This is a collaborative post.
I recently bought my friend Hannah an enamel pin from Milk & Moon that simply states ‘up all night’ Haven’t we all been there? Aren’t some of us still there? Lily has never had sleep near the top of her list of baby priorities and, I guess, what kid does really? Ah, actually don’t answer that — I can’t deal with your smug, refreshed faces…
Anyway, Lily has been sleeping better recently. OK, aside from last night where I was called upon many a time and chucked out of her bed for ‘snoring in her ears’ — apparently!
Personally, I don’t think there’s a ‘one size fits all’ secret solution for getting your toddler to give in and JUST. BLOODY. SLEEP. Life is new, exciting and overwhelming when you’re just 2. It is natural for them to get up, to protest, to make it look like they’ve had a solid 14 hours when they (and you) have only had 2, at the most. I do, however, think there’s a few tips and tricks you can try to help your little one overcome some of their sleep issues.
There’s no right mattress for everyone and the same goes for children. Sleep is so important for kids at this young age — to rest, to process, to grow. Lily knows, thanks to my Mum, that when she goes to sleep she gets ‘bigger, stronger and cleverer’ and this positive approach encourages her to accept sleep as something that she needs.
It’s a good idea to invest in a decent mattress for your tiny one and research suggests that a firmer mattress is optimal for growing bones and keeping your kiddo comfy. As such, many people choose to buy memory foam mattresses for their children. They may sound expensive but you can actually pick them up for under £100 brand new!
Most of us were scared of the dark once upon a time weren’t we? It hasn’t always been this way but, as it stands, Lily has to have her door open and the landing light on at all times together with her lamp, some star-shaped fairy lights and a colour-changing, shaped character light aswell.
It may sound excessive but it’s what makes her comfortable at the moment as she does suffer from infrequent night terrors.
You could help your little one overcome their fear of the dark, or at least take the emphasis away from the problem, by taking them to choose their own character night light or surprising them instead. Alternatives include projectors, slumber buddies and plug-ins.
Organic cotton pyjamas
There’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable in bed and when it comes to feeling cosy, you can’t go wrong with organic cotton. Naturally produced, organic cotton is a popular choice for allergy sufferers and generally considered to be softer on the developing skin of babies and toddlers.
We’re BIG on bedtime stories in this house and I don’t think Lily has gone to sleep without a story since she was a newborn. It’s a good idea to try and pick books that aren’t going to excite your kiddo too much when you’re trying to persuade them to wind down and if you regularly include stories as a key element of your bedtime routine, your little one should start to associate this peaceful storytelling period with bedtime and, the ultimate goal, sleep!
Sleep with Lily has been a series of peaks and troughs. She has never slept through consistently and during one of our most recent periods of ‘team no-sleep’ we introduced a CD to the mix. It did help, quite a bit actually, but I’m now worrying that she’s going to end up relying on the music instead.
Her favourite bedtime music is a series of Paddington Bear stories and songs read by Jim Broadbent and Paul Vaughan. The other downside to music is having to listen to it second-hand through your baby monitor but we just turn ours down low enough that we can still hear Lily but not every word of the stories!
If you’ve managed to hold on to some of your muslin cloths from the baby days, find your favourite (we all had a favourite didn’t we?) and hang it up in your little one’s bedroom, somewhere nice and high where they can’t reach it easily. As an example for you, we hang Lily’s muslin above the big chair by her bookcase where we’ll often sit to read her stories or softly sing her songs in the night as we drift off ourselves.
If she’s suffering from a particularly nasty cold or some congestion, I’ll add a few drops of vapour oil to the cloth to help clear her nose and sinuses. You’ll find this sort of thing in your local pharmacy and brands I’ve used include Snufflebabe and Klearvol which both work really well.
For a daily dose of something soothing, I’ll use lavender, roman chamomile or ylang ylang essential oils instead. Again, you should be able to pick these up fairly easily either in Holland and Barrett or your local health food shop.
I hope these suggestions have given you some new ideas to try to help your toddler get a better night’s sleep. Is that something they struggle with? Do you have any tips of your own to share?