Healthwise, there is nothing beneficial regarding your toddler’s problematic sleep patterns. Experts say that lack of sufficient sleep affects concentration and focus, which implies that your child often has a shorter attention span. The trickle effect of poor sleep habits is that your child may be overstimulated and restless. And the more agitated they become, the less sleep they get, which can hurt overall health.
It can also be difficult for you to determine if your child is sleep-deprived, for sure. But you can still calculate the number of hours they get to sleep versus the recommended average toddler, which should be about 13 hours of quality sleep. Is your child a much older toddler, say, three to four years old? Then 12 hours, even without the usual daytime nap, is sufficient. The most important thing is to investigate why they can never sleep well and look for immediate solutions.
Typical Signs of a Sleep-Deprived Toddler
Most parents find it challenging to know if their child is sleep deprived. Unlike an adult, a child may never outrightly complain of fatigue due to lack of sleep. Instead, they might even be more active than ever. Again, instead of the usual lethargy displayed by adults, your child might be jumpy and fidgety. This makes you assume they do not require sleep. The cycle can go on until your child faces a severe health issue associated with sleep deprivation.
Be on the Lookout for These Signs, Too
Some toddlers may be overly irritable with a bad mood and perhaps throwing fits here and there. The most evident, though, is if they can neither get to sleep correctly at night nor during the daytime. Does your baby sleep outside the regular sleep hours, say late in the morning? It could be an indication that they are not getting sufficient sleep during the night. They could also choose to sleep anywhere apart from their crib or bed, which implies they are overwhelmed, needing more slumber. Lastly, see if their daytime performance is slower than usual and they have a short attention span.
Why Your Toddler Could Be Sleeping Very Little
Sleep issues are usually unique to each child. But some of the common reasons for toddler sleep interruption include if you have recently relocated houses. Or maybe they also have a new sibling and are trying to reconcile with unique circumstances. Have you changed their sleep routines in any way? Perhaps they are watching more cartoons for extended times, which means they cannot get to bed at the exact time since they were little.
Meanwhile, health issues can also interfere with your child’s sleep. Think of a stuffy nose or loose milk teeth. Child specialists also state that any growth spurt can be why your child is unable to sleep right. Anything is possible now, and it would be good to check every cause to help them sleep better.
How You Can Improve Your Child’s Sleep Patterns
Several easy ways can help your child achieve better and healthy sleep. For example, create a bedtime sleep routine for your toddler from which you must never deviate. Specific times should be for sleeping and waking up every day irrespective of whether it’s a weekday or weekend. Sometimes your child may be unable to sleep due to discomfort. Put them to sleep in a comfortable crib, after a warm bath and a bedtime story. Also, check the temperatures in their room, not too cold and not too warm, just average.
Then, avoid anything that over stimulates your child right before bedtime. These include drinks that may make them want to go to the toilet. Caffeine is also not good for your young child in the hours preceding sleep. At that point, shelve those TV programs and noisy games, a few hours to your child’s bedtime. Experts also advise that you should never allow your child to fall asleep in your arms. Instead, take them to bed as they become drowsy.
Finally, what if you have tried all of the above, and your child still sleeps very little? A good option would be to talk to your child specialist. They can run tests and see any lingering medical issue affecting your toddler’s sleep quality.