DIY Caramel Apple Treats

It was quite the Summer, but Fall is finally here. The air is changing and the mornings are hinting at crisper things to come. When you’re a kid, that means one thing: fun! Jumping into piles of colored fallen leaves is always a thrill, but nothing beats the sweet, tangy and sticky caramel apples from local festivals. Nothing, that is, except the ones you can make at home!

Fall flavors like caramel apples are a magical treat. They set the tone both for enjoyment today and warm feelings of nostalgia over years to come. Yup, that bite through a layer of gooey caramel into a crisp apple right off of the tree can create memories for a lifetime.

While you can get whole caramel apples at festivals and fairs, with our DIY below, you can make your own delicious caramel apple sticks at home! You can either do this yourself, or if you’re ready to get a bit (or a lot) sticky with your little ones, then they can take part in the creation process too!

If the day outside is beautiful, this is the perfect activity to take outdoors to keep all the stickiness off of the walls, surfaces, floors... pretty much everything you don’t want to be covered in stickiness.

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Ahead of time, choose your toppings and create a tray of options in little dishes.  A muffin tin can serve perfectly as a topping container. They can include everything from chopped peanuts or almonds to mini-marshmallows, a brown sugar and cinnamon mix, mini chocolate chips, or chopped candy bars.  Sprinkles are also an easy favorite.

Before you warm the caramel, set up a table outside with a tablecloth.  A quick trip to the dollar store will send you home with a plastic disposable table cloth that you can either easily wipe down, or throw away after the “event,” depending on the size of the mess left behind. Otherwise, choose a washable table cloth – or old bed sheet – that you don’t mind getting stained.

Back inside, heating up the caramel is next. Store-bought caramel is ideal because it is simple to heat and melt. Just try not to eat too many cubes as you unwrap them from their plastic! You can heat the caramel on the stove top or in the microwave until melted.

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As your last step before heading out to make the caramel apple sticks, make sure to core and slice your apples.  Insert lollipop sticks into the apple slices and they are ready to dip. If you are worried about them browning too quickly, give each one a quick dip into some soda water with citric acid mixed into it (lemon-lime pop or ginger ale both contain citric acid, if you don’t want to mix it yourself).

All you need now is your kids and a pile of napkins.  Hold the apples by the stick and dip each one a couple of times into the caramel. Gently twirl away the excess, and then dip them into the toppings. Set them down carefully on a plate or parchment paper, wait a little while for the caramel to cool and set, and then it’s snack time! Tip: with very little ones, make sure you do all of the dipping in caramel for them. Then, once it has cooled a little, they can add their own toppings!

Some fun combinations that are sure to please include:

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  • Caramel peanut/almond – Sprinkle your caramel apple stick with some chopped nuts!
  • Caramel chocolate – Mini chocolate chips stick to caramel apple sticks even better than the regular-size ones!
  • Caramel apple s’mores –  Sprinkle your caramel apple stick with graham cracker crumbs, chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows!
  • Apple pie – Sprinkle your caramel apple with brown sugar and cinnamon mix.  For a hint of crust, add some graham cracker crumbs too!


Get ready for a favorite treat that your kids will look forward to enjoying every year. In fact, while you have everything set up, why not make a few extras to keep in the fridge to enjoy the next day! 

 

October 11, 2018 by Anastasia Gibson

30 Summer Fun Activities to Keep Your Kids Smiling

Across the country, school is coming to an end for the summer. Some states have already had their last day of school, while others will continue right through until the end of June. Regardless of when that last day of school happens, that leaves parents with that ever-looming question…what are we going to do for the next couple of months?

Summer is a fantastic time of year to have fun with the kids. The weather is great for everything from water play to tasty icy treats. For the first little while, the novelty of the hot temperatures and the schedule-free days can make it seem like the different ways to have fun will never end. Then, quite suddenly, everyone is out of ideas. What do you do?

