Isn’t getting your toddler to sleep through the night the holy grail of parenting? Getting baby or bigger kid to sleep seems to be the greatest parent struggle to date.
Wishing your kid would sleep through the night?
I’m sorry to disappoint… but this mama definitely does not have all the answers. (Ahem, see this article on our toddler sleep problems.)
Because, well, every baby, toddler, and child is unique. And your situation is, of course, different from my situation.
But there is still value in learning from one another, don’t you think? Maybe your situation is different from mine, but it’s pretty similar to this other mama. And when it comes to getting babies to sleep and toddlers sleeping through the night, we’ll try just about anything, amIright?!
So I gathered up some awesome mom friends who each have first-hand experience with bedtime battles and getting kids to sleep through the night – and are happy to share what worked for them!
Now, let’s see what tips and advice they have to get your kids to sleep & sleep through the night…
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First, a quick disclaimer: This kids sleep advice should not take the place of baby and child sleep safety guidelines and guidance from your child’s pediatrician. See the American Academy of Pediatrics Sleep Guidelines and the CDC’s Safe Sleep for Babies recommendations for more information.
How do you manage bedtime & help your child sleep through the night?
Hit PLAY on the video to see the top sleep tips first!
1. Consistency is Key
“If my boys go to bed at the same time every night they sleep better.” Malia of Playdough to Plato
2. Use a Holistic Approach
“A healthy diet, a good amount of daytime sleep, a consistent daytime and bedtime routine, lots of love and cuddles, and positive sleep associations…” Katherine of Creative Playhouse
3. Get in a Routine
“I loved the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. It was a great resource with my son, but not a fix it book. Having a consistent sleep/nap routine has been great for us. My preschooler still isn’t a great sleeper, but isn’t as terrible as he used to be.” Kristina of Toddler Approved
4. Make Sure Expectations are Age-Appropriate
“Let them get older…(OK, that’s not too helpful, lol)” Alissa of Bounceback Parenting
5. Have a Pre-Bed Ritual
“A proper wind-down routine (bath, story, singing, prayer) helps us.” Anna of The Imagination Tree
6. Try an Earlier Bedtime
“If bedtime is a challenge, and your child resists and stays awake in their room until all hours, try putting them to bed an hour or so earlier than you normally would. Chances are, they’ve caught a second wind, and are re-energized, but if you put them to bed earlier when they’re actually tired and ready for it, you may be surprised at how smoothly bedtime goes” Jackie of Happy Hooligans
7. Encourage More Sleep During the Day
“I find that if my son gets plenty of sleep during the day he sleeps well at night.” Adele of Playful Learners
8. Or Cut Back on Naps
“My two oldest didn’t sleep through the night until I cut out their naps during the day. The pediatrician shook her head at me when I told her at Priscilla’s 3-year visit she didn’t take naps. But Priscilla goes to bed at 7 pm without any fits, has no trouble with sleep through the night, and gets up at 7 am happy. I must be doing something right!” Krissy of B-Inspired Mama
9. Try a Reward Chart
“I recently introduced the reward chart (which you can see here) to my 2.5-year-old who was asking for water 2 to 4 times per night. She has water by her bed but wanted us to give it to her. I told her we are always there for her if she is scared or needs us, but water she needs to get herself. She now finally sleeps through! Makes such a difference to us all!” Maggie of Red Ted Art
10. Watch for Signs of Tiredness
“Good sleep habits start young. Don’t leave babies to cry, but instead set the stage for good sleep. Watch carefully for sleep cues and wind a tired baby down immediately.” Allison of Learn Play Imagine
11. Use “Nighttime Indicators”
“It is important to keep a routine and special ‘nighttime’ indicators. Bath, drink, teeth, prayers, bed. If we go off sometimes he has a hard time falling asleep. The indicators for him are a giraffe that makes a bubbling noise, teddy, and we always darken the house right before he goes to bed.” Gina of Connecting Family & Seoul
12. Make Sure Their Tummy’s Full
“My kids’ bedtime routine has always included a healthy snack and cup of milk. At least if they do have trouble getting to sleep or don’t sleep through the night, I know it won’t be because they are hungry.” Krissy of B-Inspired Mama
13. Try White Noise
“Bedtime routines and white noise have been our saving grace and by 5 months he was finally sleeping through the night. There are free apps out there for white noise. We just bought an inexpensive white noise machine for his room.” Jennifer of Plain Vanilla Mom
