 am and 8 am, which will help your child get the right amount of sleep required for his age.
Nap times are needed as well, at least 2 naps a day one in the morning for an hour and then in the afternoon for two to three hours until they are around 15-18 months old when they transition to just one a day. If your baby is anything like mine he will play in his crib for a half hour and not settle into a nap a few days a week, so mom can’t get things done that she wants to haha.
You may also want to read this article on Sleep Training your 1 Year Old
12 Month Old Sleep Regression
Is their such a thing as sleep regression in a 1-year-old? Yes, it is not so common but can happen, if your toddler isn’t walking yet you may find that they take shorter naps in the morning and afternoon. Most of the sleep regression is caused by sleep consolidation, meaning they are sleeping longer at night and this makes your little one go on a nap strike for a few days or a week or two.
As tempting as it is to do one nap I would recommend holding off for a few months because this may change once they start to walk. Your baby will be using a lot more energy walking and moving around all day that having only one nap will leave them cranky and overly tired by bedtime, which will make getting them to sleep much harder.
Allow your 12-month-old to take shorter naps and stick to the same schedule and eventually the naps will go back to the normal length of two to three hours. This doesn’t always work if your child is in daycare since most daycares like to do one nap after the age of one.
I used to request that they give my son a nap after 12 months but it didn’t always work out, he would either be put down to late or not at all and had a harder time sleeping through the night.
Creating A Calm Boring Environment To Ease Into Sleep
It is very important to create a calm environment to help your baby wind down and relax before bedtime. If your little one is overly stimulated then they won’t calm down and relax enough to fall asleep when it’s time.
1. Bath Time
Try a warm soothing bath as well as quiet music and reading books. If things are to lively it will make it harder for your baby to want to go to sleep because they feel they are missing out on something.
2. No TV
No screen time for an hour before bed so they can decompress and start to calm down, screen time can over stimulate your toddlers’ mind and cause him or her to stay awake at night or not sleep as well.
Try to read books and have some cuddle time before bed, this will help your 1-year-old calm down and have some good quality time with you before going to sleep. Personally, I think this helps them sleep better, having some time with mom and dad after a busy day, it gives reassurance and helps build some security and gives them something to look forward to each night.
3. Dim Lighting
It’s best to keep the lights dim and have quiet reading time and ease into brushing teeth, diaper change and pajamas. This will keep your little one from getting excited or feel like they are going to miss out on something.
It also helps the brain calm down and unwind after a busy day of constant moving and noise, we all need this at night so we can sleep better, though very few of us adults do this lol.
4. Soft Music
Soft music works well for easing into sleep, you could use a baby monitor that plays music or this adorable owl white noise machine and sleep aid night light.
This owl made by Bubzi Co plays 10 popular songs, turns off after 30 minutes, it also can clip to the side of the crib or sit in it and project colors onto the wall or ceiling along with having a nice glowing night light to soothe your little one to sleep. This is perfect for in the car or on vacation and your toddler will love how soft and cute it is!
The best part is that every purchase of this owl goes to helping postpartum support international who help new moms look after their perinatal mental health.
5. Night Light
I was talking to our neighbor who has 4 kids about how our baby was having trouble going to sleep because it seemed he was scared of the dark and would freak out when we left the room. She told me about this cool light that all her kids have and it works all the way up to the age of 5 or 6. It projects stars in different colors onto the ceiling and walls of the room making it a soft and calm place to lay and fall asleep.
I ordered one right away and was amazed by how well he liked it! No more screaming when we leave the room and he falls asleep fast! We love this night light been using it for about two years now and it’s still working great. It’s a good buy for long term use that is for sure.
It’s called the Boomile Baby Night Light, Star Light Rotating Projector
You can plug it in using a phone USB charger or batteries whichever is more convenient. I absolutely love this night light. It has a cover so it just gives off light or you can take off the cover and it has the moon and stars that rotate or stand still with 8 different colors you can choose from. Best of all it works for nap time too!!! I had to share this with you because I just love this product and it really helped us get our baby to go to sleep at night.
The Best Way to Help Your Baby Sleep
Once you establish a routine and have that down you will still run into your toddler being upset that it’s bedtime and throwing stuffed animals out or crying for you to rub their back. This is a critical time to set boundaries for your one-year-old so they can go to sleep sooner and won’t do this for years to come.
Boundaries to Establish
Babies are extremely smart and will continue to have you come in and get their stuffed animal they threw on the floor for the hundredth time unless you establish that this is not what we do and don’t pick it up after the second or third time.
You need to set the rules now, for success later, by establishing good sleeping habits with your toddler, if you don’t you will have a tuff time getting your little one to sleep.
Set the stage for sleeping habits by not rubbing their back until they fall asleep or laying with them or even how many times you will bring them something to drink. Lay down the rules and follow them, don’t allow your toddler to get whatever they want when they should be going to sleep.
I know some of this is a little controversial for a few people, I’m not trying to tell you not to cuddle your little one but do it sparingly like when they awake from a nightmare or are sick. If you choose to do these things your little one will expect you to do this every time because they like routine. What you do one day for them should apply every day because they haven’t developed logic yet.
How to Handle Night Waking
Your child is going to wake up at night for various reasons, some are because of being sick, teething or growing, it could be separation anxiety or even nightmares. Most children wake up at night a few times a month for different reasons, I don’t think this can be avoided.
Make sure your little one isn’t watching scary things on TV during the day and the books you read at night are very calming and happy to avoid any kind of nightmares your child could have due to these things.
Some one-year-olds end up not sleeping well because they have night terrors if you have ever gone through these as I have then you know there is literally nothing you can do to help them but be there until they wake up and make sure they don’t hurt themselves.
If you don’t know what a night terror is the best way to describe it is that your child is living out their nightmare screaming bloody murder and you can’t wake them up from it! It is horrible and I am sorry for any parent that has to deal with these.
I wrote an article you might be interested in reading about What Causes Night Terrors In Babies And Toddlers.
If your child wakes up at night and needs to cuddle for a few minutes I recommend not using their bed or yours but rather sitting on the couch until your baby is asleep or close to and ready to go to their room. This keeps your child out of your bed later and you out of their bed by establishing a neutral place to cuddle and help them go back to sleep.
I have done this with my son for years and it has kept him out of our bed and now he cuddles till he calms down or is sleepy again and wants to be back in his bed. It has worked wonders for us and maybe it will work well for you too.
Keep the night wakings a short episode by not talking to them or smiling and tending to whatever their need is promptly and get them back in bed. Usually about a 20 to 30-minute time frame, some shorter than others depending on what the reason is for waking up.
Final Thoughts on 1 Year Old Not Sleeping
Sleep training your baby is a bit of training yourself at the same time, you need to make the rules and stick to them in a routine that works for you. Create an easy routine to follow and help your toddler learn the routine and what is expected.
This will not happen overnight so please don’t expect it to work like that, be patient and stick to it and in a few months, you will see great results!
This is coming from a parent who has been there and had to do it the right way after doing things the wrong way for so long. Your toddler will sleep better and will be happier in the long run once you establish a sleeping routine so neither of you has to deal with them not sleeping.
You got this momma just keep on following a schedule and setting boundaries so your little one knows what to expect at all times.
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