Little Sleepy Head has you covered! We’ve come up with a fresh, fun, and inspiring list of 30 things the whole family can enjoy together just once or as many times as you want. Click here to download.

Use this list however you’d like to make sure this is the best summer ever! You can turn it into a family challenge and try to complete the entire list. If everything on the list is a bit too ambitious, consider letting every family member choose their favorite to make sure it isn’t missed. Or, you can always edit the document and add your own activities! 

Remember that this list is meant to inspire. You can take it as literally or figuratively as you want! Use it to let your creativity come to life.   

Making ice cream sounds like fun, but you need to save the real stuff for another day?  You can always make play dough ice cream cones and enjoy adding as many scoops as you want in your pretend summertime treats. No drive-in movie theater near your house? Why not watch a favorite on a blanket in the backyard, instead? The ideas and possibilities are nearly endless!

The goal is, after all, to have fun together and make this the best family summer yet!

May 31, 2018 by Anastasia Gibson

Top 5 Lessons to Learn About Traveling with a Toddler

With the warm weather finally here, many families are getting ready to head away on road trips and summer vacations. That said, when you have a toddler, the standard rules of travel can change a little bit. Vacationing with a toddler needs some extra planning and a whole lot of common sense (at a time when you might not be feeling too rational).

To make sure your trip – whether it be a day trip or a road trip halfway across the country – goes well, keep the following lessons in mind. These have been learned by millions of families over the decades. Discover them before having to learn them firsthand, and you’ll be ahead of the game on your trip.

  1.   Simplicity always works best – The fewer the hurdles, steps and complexities, the less chance there is that something will go wrong. While this is true in virtually any situation, it’s especially true when you have a toddler with you. The less you need to stand in lines, wait in lounges, switch flights and wonder where and what you’ll be eating next, the better. There will be a time to head out on last minute, unplanned adventures. The toddler years aren’t necessarily that time. If that means skipping the airport in order to drive there instead, so be it. If that means bringing a massive cooler of sandwiches and snacks instead of finding somewhere to eat along the way, that’s all right, too.
  2.  Unhappiness happens – When you have a toddler, particularly if you have at least two kids, at least one of them will be unhappy at any given point. The toddler, the younger, or the older one will always be uncomfortable, hungry or inexplicably unhappy. This doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. It is a fact of traveling with a toddler. The key is to remain flexible. Bend a little to keep stress levels down and fun levels high. Try to think of fun in terms of being happy instead of being over-the-top excited. That way, there is less of a likelihood of disappointment and more chances for genuine contentment and fun.
  3.   Keep things familiar – It’s true that the whole point of a vacation is to get away and to experience something new. However, there are areas when familiarity can bring kids a lot of comfort. Sleeping in a new bed can be far more comfy with a toddler pillow from home. Long rides in cars, on airplanes or on buses feel more secure with a lovey right beside them. Even familiar scents like a soothing linen spray used at home can help to reduce stress levels and ease unhappiness.
  4.   Don’t expect to see everything on your itinerary – You may be able to see a dozen things every day when you’re traveling on your own, but that will be very different with your toddler. Expect to see less than half what you would if you were traveling alone. Instead, focus on seeing things the entire family will enjoy and spending quality time there. Don’t pressure yourselves to get through one thing so you’ll be able to see the next thing. Enjoy that one thing while you’re there. Make a priority list of the things you absolutely must see while you’re visiting and head there first.
  5.   Don’t expect a relaxing getaway – Think of your vacation as an experience and an adventure, not necessarily a time for relaxing and rejuvenating. If you thought you were going to be able to enjoy some reading, to lie on the beach, or to spend hours in the pool on a giant inflatable lounger with a cocktail in your hand, you’re about to be very surprised.  You’ll have fun. You’ll see new things. You will look forward to your next trip. However, you will also likely get less sleep than you do at home and will be glad to start returning to your usual bedtime routines once you return to your own beds again!  Keep an open mind, don’t set unreasonable expectations, and let yourself enjoy the moments together!
May 24, 2018 by Anastasia Gibson

Tasty, Healthy Bedtime Snacks for Toddlers

Even when your toddler eats all his/her meals and snacks throughout the day, tummies can occasionally grumble at bedtime. While it’s easy to think that it isn’t a good idea to have a snack before bed, it can be equally problematic if you leave a little belly feeling hungry.

