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baby and toddler sleep challenges

7 Common Sleep Challenges for Babies and Toddlers and How To Overcome Them

One of the common challenges faced by many parents is getting their babies and toddlers to sleep. It often leaves you feeling tired and perplexed, and you can’t remember the last time you had a good night’s sleep. Regardless, this is a pretty common issue for children around this age, and there’s a way to fix it.

If your little ones are currently struggling to fall asleep, here’s a guide to common sleep challenges and tips to resolve them. 

Common sleep challenges for babies and toddlers

1. Difficulty falling asleep

Babies and toddlers can have trouble falling asleep due to a variety of factors such as overstimulation, separation anxiety, or inconsistent sleep routines. 

How do I fix it?

  • Create a bedtime routine with soothing activities (e.g. reading a book and singing lullabies) 
  • Make sure your child's sleep environment encourages rest. Dim the lights down and set up a comfortable crib to sleep in. At night, tuck your children into comfortable sleep nests or pajamas to keep them warm.  

2. Waking up at night

Frequent night wakings are common, especially for babies who need to feed or seek comfort. This can be exhausting for parents who long for uninterrupted sleep.

How do I fix it?

  • Gradually reduce nighttime feedings as your baby grows older and requires less nourishment at night.
  • Teach your child self-soothing techniques so they can fall asleep on their own.

baby and toddler sleep challenges guide

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3. Short naps

Many babies and toddlers tend to take short naps. While this is normal, it can disrupt your daily routine and leave you with less downtime.

How do I fix it?

  • Create a consistent nap schedule or environment that helps your child understand it's time to rest.
  • Offer a soothing transitional object (e.g. a pacifier) to help them settle back to sleep if they wake prematurely.

4. Sleep regression

Sleep regression is when a baby that’s been sleeping well starts struggling to fall asleep. It’s often experienced around 4 months, 9 months, and 18 months.  During this time, your baby’s sleep patterns may become erratic, and it can be particularly challenging for both the baby and the parent. 

How do I fix it?

  • Stick to a predictable schedule even during regression periods. Consistency will help your child find some comfort. 
  • Be patient: Sleep regressions are usually temporary and they’ll resolve on their own.

baby and toddler sleep challenges guide

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5. Separation anxiety

Toddlers often experience separation anxiety, making it difficult for them to sleep alone or through the night.

How do I fix it?

Reassure your toddler during bedtime and gradually increase the distance between you and their crib as they become more comfortable with independent sleep.

6. Teething discomfort

Teething can cause discomfort and disrupt sleep for babies and toddlers as their teeth begin to emerge.

How do I fix it?

  • Use teething remedies like teething rings, cold washcloths, or teething gels to ease discomfort.
  • Maintain a soothing bedtime routine to help your child relax and sleep more comfortably.

baby and toddler sleep challenges guide

Image by freepik

7. Night terrors

Night terrors are a frightening occurrence for both children and parents. These episodes can cause sudden nighttime awakenings with extreme distress.

How do I fix it?

  • Ensure a safe sleep environment to prevent injuries during night terrors. Include fitted sheets and breathable blankets in their crib. 
  • Provide comfort and reassurance without trying to wake your child during these episodes, as they are usually temporary.

You got this!

Sleep challenges among children is common, but there’s a way to help your little ones establish a healthy sleep habit. Be patient and with time, these challenges will resolve on their own. Stick to a routine that works best, and you’ll get a good night’s sleep sooner than you think. 


Featured image by freepik

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