14. Use a Fun Night Light
“JDaniel doesn’t like to go to sleep. We got him a night light that shines the solar system up on the ceiling. He likes looking up at the planets from his bed now.” Deirdre of JDaniel4’s Mom
15. Try (Safe) Co-Sleeping
“There is no one strategy that works for every child. I was anti-co-sleeping until I had my daughter. She has a high need for physical touch at night, and it was the only way to get her and keep her asleep. Though, if you are co-sleeping make sure you use safe practices.” Rebekah of Finding the Golden Gleam
16. Turn off Tech
“No screen time post-bath. Dinner, bath, bed. Routine is key.” Marnie of Carrots are Orange
17. Light a Bedtime Candle
“When Master D is washed and our teeth are brushed I say ‘let’s go light your bedtime candle’ and so far (after a few months) he excitedly goes to bed! And while I light his candle he gets into his pj’s. Before blowing out his candle I ask if he would like to tell me one thing. Sometimes he tells me he loves me or about his day or toys. Then he blows his candle out and settles down for the night.” Kelly of Happy Whimsical Hearts
18. Try Quiet Play or Reading in Bed
“My kids have an early bedtime for their age. But they know they can quietly read books in bed (using a small camping lantern) until they’re tired. I’m happy they are getting some reading in, and they always get tired and fall asleep earlier than they expect. They even know that if they can’t sleep through the night, they can try reading quietly until they’re tired again.” Krissy of B-Inspired Mama
19. Dream Feed
“Dream feed. Feed your baby just before you go to bed. Do your best not to stimulate or wake him, just nurse. Once I started doing that around 7 months my little guys consistently let me sleep through.” Allison of Learn Play Imagine
20. Invest in a Video Monitor
“We use a video monitor. This means when he cries or makes a noise in the night we can look at the screen and see if he is okay. I think this makes us less anxious and we pause for longer before going in to [check on] him. This gives him a longer chance to self-settle without us barging in on him and properly waking him up.” ‘Goblin’s Mama’ of Taming the Goblin
21. Think Outside the Crib
“My biggest advice is to not make them afraid of their cribs. We started with a sleeping mat on the floor. My son would roll around on the mat with me right there beside him until he fell asleep. Once he got comfortable with the sleeping mat, I moved him to the crib. I stayed in the room, folding laundry or reading, occasionally rubbing his back or patting him. Eventually, he would roll around until he went to sleep. Once he learned to go to sleep on his own, when he woke up in the night, he could put himself back to sleep, so I didn’t need to get up. If he couldn’t put himself back to sleep, I knew there was a problem.” Kristin of Sense of Wonder
22. Avoid the “Bad Words”
“I tell my son he can ‘read’ to himself in bed. That way, I’m not saying he has to ‘go to sleep.’ I let him ‘read’ with the light on for a while, then turn it off, and he usually falls asleep pretty soon after that. I also use this technique some days at nap time, since the word ‘nap’ can lead to resistance.” Jennifer of The Good Long Road
23. Keep Lights Low & Voices Calm
“When one of my kids can’t sleep through the night and wakes up, I try to remain calm, keep my voice quiet, and keep lights off or low. I don’t want to have them become stimulated and even more awake, which would just make my job of getting them back to bed more difficult.” Krissy of B-Inspired Mama
24. Don’t Watch the Clock
“Don’t look at the clock when they wake up or count how often they wake up. It doesn’t change how much they wake up, and you just feel more stressed.” MaryAnne of Mama Smiles
25. Know that Every Child Is Different
“From a twin mummy perspective, I would say recognizing they are individuals and as such probably have different sleep needs and patterns! Once I figured that out we utilized the space we had and gave them separate sleeping areas (forget about the nicely designed twin room!!). This way I wasn’t running in as soon as one made a sound in case they woke the other.” Jodie of Mummy Musings and Mayhem
26. Ride Out the Stage
“Everything is a stage. The baby that wakes up all night may turn into a wonderful sleeper once older (mine did).” Bethany of No Twiddle Twaddle
27. Don’t Blame Yourself
“I had a sleep expert out to the house and she went over everything we were doing and told me my kids just weren’t sleepers…” MaryAnne of Mama Smiles
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More Helpful Parenting Tips:
- 10 Better Baby Sleep Tips You Need Tonight!
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- How to Discipline & Manage Behavior [From the Mouths of Moms]
- Advice for a New Mother-To-Be [From the Mouths of Moms]