Hunger can make it very difficult for a child – or an adult, for that matter – to feel restful.  The discomfort can make bedtime a lengthy and sleepless affair.

The key to snacks at bedtime is to choose something light, adequately satisfying, nutritious and, of course, something your little one actually likes! When you choose a bedtime snack, you need to choose a food and a portion that will ease the hunger pangs without giving your kid a burst of energy.

Keep the following in mind when selecting a snack before you brush your son or daughter’s teeth and start getting ready for bed.

  • Nutrition – Nutrient dense snacks are a great way to help support your child’s nutrition. If your little one is peckish at bedtime, think back over what he or she ate that day. Could your child do with another serving of veggies? Was today a relatively low day when it comes to calcium?

    Use this opportunity to top up your little one’s nutrient balance. Even better, many kids who might refuse to eat healthy foods during the daytime are often more likely to be willing to enjoy them before bed to satisfy their hunger.

    Perfect veggie options can include cucumbers and celery. They’re high in fiber, which makes them filling while being high in water content, which is hydrating. These can both promote better sleep.
  • Soothing foods – Certain foods have calming properties. For instance, whole grain foods often also contain a natural chemical called tryptophan.  That chemical is naturally relaxing.

    Still, this isn’t the same for all carbs. Sugary and processed foods such as cookies, breakfast cereal, and other similar items are low in nutrition and may cause a spike and crash in energy. Instead, consider a piece of whole grain toast with a touch of hummus, natural peanut butter (the sugar-free type), or mashed banana.
  • Calcium-rich snacks – Many foods that are high in calcium not only satisfy hunger very easily but they also make soothing choices for bedtime. A little bit of plain Greek Yogurt or cottage cheese topped with finely chopped banana or used as a dip for some whole grain crackers can make a great snack option for filling little tummies.

When you serve your little one a snack, make sure it’s eaten sitting up at a table, not in bed (to reduce the risk of choking and to promote restfulness once your child is ready to sleep). Keep portions small so they’re big enough to satisfy hunger without being large enough to make your little one feel full.  That full feeling can delay sleep.

 

May 21, 2018 by Anastasia Gibson

Why Does Bedwetting Happen and What Can Parents Do About it?

Bedwetting – also known as nocturnal enuresis – is very common in kids under the age of 10 years. In fact, there are an estimated 5 million children across the United States who wet the bed. Among them, are 20 percent of five-year-olds, 10 percent of 7-year-olds, and even 5 percent of 10-year-olds. Those statistics are from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Still, when it’s your child wetting the bed, the statistics aren’t your main concern. You want to know that your child is healthy and that this won’t be a chronic problem that will continue into later life.

The most common reason that kids will wet the bed is that your child’s body is developing at its own rate and overnight bladder control simply hasn’t caught up yet. It’s nothing to worry about and it’s not something that can be rushed. Still, if you are concerned, it doesn’t hurt to talk to a doctor to make sure there isn’t another underlying cause.

Other reasons can include drinking too much close to bedtime, which can cause too much urine production during the night. That said, it’s important to note that this is only the case if your child is drinking large amounts of fluids right before bed. Restricting fluids will not stop bedwetting from happening if it is caused by another factor such as natural body development.

Children who sleep exceptionally deeply are prone to bedwetting because a full bladder often isn’t enough to wake them up. Again, this is something that typically fades with age, as extremely deep sleepers won’t usually stay that way throughout their entire lives.

Kids can also be at a higher risk of wetting the bed at times when their typical lifestyle or routines are being disrupted. If your little one doesn’t usually wet the bed but suddenly starts, it could be because of stress, being overly tired before bed, feeling disrupted from a large change in life such as starting daycare, school, or having a new sibling, or it could even be an indicator of a minor illness such as a cold.

