Bedtime problem can cause huge frustration for parents with toddlers. Toddlers here I mean from the ages between 1 and 3 years old. 

What are the top 3 causes to bedtime problems?

  1. Unrealistic bedtime – parent wants the child to fall asleep at a certain time but it’s probably too early because nap was taken too late during the day. An appropriate bedtime varies from one toddler to another. It depends on what time the child wakes up for the day, their activity level, whether or not they are still taking naps and if they have parents who come home from work late. In general, 8-9.30pm is the norm in our culture. Setting limit here is to change your expectation when bedtime should be.
  2. Naps – The younger your toddler is in the age range, the more likely they need a nap ranging from 1.5-2 hours. But if you have a toddler who’s on the older range at 3yo, some may still need a nap at most 1 hour and some completely drop the naps altogether. By capping the nap to at least 5.5-6 hours towards bedtime will help your toddler to fall asleep between 15-25 minutes. Setting limits to nap time.
  3. The child has repressed feelings – it’s quite common for children to need to cry before they can relax and go to sleep. Some children find a pretext for crying like I want this particular book, hyperactive in the evening, stalling tactics such as one more milk, water, toilet, kiss or hug. If you see that your child is struggling to sleep due to repressed feelings and would cry without any explanation or cause, then the limit setting will be, “No sweetie, you may not have another sip of water, you have already taken some sips a few minutes ago.” and then allow the crying to take its course. This bedtime crying allows children to release accumulated tensions before falling asleep. Children who are allowed to cry freely enough with a caring adult present fall asleep more quickly and sleep better at night.

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