Removing Bedtime Anxiety in toddlers
Looking for ways to help remove anxiety around bedtime especially for toddlers and older children. This is a great read for all, including those with younger bubs to keep in mind.
Take the Pressure Off
1. Take the pressure off, the more you build bedtime up sometimes the worse it becomes. I tend to encourage clients not to get into lengthy conversations about bedtime but rather use a positive re assuring phrase, then move onto another topic. For some little ones a lot of talk around it helps but for many it only feeds into their bedtime anxiety and the build up prior to bed.
Remove Sleeptime Emotions
2. Remove added emotion around sleep outcomes. I once came across a book that spoke about how happy Mum would be, we would be so proud etc. The book was designed to encourage the toddler to stay in his bed and sleep well but in my opinion it attaches far too much pressure to a toddler already anxious about sleep and bedtime. Does that then mean when they don’t sleep well it’s their fault the family isn’t happy?
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Choose Your Words Carefully
3. Be aware that what you say to others in front of your toddler, about their sleep doesn’t fall on deaf ears. After a day of hearing about how poorly your child sleeps, not only has this then played on your child's mind all day, it’s also added more pressure to the situation and in your little ones mind re-enforced the fact they are not good at sleeping thus increasing their anxiety around bedtime.
Get Professional Help
4. Get professional help for sleep. The number of children, toddlers and babies I have worked with who have added anxiety around bedtime is substantial but they all respond so incredibly well to professional help. Looking at their sleep from a different angle, not only from the moment their head hits the pillow, sets us up for completely different outcomes.
Children, babies and toddlers don’t want to be poor sleepers, they don’t have FOMO, it’s not “just them”, it’s not genetic. They have learned behaviours around sleep that have played a role in poor outcomes and this may all play a part in attributing to anxiousness and trouble at bedtime. Changing this in a consistent, supportive and effective way changes everything.
5. Consistency is so important! Make sure you have a great plan and stick to it. Attempts and fails of new ideas only bring more uncertainty to little ones. This is only going to exacerbate anxiety around bedtimes. Children thrive on routine, certainty and familiarity. Trying something new each bedtime isn’t going to help the cause. Keep bedtime really positive, be confident in your approach. It can be a really trying time but there are solutions.
If you would like to discuss an appointment with The Gentle Sleep Specialist to assist with overcoming problems with your little one's sleep, contact me here. We can assist with in home appointments locally in Perth, Western Australia and have successfully worked with thousands of families via phone consults. You can view my packages here.
The Gentle Sleep Specialist xo