There are also certain underlying medical conditions that can make bedwetting more common. Urinary tract infections and constipation are the most common and are quite easy to treat. That said, it can also be caused by more serious conditions such as diabetes.  Therefore, if your little one has other symptoms in addition to bedwetting, a checkup at the doctor is a good next step.

No matter what the reason is for your child’s bedwetting, there isn’t anything that can be done to force him or her to stay dry overnight. Most children simply need to grow out of it.  This can take weeks, months, or even years.

The most important thing you can do is to remain calm – even when it means changing the bed in the middle of the night – and make sure your son or daughter does not feel upset by what is happening. This is why the majority of pediatricians won’t even recommend any treatments for bedwetting in children younger than 7 years old – it’s a natural part of growing up.

To try to create as little disruption as possible, consider using washable underwear meant for kids who wet the bed. Training pants can be very helpful for smaller kids, but there are also reusable or disposable types of underwear meant for children who are slightly older, some of which include an absorbent insert that can be washed or thrown away.

A waterproof mattress protector and pillow protector can also be very helpful for keeping nighttime bedding changes as straightforward as possible.

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When all you need to do is change the sheets, it’s a lot easier than trying to clean a wet mattress or damp pillow.

Don’t forget to make sure your child uses the toilet before going to bed. Make it a regular part of your son or daughter’s bedtime routine. This way, your little one will start off with an empty bladder.

When bedwetting does happen, be understanding and reassuring. Make certain your child knows that it wasn’t his or her fault and that this happens to many children.  Punishing or embarrassing your kid for something that is completely involuntary will only lead to stress which can prolong the problem.

For 90 percent of children, bedwetting will correct itself by the time they reach 7 years old. Hang in there. You’re not alone.

April 03, 2018 by Anastasia Gibson

Handy Toilet Training Checklist to Keep Stress Low and Success High

Toilet training can be a very daunting time for parents. Though it may seem like a relatively straight-forward process, when the time comes to start to introduce the toilet and reduce dependency on diapers, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

There are, after all, many factors to consider. There is a wealth of advice available (both requested and unsolicited) but many tips are conflicting and it’s tough to know which ones will be right for your kid. Even knowing whether or not a child is ready can make even the calmest parent feel jittery.

It’s important to remind yourself that there is no single perfect way to toilet train a child.  The goal isn’t to try to make everything ideal all the way through and feel guilty or frustrated when things go wrong. The goal is to try to help to make the transition as smooth as possible and to recover quickly and in a positive way when things don’t happen according to plan.

Use the following checklist to help to make sure you’re ready to give your child as smooth and positive an experience as possible, keeping stress levels down and success levels high.

  • Talk about it – Talk about going to the bathroom and the various stages involved in that. This can involve demonstrating how the toilet is used, including flushing afterward (which many children love), followed by hand washing. The more you talk about it, the more comfortable and interested your child may become.
  • Watch for signs that he/she is ready – Every child has his or her own time to be ready for toilet training. This in involves both physical and emotional readiness. Watch for when the dry times between diaper changes are longer and more consistent. Watch to see if your child chooses to have bowel movements on his/her own or in a hidden place, even though he or she is still wearing diapers. Signs like these indicate both interest and potential readiness.
  • Choose a technique – There are many different guides and tools to help during the transition. Decide whether or not you will be using Pull-Ups, a kids’ potty, or a training seat on the actual toilet, and so on.
  • Always use the bathroom – Even if you’re using a kids’ potty instead of the toilet for the first while, keep it in the bathroom to reinforce the need to use that room and only that room for toilet-related activities. In fact, place the potty next to the toilet if there’s room to do so, to further encourage the association with the activity. Ideally, there should be one potty in every bathroom in your home so your little one never needs to travel far.
  • Be consistent – Once toilet training starts, make sure all caregivers are on board with the same strategy. Consistency is very reassuring and can help to avoid preventable mistakes along the way.
  • Be prepared for accidents – This includes having a fresh full change of clothes ready for your little one wherever you go (yes, even a shirt…when it happens, you’ll know why) and protecting furniture, particularly the bed, with a waterproof mattress protector and pillow protector. That way, when accidents occur, you’ll be ready for them and less likely to become frustrated.
  • Buy clothing that is easy to remove – Ideally, your child should be able to pull down his or her own clothing quite easily. In this way, once your child feels the need to use the toilet, there won’t be a risk of an accident because s/he can’t get his/her clothing off in time.
  • Make potty time fun – Sitting on a potty chair can be dull. Place a couple of (washable) toys within easy reach of the potty or read books during this time.  That way, your child will not associate the time with boredom and avoid it.
  • Be ready for setbacks – Try to keep a positive attitude and a good sense of humor.  Some kids transition to a toilet quickly while others need time. Be prepared for some messy surprises and – as much as you might feel inclined to become frustrated – avoid getting angry or losing patience with your little one.

