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How to Help Your 1-3 Year Old Sleep Better!

You may have heard that “when children grow up, they will naturally fall asleep”, but this is often not the case. Children after one year old may still have various sleep problems. Some sleep problems are left over from the infant stage, while others are determined by the growth and development characteristics of 1-3 years old. Children aged 1-3 may have problems such as increased night waking and unwillingness to sleep at night due to separation anxiety, fear of the dark, nightmares and other reasons.

We have talked before
How does a 0-3 month old baby sleep?
How does a 3-6 month old baby sleep?
How do babies sleep between 6 and 12 months old?
Therefore, this article will continue to talk about how babies aged 1-3 years old sleep.

Every child has their own unique sleep needs, some sleep more and some sleep less. Generally speaking, children aged 1-3 years old need 12-14 hours of sleep a day, with 1-2 naps during the day.

Babies after one year old have the ability to meet their nutritional needs through normal family meals during the day. Therefore, healthy babies after one year old do not need any form of night milk or night food to supplement their nutritional intake. If a child after one year old wakes up at night habitually, we should look for the reason from the child’s feeding and raising habits. We no longer think that the baby wakes up at night because of hunger, and we do not recommend habitual night feeding.

By about age 2, children may only need one nap a day, and the length of the nap varies from person to person. For young children, it is not recommended to sleep for too long, such as sleeping for more than 2-3 hours at a time during the day; it is also not recommended to take a nap too late or wake up very late, because these operations may affect the child’s sleep time at night, thereby affecting the child’s ability to fall asleep at night. Affect the overall work and rest schedule.

After a certain age, some children may resist naps or may no longer want to nap during the day at all. In this case, we need to roughly infer based on the child’s emotional and mental state whether the child really does not need to take a nap during the day, or whether the child is resisting subjectively, but is actually very sleepy and tired and needs to rest.

Generally speaking, if the child does not take a nap, but in the evening or dusk, he is still in a good mood or in good spirits, falls asleep smoothly at night, and does not appear irritable or overtired, it means that the child is unwilling to take a nap, so he may not need to take a nap. Taking a nap can give your baby some quiet rest time.

As children grow older, they will show strong subjective will and richer imagination. They may appear particularly clingy on weekdays, and may show strong emotions if they are separated from their mother or people close to them. All these growth and development characteristics can lead to some characteristic sleep problems in this age group, such as unwillingness to fall asleep at night, fear of the dark, waking up crying at night, or waking up crying at night due to various dreams, etc.

Although each baby’s sleep needs, characteristics and difficulties will be different, children’s ideal sleep will have one thing in common, which is a regular schedule to ensure adequate rest, which is also the core of ideal sleep for children aged 1-3 years old.

What should you do to help your 1-3 year old child sleep better?

First, try to achieve that your child goes to bed and wakes up at about the same time every day. Naps during the day should be arranged according to the needs of the child. Do not deliberately interfere. Just be careful to avoid getting up too late from a nap or taking a nap that is too short. Because not getting enough rest during the nap may cause the child to be overtired, and waking up too late from the nap may cause the child to be energetic throughout the evening and reluctant to fall asleep. Both situations will ultimately affect the child’s night sleep.

The second is the bedtime routine that we have always emphasized. The bedtime program emphasizes a peaceful, quiet, and comfortable atmosphere. In addition to the common steps such as taking a bath and brushing teeth before bed, others include listening to music and reading bedtime stories. The activities in the bedtime program can be based on the preferences of children and parents. Decide.

Generally, setting aside 30 minutes for the bedtime routine is enough, but some children may have requests such as reading two storybooks, or even three storybooks, and we think it can be achieved, so we can set aside a little more time for the bedtime routine. A longer time, such as 45 minutes, is not a bad idea.

Of course, if the child’s demands during the bedtime procedure are unreasonable and cannot be met one by one, then we must have a clear bottom line and boundary. For example, I find that every time I read a story book or sing a song, my child wants another one after reading one, and another one after singing one. If there are signs of this, try to make an appointment in advance from the beginning to give your child a psychological buffer. For example, before reading, give the children a choice of 5 books, let the children pick 2 of them, and then clearly tell the children that we will read these two books at night, and after reading, we will go to bed. The process of making appointments in advance and letting children choose on their own may help reduce some of the bedtime “struggles.”

Finally, make sure your sleeping environment is comfortable, such as not too cold or too hot. Another thing that needs to be reminded here is that we try to let our children understand as early as possible that the bed and bedroom are places for sleeping, not places for playing and games. When the child understands this, every time he comes to the bedroom, he will know that it is time to go to sleep.

In addition to the above things we should do for our children, there are some things we should pay attention to avoid.

For example, be careful not to habitually put your child to sleep in your arms. Try to let the child fall asleep in his or her own crib when he or she is sleepy but not yet asleep. This way of falling asleep can also help the child slowly learn to wake up by himself at night instead of crying at night. Find your mother to continue to hug and comfort you.

In addition, avoid watching TV or any other electronic screens before going to bed, so as not to overexcite your children and affect their ability to fall asleep. When telling bedtime stories, be careful to avoid overly exciting or thrilling stories. Because children’s imaginations are getting richer and richer, overly exciting stories may cause children to reappear in their dreams, or even wake them up.

For children aged 1-3 years old, safety awareness cannot be relaxed for a moment.

For example, if a child likes to climb, we should be alert to the risk of falling when climbing over the crib; in addition, the child’s bed should be kept away from curtain ropes, windows and other places with potential safety hazards. We must maintain these safety awareness at all times.

There are other rules for the sleep of children aged 1-3 years old, including paying attention to the child’s fatigue signals or sleep signals, actively responding to the child’s needs, and providing satisfaction in a principled and bottom-line manner. In fact, it is the same as for children under one year old. I won’t go into details one by one.