24 Month Old Sleep Schedule Tips
From the moment the bright pink lines, thumbs up, or “yes” appear on the stick your very shaky hand is holding, parenthood becomes the wildest, most unpredictable yet wonderfully gratifying experience you will ever be lucky enough to be a part of.
After a long, strenuous pregnancy ending in the doctor placing an adorably helpless little being in your nervous arms, it can feel like nothing can come between you and this most amazing miracle you had a hand in creating. In love, you float out of the hospital, bask in the sweet smell of a newborn babe, and embrace the fact that life couldn’t possibly get any better. Fast forward two years down the road and a 24 month old sleep schedule seems to be the only thing keeping you from losing your baby-loving mind.
Right around the time when the word “no” has emerged as the most dominant and overly used word in their small vocabulary, it can become increasingly difficult to put your child down for the night. With the right tips and tricks to follow, it doesn’t have to be that difficult. Your nights can be yours again.
Although it’s impossible to control all the different types of behaviors that emerge from your independent-minded toddler, it is indeed possible to set the scene for a beautifully quiet nights’ sleep – one in which parents and baby alike can both enjoy and snooze peacefully. Here’s our list of the top 6 things you can do to make sure your 24 month old sleep schedule guarantees your home becomes a place of rest and relaxation all led by a serenely sleeping child.
1. Create a Routine
Similar to adults, a small child operates better when a routine is set in place. The beauty of creating a routine is that it’s totally customizable to the demands of your schedule, your child’s needs, your desired outcome, and what you are willing to do as a parent to get the job done. Although in most other cases your child dictates the order of events, creating a 24 month old sleep schedule based on a routine is completely in your hands.
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A routine includes the steps leading up to bedtime, the bedtime itself, and can also include how the child awakes in the morning. Whether your routine includes story time, play time, or quiet time, the idea is to find what works for both baby and parent. Ideally the routine winds down your baby but also creates the countdown to bed time so the child knows it’s time to turn in. Over time and once the routine is established, they will become accustomed to the sequence of events and can essentially put themselves to bed. This, in turn, makes the 24 month old sleep schedule that much easier to manage as it operates on autopilot.
2. Use Bath Time Essentials
There are two types of toddlers – the kind that loves bath time and the kind that absolutely hates it. No need to worry though, both can be used to your advantage as you work towards your 24 month old sleep schedule successfully.
For the children that enjoy the water, a bath can be a great way to start your nighttime practices. Incorporating toys, songs, and maybe even a learning opportunity can wear the child down and increase their incoming sleepy state. In between bubbles, the child can enjoy water toys, fun conversation with mom and/or dad, or even get introduced to letters and numbers with washable, bath time paint. The possibilities are endless as the 24 month old sleep schedule becomes easier to manage.
If water presents a challenge, parents can incorporate ways to soothe the child so a transition from the bath to the bed can be seamless. Lavender is often found in many baby soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and body lotions. The scent and properties of lavender have a calming effect so it is great for relaxing a wiggly, squirmy child. Baby comes out clean and prepped for bed.
3. Set the Mood with the Right Lighting
As human beings, our activities are often dictated by the sun. We tend to slow our pace when darkness falls. Our body’s receive ques from light on when to rest and when to wake. A 24 month old sleep schedule can be formulated around this same biological concept and with the help of today’s latest gadgets.
Before putting your child down to sleep, it is important to begin to dim the lights around your home. If not all the lights, then at least the lights near your child’s room or space used for sleeping. After bath time, dinner, or story time, lighting in your home should be turned down so it can signal the sleepy time ques in your baby’s brain. Soft lighting also makes it easier for baby to wind down gradually rather than fighting against the clock with confusing bright lights.
Nighttime isn’t the only place where mood lighting can help with a 24 month old sleep schedule. While many toddlers spring out of bed in the morning, there are devices available today that can signal to a child when it’s time to get up. Soft lighting slowly brightens until fully lit which then shows the child they are now able to run to your bed and jump on you. These gadgets are available as traditional lamps or even fun characters that appeal to young children.
4. Make Sure They are Comfy
Feeling safe and secure is important for a child to be able to sleep soundly. Security often times comes in the form of an object that can include anything from a warm blanket, cute teddy bear, or even an old t-shirt. Whether it is providing warmth, soothing sounds, or it’s simply something fun to sleep with, the object your child decides to cuddle with at night can be the determining factor between a successful 24 month old sleep schedule and one that isn’t.
Other ways you can ensure their comfort include dressing their bed with soft, breathable fabrics and sheets that are warm enough to keep out the cold but cool enough to provide ventilation, controlling the temperature in the home so that it allows baby to sleep comfortably, and providing them with enough wiggle room to toss and turn like most toddlers are notorious for doing.
Another factor that plays into their comfort is whether or not they fear “the monster under the bed.” While as adults we know there’s no monster, children often invent such creatures in the closet, under the bed, or outside the window as their fear of sleeping alone takes over their imagination. Here you can get creative and supply them with “monster spray,” a protective stuffy, or even a magic word – anything to lull them to sleep.
5. Restrict Food and Drink Intake
There are many reasons why limiting your child’s food and drink intake near their bedtime can be beneficial. From the most obvious being accidents in bed, others range from avoiding being too full to sleep, getting an upset stomach, or even giving them too much energy instead of eye lids shut. By limiting what and when they eat, you can avoid any sort of food or drink related incidents that can turn a regular bedtime into a clean-up time and ultimately throw off your entire 24 month old sleep schedule in one night. Ranging from one hour to several hours before bed, gauging your child’s energy, digestive capacity, and sleepiness can determine how soon or late you should make their last meal and drink.
6. Did Your Child Get Enough Food and Drink for the Night?
One of the oldest tricks in the book is when your child decides they need a snack, a cup of water, a glass of milk, and a four-course meal right at bedtime. This is usually just a ploy to get in some precious extra minutes with their eyes open before the inevitable bedtime. Even though it’s usually a clever trick, there may be times when your child may not be able to sleep on an empty stomach.
As your child grows, their nutritional needs shift and increase – sometimes over night! A well balanced, hearty, and satisfying meal can help fuel a 24 month old sleep schedule while creating better and deeper sleep than if they head to bed with a tummy that’s not completely full. Monitoring their dinner can help you make sure they are getting enough food in to keep them satiated throughout the night and help avoid a hungry break in their slumber.
Conclusion – It’s Possible
From birth through to the “terrible two’s,” it can be difficult to establish a solid 24 month old sleep schedule for your child. From the food they eat, to the full force of their vividly whimsical imagination, many factors affect how, when, and where your child sleeps. It’s no easy task but if the above tips are followed closely, you can ensure a restful night for not only your child, but for your entire household.