Remember that this is a time in which your little one is in control, and you’re there to provide support and resources. You can’t make things go any faster than they are supposed to for your child. Instead of rushing things, be prepared, be positive and celebrate your victories together.

 

April 03, 2018 by Anastasia Gibson

5 Reasons Why the “Terrible Twos” are Actually Great

The “terrible twos” have been given this name for a reason. They can be a very difficult age. “No” becomes your son or daughter’s favorite word. Tantrums are frequent and enthusiastic. At the same time, this is a time of self-discovery and world-discovery that is imaginative, adorable, and just plain fun.

The following are some of the top reasons the terrible twos can actually be great.

  • They love to help – One of the most common characteristics of two-year-olds is to enjoy doing things on their own. Many of the things they want to do are the same as what you’re doing. If you’re washing the floor, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, or making dinner. This makes your two-year-old a very happy helper. Toddlers can “help” by finding matching socks from the clean laundry. They can wipe the plastic storage containers dry. They can help you to pick out the veggies to go with your meal. Doing things with your toddler can be a fun and special time.
  • They have imaginary friends – Two-year-olds see friends in everything. Their lovey – whether it’s a stuffed animal or a blankie – is a best friend they don’t want to go anywhere without. They talk to their toys and imagine their responses. They even have entirely imaginary friends. This social imagination is great practice for building real friendships and is simultaneously an effective self-soothing technique.
  • They’re outstandingly creative – Your favorite part of this characteristic may not be the crayons on the walls or dirt clods in the clean clothing drawers, but there are beautiful sides to this raw creativity, too. Every aspect of the world is fascinating and new. Toddlers can’t wait to understand every part of it, from the smallest ant crawling on the sidewalk to the shapes the clouds make as they float through the sky. This makes them interested, artistic and captivating.
  • They are decisive leaders – At this age, kids display astounding leadership and make firm decisions. The reason is that they build strong opinions at this age and are ready to express them. At times they can seem bossy, but the fact is that they’re learning to cope with knowing what they want in life and seeking to obtain it. This confidence and demanding nature can be nurtured and honed. It’s where future world leaders, CEOs, lawyers, and all-around strong adults get their start.
  • They’re always ready for an adventure – Toddlers are fearless. They have a sense of invincibility. When combined with their creative side, they can feel like they’re flying as they launch themselves onto their pillows after jumping on the bed. Two-year-olds see the world in the same way you view a safari. Everything is new, big, and exciting. At this age, they pick things up, they climb, they run, and they continually aim to discover. As long as you keep them out of any danger, this is a fantastic time for your little one to learn strengths, abilities, and limitations while having fun and achieving goals all on his or her own.

 

March 28, 2018 by Anastasia Gibson

What Makes a Great and Effective Bedtime Story for Your Kid?

