How to Get a Toddler to Sleep

By Ann Hills / a couple of years ago

You’ve watched him or her all-day play with his toys or her dolls, poop, throw tantrums, gaze at you with those eyes that make your heart melt, and sometimes even laugh their tears off. Actually, they can even compel you into staying up all night! However, we all know how much sleep means to us as humans, especially to kids. If you’re a mom whose toddler is at least a few months to a year old, there’s a big chance you’ll also need to be energetic to face the next day’s activities head-on.

But more often than not, getting your dearest “cute lil’ thing” to sleep can be an uphill task. At times, it’s even easy to feel as if they’re retaliating to something you did or refused to do, like denying them their favorite dessert, breast milk! So whether it’s payback time from your little one or not, how exactly do you manage to get them to fall asleep? Mommies, daddies, nannies, grannies, and random babysitters, (especially moms), here are some tips for you on how to get a toddler to sleep.

Ensure They’re Comfortable

You and your girlfriends may be busy catching up in the living room, or perhaps it’s you and your hubby having a glass of wine. Your toddler starts getting stubborn and throwing tantrums and you’re wondering how to get him or her to sleep. For starters, some kids are naturally stubborn when they start feeling sleepy. They could be just tired and just don’t know how to let you know they need to sleep. As even if you need her to sleep on the couch so you can keep a close eye on her it’s all about getting them comfortable.

Perhaps it’s too hot or too cold for them and they can’t fall asleep. Even if you have a comfy crib with an awesome mattress and silk bedding, you’ll want to ensure that the temperature in the room your baby sleeps is convenient for his or her tender body. To keep it cool enough for your baby, expert reviewers from say that an advanced temperature regulator could be all you need. Having this around your nursery bed will also help ensure your baby gets the healthy goodnight’s sleep they deserve and wake up in the morning energetic and well-rested.

Get Rid of Distractions

After a long day running up and down, toddlers may have a hard time switching into slumber mood. This is why the last few hours before bedtime ought to be calm, quiet, and free from distractions. To help him or her to get into snooze mode, you’ll need to get rid of anything that might cause extra stimulation,  distracting your baby. Keep away toys, switch off the TV, and avoid movement when it’s nap time for your toddler. A quiet dark room may also do, but some kids are frightened by darkness, so it’s upon you to know the environment your kid feels comfortable falling asleep in.

Try the Rock & Sway Trick

They’ve only been a few months to a year or two on this earth. They’re not used to all the external stimuli happening around them. However, nothing is more effective in easing a toddler to sleep than rocking your baby and swaying them rhythmically. No matter how tired the baby is, this trick works almost every time.


Another great way to ease your baby to doze off is to bring him or her to a cradling position. This means holding them up close to your chest as far as possible. It’s more effective when you can easily give your baby a soft kiss on the ears or when you rub your cheek against hers. While doing so, ensure that your arms wrap around his/her body gently but firm enough so they won't kick or wiggle.

Snacks for Your Baby

At the age of 1 - 3 years, a lot is going on in your baby’s body. The various processes of growth and development, as well as metabolism, require a sufficient amount of energy, which they get from the food they eat. Babies also tend to be more comfortable sleeping on a full tummy, so, in case some time has passed since their last meal, you can snack your baby up with healthy options like whole-grain cereal and milk. A fruit or some graham crackers may also do the trick. However, ensure you don’t overfeed them before bed because this could interfere with their sleep.

How About Bedtime Stories?

Even though they might not be old enough to understand them, bedtime stories can work magic in easing your toddler to sleep. This is especially the case when you make it a routine. It can help train your child’s brain to switch into “sleep mode” whenever you start reading them their favorite stories.


Reward Them for Improvement

Some toddlers are naturally stubborn when it comes to bedtime. If you, however, notice the slightest of improvement in such a baby, praising and rewarding them for it will go a long way in turning this into a habit. However, you’ll want to avoid exaggerated rewards because this might make them rebel, even more, the next time you don’t give them a treat for good behavior. Instead, make a big deal out of their change in behavior and praise the achievement in the morning with sweet and encouraging words. You could say something like, “wow Brian, you went to bed early and slept all night. Mommy is so proud of you little prince”! This sweet positive feedback will encourage them to please mommy even more.

Finally, you may want to avoid baby naps too late in the afternoon or it can make it challenging for them to fall asleep. Also, abandoning naps before your kid reaches the age of 3 can make it harder for them to fall asleep at bedtime. If your kid sleeps in his nursery bed and is so stubborn to sleep, perhaps they need a slight change and sleeping with him or her in your bed could do the trick. Most importantly, make sure that your kid is actually well and in good health before you start troubling yourself with all the tricks in the world to help a baby fall asleep. If it’s not the effects of teething, your child could have a fever, diarrhea, or an infection. This is especially if the “toddler insomnia” is accompanied by irritability, fever, crying, and screaming.

About the author

Ann Hills

My name is Ann Hills and I am a food blogger and a yoga teacher. When I was a child, I often got around my mother and watched her cooking in our kitchen. My mom always says to me that: “Kitchen is the heart of any home”. I strongly believe in her saying that’s reason why I prefer spending my money to make my home better than other stuff.

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