Turn off the devices, or shield from blue light
Toddler sleep training can be really tough if their brains are “tricked” into thinking it’s daytime, which is exactly what the blue light emitting from your television or device will tell your brain. Stimulation from unwanted blue light will reduce the body’s ability to “shut down” or calm down before bedtime, something you absolutely need before you attempt our gentle techniques with toddler sleep training. To help them sleep all night long and keep the tablet or TV show, try using these True Dark blue light glasses that reduce 40% of blue light exposure when worn, so that you won’t have any trouble calming your toddler down for bedtime after watching their favorite Disney show or playing their games on the tablet. True Dark glasses are great for children 2-9 years old, and come in fun prints your toddler will love!
Make sure they get regular exercise!
When you are sleep training a toddler, the most foolproof technique is to get them moving! During the summer months, when your child is outside playing more, don’t them seem to fall asleep faster at bedtime as well? During the cold months, it’s easy to put on a good movie and snuggle, but without expending some of that energy, it can be difficult for your child to fall asleep quickly at bedtime, and sleep all night in their own rooms.
Avoid meals and caffeine
If you are sleep training a toddler but they are wired off of heavy carbs or caffeine within 5 hours of bedtime, you may have some trouble getting them to sleep at bedtime. Snacks given even one hour prior to bedtime can cause digestion issues, and caffeine that could be hidden in sodas, teas (or chocolate even!). I like to “close down” the kitchen about 1-2 hours before the bedtime routine begins.
Don’t use cry it out
Don’t use cry it out when you are toddler sleep training, they are WAY too old for this, and it could weaken the bond you’ve worked on for years with them. Instead, after your bedtime routine, try sitting beside your child or checking on him or her every five minutes until they are asleep while toddler sleep training, which is a great gentle technique to use to help them sleep all night long. Make sure you’re back in five minutes or less at first, and make up boring excuses to leave each time briefly- ideally, your toddler will be asleep within three checks!
Keep them in the loop
Let them know what’s coming! When you begin toddler sleep training, you’ll want to constantly remind them of what step is coming next when you are introducing a new routine with new expectations. Let them know that after we read the book, you’ll rub their back for one song, and then leave the room for example. After the book is read, have them lay down and explain again that you’ll rub their back for one minute, and then you will leave the room. You can also do this at nighttime when they wake you up, after you walk them back to their room. Sometimes toddlers just need some reassurance at night!
Introduce The Prize Basket: This is probably the best gentle toddler sleep training technique in my arsenal for obvious reasons: it’s fun! When and if your toddler follows the new sleep routines and expectations, they can choose a prize out of a basket, box, or hat every morning for a job well done. Have your toddler pick out the toys or candy pieces at the store and fill the basket with you, and yep, remind them of this basket and what it means every single night at bedtime.