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4 Common toddler sleep problems and how to solve them

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“Some disruptions, such as protesting a nap or crying when you leave the room, are related to development,” says Nanci Yuan, M.D

All parents know what it’s like: it’s late at night, and finally the baby is all tucked in and in deep slumber. But it doesn’t last long. The baby wakes up and starts wailing for attention. You pick them up and try to put them back to sleep, only the don’t.

It can be frustrating for parents to see their toddler struggle with sleep despite the best efforts, but this usually means something.

“Some disruptions, such as protesting a nap or crying when you leave the room, are related to development,” says Nanci Yuan, M.D., medical director for the Sleep Center at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, in Menlo Park, California, “while others may be the result of a change in routine.”

So how do you solve toddlers’ common sleeping problems? Parents offer these four tips to the most common sleep problem for toddlers:

1. She refuses to nap

Babies do need to sleep, and lots of it. Typically, it is ideal for our toddlers to have a couple of naps throughout the day.  However, as they grow older, the amount of time spent in bed is reduced.

Once they start resisting naps, it is usually a sign that their daily naps can now be reduced to just one.

To minimize your tot’s struggles, Parents advisor Dr. Judith Owens advises a consistent presleep routine. “The timing and order of meals and activities helps anchor your child’s circadian clock,” Dr. Owens said.

Say your toddler is having trouble napping earlier in the day. What you can do instead is schedule it later.

Ages + Stages Toddler Toddler Sleep