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Sleep, Nutrition and Activity Go Hand in Hand

If you’re trying to get your child into a routine, and at some point, you’ll have to tackle it, here are some tips for you. From my experience of more than a decade, I can say that SLEEP, NUTRITION, AND ACTIVITY go hand-in-hand in establishing a good and healthy routine for your toddler.

Baby sleep can be challenging but toddler sleep, oh boy! that can feel like an impossible task. Here are 7 key tips and tricks to get your toddler into a routine:

1. ROUTINE FOR MY CHILD- Some mums might think that putting their little one in a routine is hard. Even the term “routine” can sound a bit daunting to them. My suggestion is to first change your own mindset. First, you need to be convinced that you want to set a routine. Routines not only give structure to your child’s day but also give time for yourself and time for the rest of the family.

2. TO AVOID WAKING FROM HUNGER – Apart from three main meals a day, make sure your child also gets small healthy snacks in between his three meals. A bedtime healthy snack shouldn’t have any sugar. Any food that hampers your child’s sleep should not be given before bedtime. They won’t get up in the middle of the night if their stomachs are full with healthy, well-balanced meals. A bottle of milk is also a good go-to for that.

3. OPTIMIZE YOUR TODDLER’S SCHEDULE- Take a good look at your toddler’s daytime nap schedule. Are naps too long? Are they ending too late in the day? Remember, too many naps can result in less sleep at night. Keep a check on what time does your baby finally sleep. In my experience 8 pm- to 11 pm is a toddler’s deepest sleep. So try to tweak the little one’s daytime nap so he’s in bed and asleep by 8 pm.

4. INTRODUCE WIND DOWN BEDTIME ROUTINE- Wind-down is a process of slowing down, an ending of an active day. The routine that you create for your child will provide comfort and security and ensure better sleep for your child. It also gives you time to relax in the evening.

5. GIVE YOUR WIND DOWN ROUTINE A DEFINITIVE END- Toddlers are masters of bedtime stalling. So be sure that your routine has a strong end that clearly signals to your toddler that it is definitely time to lie down and sleep. That can be a phrase, a song, a prayer, whatever works. If you do this consistently, it’s possible for you to cut down, if not completely cut out, the stall tactics that your toddler tends to employ.

6. BE CALM BECAUSE YOUR TODDLER MAY NOT BE – When you introduce a new routine, be ready for big-time protests. But it’s very important to remain firm, calm and cool at all times. When parents panic, children pick on it. The more relaxed your approach is, the easier you’ll connect with your child.

7. BE ON THE SAME PAGE- Whatever your strategy may be, keep your husband, your other children, your caregivers in the loop. It’s very important that everyone is on the same page and they all want the same thing, otherwise, the toddler wins the bedtime battle.

8. BEING CONSISTENT- All the above points are important but staying consistent is vital. Stay firm in enforcing your sleep time schedules. It will pay off soon enough. Keep at it!

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Dr. Veena Ganju Malla

Consultant - Obstetrics and Gynecology

Panchsheel Park