Tips for effective sleep-management of your toddler.
Night waking is common among young children. Children wake up either out of habit, due to nightmares or because of occasional mental disturbances. But parents have to handle night waking in an intelligent manner. They have to understand that night waking has nothing to do with discipline. And there can't be any formula solutions. A parent should neither scold the child for waking up, nor should the parent be overprotective. Consider the following options for effective sleep-management of your child.
Do you wake and touch your child every time he or she murmurs or moves?
Do not disturb the child by touching and coddling too much during sleep. If you touch your child too often, you might disturb the natural sleep rhythm. Let your child surface and drop off as often as she wants. Do not make a big issue out of night waking or sleep duration, whether you sleep in your child's room or not.
Does your child go to sleep on top of the bedclothes and then catch a cold?
Place your child in a sleeping bag or blanket sleeper. Or, you can keep a separate cot blanket to drape over your child and the toys around.
Does your toddler's room get pitch dark on moonless nights?
Install a 15-watt night-light. This will not stop your child from waking, but your child will be able to manage her emotions better.
Does your child use a dummy?
Put two or three dummies beside your child after you go to bed, especially if you sleep separately. Your child might find solace in a dummy in the middle of a night.
Is your child disturbed by outside sounds?
If possible, reallocate the rooms and soundproof them. It's worth the effort, because your child's sound sleep is the key to your hassle-free sleep.
Does your toddler get hungry in the night?
Some toddlers are so tired at bedtime that they cannot eat as much night supper as they require. And they get hunger pangs in the middle of the night. In that case, a chocolate slab, some tangy munchies or an easily digestible fruit should be given. Do not take a moralistic view over this middle-of-the-night snack. All ground rules can be set aside for your child's well being. You can also give your child a glass of milk before bedtime.
Does your toddler get thirsty?
A few parents believe in restricting evening drinks for children. They think it saves them from frequent nappy changes and night waking. But this attitude is cruel to the child, especially in tropical countries like India. A child must be allowed to have as much water as possible until bedtime. But in order to avoid frequent night waking (for the child and the parent), a child must be put into clean leak-proof diapers, which have to be changed immediately in the morning.
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- The Indiaparenting Team