It’s 7 pm and your little one is tired, you start to get him or her ready for bed and by the time they are in their crib you have problems getting them to stop crying when you go to leave the room. You may also have a different problem where you rock your little one to sleep and they wake up all night long almost every hour. All of this is caused by not being sleep trained, so how do you sleep train your 1 year old?
I am going to go over why this happens and what you need to do to solve the sleep issues you are having by using a few simple steps you can follow to get your child sleep trained. Trust me momma I have been there and it is exhausting I know! I promise after doing these steps your nights will get easier and you and your little one will be getting more sleep.
Why Your Child Isn’t Sleeping Well
There are several things that cause a child to not sleep well, one is that they never learned to fall asleep on their own and now when they go through patterns of REM sleep they keep waking up and wanting you to help them go back to sleep. This can be true if you tend to rub their back or rock them to sleep before bed!
Another factor is not having a set schedule for bedtime rituals, you may start to get them ready at all different times and this will cause them to be confused on what is suppose to happen next. Toddlers like stability and set schedules and you will find that they respond better when they know what is happening next on the daily agenda rather then having it change each day.
Feeding your child in the middle of the night will also keep them from sleeping well because they are waking to get fed at a certain time each night and expecting it to always happen.
How To Sleep Train
There are several things you need to do in order to sleep train your 1 year old, they aren’t to difficult but will take some adjustment on everyone’s part to get into the swing of things and transition. I don’t believe in letting your child cry it out so this method is a gentle way to do sleep training with your 1 year old. It will not happen overnight but in a few weeks or months when your child and you get used to doing this.
If you feed your child during the night sleep training is going to be a lot harder for you, in order to start the process you are going to have to wean your child off of the night feedings. If you are breast feeding it will work better if dad is the one to rock your little one to sleep without feeding him or her until they get used to not feeding at night.
1. Have A Routine
You need to have an established bedtime routine that happens everyday at the same time. It starts with last bottle then bath, pajamas, teeth, story or music and bed. Once your child is used to this happening every night it won’t be a surprise when it’s time to go to sleep.
Try to make bedtime an enjoyable positive activity without getting them hyped up, have fun with stories and songs.
2. Don’t Overstimulate
An hour before bedtime it is crucial to have some wind down time without a screen on or anything exciting going on at the time. This will help set in place your routine for bedtime and what is to be expected every night.
3. Keep It Simple
Make sure to keep bedtime short and always moving towards going to bed without a break in activity. This keeps the focus on what the routine is about and doesn’t allow for your child to start making excuses or getting upset at any point, though sometimes this does happen because lets face it they are toddlers and emotions change very quickly.
4. Stay Consistent
Always stay consistent with the routine that is the key to getting your child sleep trained, sometimes things happen when you can’t follow the routine but try to stick to it as much as possible to avoid confusion.
Toddler Wakes Up Or Can’t Fall Asleep By Themselves
These are the steps to take if your toddler has never been sleep trained or able to fall asleep on their own and are asking for you when you walk out of the room.
1. Move Bedtime
Change the bedtime to a bit later so your child is very tired and will have an easier time falling asleep on their own, they will be so tired that their body will help them learn to go to sleep. Once they get used to doing this you can move the bedtime back by fifteen minutes every few days until you reach the time that you want them to go to bed normally. A general rule for toddlers is about 7:30 or 8 pm, our son goes to bed at 8 pm most of the time unless he is really tired already then he is in bed by 7:30.
2. No Late Naps or Sleeping In
It is best to avoid letting your child fall asleep late in the afternoon past about 2:30 because they will be wide awake when it comes to getting ready for bed and this will mess with your bedtime routine.
Also don’t let your child sleep in in the mornings past 8 am or they will have a hard time taking a nap or will want one later and this will ruin your bedtime routine and sleep training for your toddler.
A good method that works well is to wean your child off of you rubbing their back or rocking them to sleep, you can start off by rubbing their back or rocking them and then the next day be by their crib but not rubbing their back or rocking them.
Talk to them and let them know you are there and that it’s time to go to sleep now.
The next day move a little further away and do the same thing and the last day be in the hallway and keep reassuring them if they look at you or ask for you.
This method will take a few days to get through and can help your child get used to falling asleep on their own.
4. Checking In
Another method you can use is to stay in the room for a few minutes with your child, you can snuggle for a minute or touch their head and back but then make an excuse to leave the room. Make sure your excuse is something boring sounding and that you come back after a minute or two to check in and then make another excuse after a few minutes to go do something else.
The goal is to help your child see that they are okay and you are close by but not needed in order to sleep. Always praise your toddler for staying in bed and not being scared as this will help reinforce that they are able to go to sleep without you.
After a week of doing this or even a few days your child will become more confident about sleeping alone and will be able to fall asleep on their own without any help.
Remember that consistency is going to be your friend and keeping the same routine and strategy will finally get you the results you want so don’t give up when it doesn’t work overnight. These all take a bit of work and you have to be strong and not give in when your child wants something all the time or cries for you when you leave the room. It’s going to be hard but if you follow through it will get easier on you and your child.
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