Bedtime isn’t just the end of the day when a kid climbs in under the blankets and goes to sleep. It’s a transition time and a ritual. It involves certain practical steps such as brushing teeth and putting on pajamas. It also involves certain practices that are more focused on bonding and even entertainment, but that are no less important.

Some families choose this time to talk about their days together. Some use this time to talk about new lessons learned or things they are thankful for. Some enjoy a bedtime story. Or you may choose combinations of these different activities.

A bedtime story is a tradition that goes back for centuries. Even before printed books or widespread literacy, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, and grandparents told stories to fascinate, educate and ease children to sleep.

Still, even after centuries, there is a big difference between a great bedtime story and a not-so-great one. Just because a book contains a fantastic story, it doesn’t necessarily make it appropriate for bedtime.  After all, if you’re reading something stressful or frightening, you’re likely going to create the opposite effect from the one you wanted.

The purpose of a bedtime story is to entertain, but also to soothe and calm your child. Here are some of the features to watch for in a book that will make a truly exceptional bedtime story:

  • Subject and theme – This is the easiest feature to spot in a bedtime story. Choose stories that are interesting and calm, as opposed to being too exciting, scary, or giggly. There are lots of great books that calmly describe happy times, that offer happy tales of self-acceptance, that describe the world as it winds down for the night, or that even talk about bedtime routines and all the things we do before getting tucked in for the night.

    While bedtime itself makes a great subject, it’s still important to know that it is not the only topic worth considering.  Provided it is an interesting and calming one, it will likely work well as a subject.
  • Rhythm and reading – The way a book reads helps to set the tone for the emotions it brings to your child. If a book is properly paced, regardless of the words themselves, it can have a soothing quality. A number of very short sentences all read in succession can have a fast, playful, and exciting rhythm to it. On the other hand, when sentences are slightly longer and reflective, they have a gentler and more comforting quality.

    At the same time, this makes it important to read the book in the rhythm in which it was written. If you’re in a rush and are trying to get through the story because you’re simply not in the mood to read it, you could break up its peaceful trait.
  • Shapes, colors, and illustrations – The illustrations in a book meant for bedtime usually involve rounded shapes, muted colors, and happy, soothing imagery. It may include cooler colors such as blue, green, and purple.

    It may also specifically feature nighttime scenes or indications of routines associated with bedtimes.  This might include some backdrops of black and blue, images of stars or moons and other similar figures.

While there aren’t any specific rules that dictate whether or not a storybook will be perfect for bedtime, these can be very helpful in guiding you in the right direction.  A nice little library of bedtime books is a wonderful thing to have. It lets you choose the book depending on the length of time you have to dedicate to the story, your child’s mood, and his or her preference that evening.

 

March 21, 2018 by Anastasia Gibson

The 5 Most Common Sleep Sabotaging Bedtime Mistakes You’re Likely Making

Do you ever get that feeling that you’re doing absolutely everything you can to make bedtime go smoothly and everything still seems to go wrong at the end of the day?  When you’re trying hard to be consistent about a routine, it can feel very frustrating when you face a meltdown every night and when your little one just can’t seem to settle.

In many cases, among all our great efforts and best intentions, there are little mistakes we are making that can sabotage our entire success. The following are some of the most common things we do in the hopes of making things better for our kids when we’re actually making things harder for ourselves and our children at the same time.

  1.  We’re not as consistent as we think we are – When you say you’re consistent about your child’s bedtime and waking time, the odds are that you mean only weekdays or school days. Most of us are inclined to let kids stay up later when they don’t have daycare, preschool, or school the next day. Breaking the routine on those days means we’re not actually as consistent as we tell ourselves we are. Keeping your child’s natural sleeping and waking clock set every day – not just on school nights – helps to make it easier for them to feel tired at the same time every night, awake at the same time in the morning, and less likely to struggle to get a good night of rest.
  1.  We don’t spend enough time winding down – If your child is still wakeful, simply putting him or her into bed isn’t enough to make him or her restful.  Winding down is a vital part of the bedtime routine. It should involve quiet activities in dim lighting. This helps to encourage the production of melatonin – a natural hormone responsible for the body’s sleeping and waking cycle (circadian rhythm) – and therefore restfulness at the right time. Encourage your child to start winding down about an hour before bedtime.

