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 according to drcraigcanapari.com 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 about what is supposed 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 than 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 breastfeeding 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 every day at the same time. It starts with the 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 let’s 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 says todaysparent.com 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.
Final Thoughts on Sleep Training Your 1 Year Old
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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14 thoughts on “Sleep Training Your 1 Year Old”
Consistency is the only way! I tried few methods before and I failed. Now I know it was beacuse I was not sure it is was a right thing to do. But when you find a perfect system you can power through! You need to stay strong and remember you are helping your child to be well rested! GO!
Hi Annie, Thank you so much for your comment! It’s hard to be consistent but your right it is the only way to help your child learn to fall asleep on their own and once they do it is a lot easier on both of you.
my 1 year old wakes up 7-10 times at night what should i do when he wakes up? he needs comfort
I’m sorry you are having this problem! It’s hard to give you a solid answer on this without knowing if he is teething or expecting you to comfort him because he misses you. My son did the same thing and I did get up with him and snuggle the first few times but after the fifth time, I comforted him in his crib and stopped picking him up. He eventually stopped waking up all the time to be held. Not sure if this is your problem though! I would love more information on what is going on so that I can help
I’m struggling hard with my 16-month-old. We have a bit of a routine, but I know I need to be more consistent. Generally we brush teeth, get jammies on and she has a drink of water. Then we cuddle and sometimes rock until she’s asleep. I’ve never been able to get her to go to sleep on her own. She has a strong will and will cry and scream if I put her in the crib, sometimes for hours (I’ve only allowed that twice, and been sitting near her the whole time). She also wakes up multiple times a night wanting to be touching me and crawls from her crib (against our bed with the rail off) into our bed. I’m getting desperate, any advice is welcome! Our second baby is due next month and we are trying to transition her into the room next to ours now before baby #2 arrives.
Thanks for reaching out, I am so sorry that you are going through this. My advice is to keep her awake a little later so that she is tired and ready for bed then don’t rock her or pat her back but let her know you are there. I know you said you tried this and she screamed, it may work if you stay for a minute and then leave the room for 2 minutes, check on her and leave for five minutes and slowly stretch the time in between reassuring her that you are there. The other thing is that you are having another baby and she may be feeling some anxiety over it and want to cuddle more. I have an article on preparing your toddler for a new baby that may help.
You can start transitioning her to her room by introducing it during nap time so that she gets familiar with it, make sure you have a night light and she feels comfortable before you do all night. It is going to be hard for her the first few weeks but you will get through it.
I hope this helps you, let me know if you need anything.
My daughter is 12 months old and a great sleeper but she has her last bottle right before she goes to sleep. We have a nighttime routine of bath, jammies, read a book, and then turn the lights off and she falls asleep getting rocked and drinking her bottle. I know she can’t drink a bottle forever and were about to wean her off of formula completely. What kind of changes should I make to start altering her to not need a bottle right before going to bed?
Here is an article I wrote on how to wean your toddler off the bottle hopefully this will help answer your question. It is a process and doesn’t happen overnight. I would suggest feeding her a snack or a cup of milk an hour before bed and if she asks for a bottle give her some water instead. Every child is different so try some things and if they don’t work try something else. You could introduce a sippy cup during the day and slowly integrate it into bedtime with water if you like. Let me know how it goes!
Really struggling and looking for any guidance. My daughter has been a great sleeper until a few short weeks after her 1st birthday. We do know she’s teething but we’re going on 2 weeks of struggling at bedtime. We’ve always been able feed her a bottle with dim lights and a sound machine before bed. Now she doesn’t want to sit for that bottle and tries to get down. She will drink the bottle if we go back down to the living room. Now when you try to put her in her crib for bedtime she just screams and throws her pacifier out of the crib. And that sets her off even more. We’ve tried staying in the room or coming in and out and she will scream for hours. It’s turned into us doing anything we can just to get some sleep whether that’s rocking her, taking her to sleep on the couch etc. Which I know is awful because we don’t want to start those habits. We dropped down to one nap over a week ago and that hasn’t helped much either. It’s caused my anxiety to get so bad that I’m seeking some help to deal with it.
I am so sorry that you are going through this right now. It sounds like it is sleep regression that typically happens around this age and with teething it can make it harder!
I did the couch thing with my son, it’s better than putting her in your bed as she would want to do that all the time. At least with the couch you can slowly wean her off of that by moving her to bed when she is almost asleep but still a bit awake. It does get better, hang in there!
The only suggestions I have are to try giving her food that makes her sleepy one hour before bed such as bananas, oatmeal, yogurt,milk, cottage cheese,and chamomile tea.
Let me know how it goes, hang in there this will pass it’s just a phase.
I have a 20 month old daughter who sleeps well through the night most of the time when she’s not teething. We have always rocked her to sleep, but now I know I should probably be putting her to sleep on her own. I was confused by this statement in your final thoughts: “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.” So how is this different from the CIO method? I haven’t tried that, but she definitely cries for me if she isn’t in a solid sleep when I put her down. I reassure her that she’s ok, but most nights lately I have had to get up and rock her again for a few and then she’s fine. Thoughts?
I’m sorry it wasn’t clear what I was saying about being strong and not giving in to your child when they cry. I don’t like the CIO method at all. What I meant was when you lay them down and they cry right away let them cry for a minute and if they aren’t calming down go back and reassure them. If your baby thinks they can cry and you will immediately pick them up they will do it all the time. By giving them a minute it tells them that you are set on them calming down and going to sleep. Eventually, your child will start to soothe themselves. I hope that helps. My 8 month old does the same thing and it is okay to go back and soothe them.
Hi,I have a 13 year old son and I do have a routine. The problem is that after spending 3 nights at hospital when he was 10 month,he became dependent to breast feeding,for falling asleep and it keeps getting worse till now.before that he only woke up once at 3 am and now he wakes up every 2 hours…I’m exhausted…
I am so sorry that you are going through this! That makes it difficult to get them to sleep all night after having a different routine for a few nights, what I suggest you can try is to start weaning for night feedings.
You can try giving water or breast milk in a bottle to do this and slowly cut down the times he feeds at night. It’s just a matter of breaking the habit and starting a new routine again, hopefully, this helps.
Let me know if you need more help