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  1. We consider bath time separate from the bedtime routine - Baths before bed, especially when using gentle, natural products with soothing scents such as chamomile or lavender, can encourage restfulness at night. The warmth and the relaxation from the bath – as well as the regularity of it – can boost the effectiveness of a bedtime routine as a whole.
  1. We skip story time together – Starting very young, enjoying stories from books or simply sharing stories you know is a wonderful way to wind down in bed after bath time while taking part in quality time together. Regular bedtime story time can help to build an even closer relationship between you and your little one while being soothing overall.
  1. We make the sleeping environment too stimulating – At the same time that we want to make a child’s bedroom fun, it’s also important to remember that it is a sleeping environment. Make sure that the bedding is soft and comfortable, that your child has a toddler pillow or a youth pillow suited to his or her age and size, that the room is kept just slightly cool. Make the room quite dark, with a night light only if necessary. Make sure the night light provides the least amount of light possible to make sure that your little one can make safe trips to the bathroom in the night. Anything brighter could disturb sleep.

By correcting these little mistakes, we can encourage a much more restful night of sleep for our little ones each night. Keep them up consistently for improved restfulness over time.

March 18, 2018 by Anastasia Gibson

8 Tips to Help Your Toddler Back to Sleep After Waking

We’ve all been through it.  You’ve put your toddler to bed.  Bedtime was soothing and calm. The little one fell asleep and appeared to be out like a light.  Then, an hour or so later, they show up looking wide awake.

When your son or daughter was just a baby, you might have responded to waking times by calming him or her back to sleep. That said, now that your child’s a toddler, it’s possible to teach your little one to use his or her own abilities to get back to sleep. It’s a process that can take time, but both you and your toddler are able to get through it successfully. No, really! All you need is a bit of planning and a lot of patience.

Use the following steps to teach your toddler to fall asleep without you after waking in the night.

  • Use a healthy bedtime routine – When your child starts winding down early and goes through the same routine at the same time every night, he or she will become more restful. The more restful your child is before actually falling asleep, the more likely he or she will be to remain sleeping through the night.
  • Choose the right bedding – Soft, comfortable bedding can make a big difference to your child’s comfort. This includes the right toddler pillow. A pillow made in the right size and with the proper amount of fill will keep your little one comfortable all night and less likely to wake up out of discomfort.
  • Leave the room before your child falls asleep – At bedtime, make a habit of being a part of the winding down routine, but leave once your little one is calm and yet still awake. This will help your child to become more accustomed to falling asleep without your presence. Do this gradually.  Start leaving when he or she is drifting off.  Then start heading away earlier and earlier.
  • Promote self-soothing – Give your child a lovey to snuggle. This can be very comforting and help your little one to feel soothed even when you’re not there.
  • Stay calm – If your child continues to get up and seek you out during the night, be very calm.  Don’t carry on a conversation and resist the urge to issue corrections or give a lesson. Instead, quietly walk your little one back to bed, tuck him or her back in and head out once more. Try to ignore whining, crying or anger.  The goal is to show that getting up in the night won’t bring any further attention.  It will only return him or her to bed again.
  • Wait before reacting – If your little one wakes during the night and calls out for you, try waiting a few minutes before reacting. Sometimes, your child is actually tired enough that after a few minutes, he or she will self-soothe and fall asleep without you.
  • Be consistent – Try to repeat the same steps every night regardless of whether it’s bedtime or you’re sending your little one back to bed after waking up and climbing out.  The more you are consistent, the more successful your efforts will be.  Breaking your strategy will only lead to setbacks.
  • Praise – Don’t forget to dole out the praise the next morning when your little one makes it through the night without getting up.  After all, it’s an achievement and it’s worth celebrating!
March 12, 2018 by Anastasia Gibson