For years we struggled with getting our children to sleep through the night. Believe me, we have tried everything we could think of. But we finally found a solution to help our young children and toddler sleep through the night, naturally!
And these solutions have worked consistently for several months!
Sleep is so important to health, not only for the children, but also for mom and dad. Coffee only helps so much and before long, we are starting to feel the effects of the lack of sleep.
I’m not sure what it is exactly, but our children were just difficult sleepers ever since infancy. We have changed their diets and don’t feed them anything processed or full of dyes or sugars.
They are also very active on our homestead, so I know they are burning plenty of energy.
And one of my toddlers is on the spectrum. So that is definitely a contributing factor for her.
I don’t generally, like to share the challenges we face with a child with autism, but if this can help other parents who are struggling, I want to spread the love a little bit. And hopefully it can help you too.
How to Help a Toddler Sleep Better at Night
It took us nearly 4 years to finally find a combination of solutions that was able to get all of our children to sleep through the night. It was an exhausting journey.
Our biggest concern when we started researching ideas for getting our little ones to sleep better was that the solution needed to be natural.
We tried tart cherry juice, which is said to work for many with sleep issues and I know many families who it has helped. And it did help us initially, but was short lived.
Then we tried adjusting nap times and bed times. I tried adjusting our every day routine. Then we tried using night lights and then not using night lights. And I tried things like essential oils diffused before bed time.
We tried a host of other solutions.
But nothing worked!
Here’s what we did to finally get our toddlers to sleep through the night, naturally.
Diet is a huge contributor of sleep issues for most, especially young children. As I mentioned above, we keep a very healthy and natural diet. Around here we eat whole foods and I cook all of our meals from scratch. This means avoiding any dyes, chemicals, processed foods, sugars, etc.
And we recently transitioned to the GAPS diet to help aid our autistic toddler.
Part of our bedtime routine is giving our toddlers a banana before bed. Bananas are full of magnesium and potassium which help aid a good night’s rest.
Keeping Active & Energy Burning
We limit electronics in our home and try to keep our children as active as possible. Since removing the TV from our children’s regular routine, it has improved not only their attitudes, but also their health & happiness.
This includes their sleep!
The need for the electronics has been replaced with a whole lot of play time, chore time, and learning activities.
Keeping them active on the ranch allows them to develop important skills. And it contributes towards them sleeping through the night.
We encourage our little ones to spend as much time outdoors as possible. The natural vitamin D from the sun is another contributor for great sleep!
Need some ideas for keeping your toddlers active? Check out these posts:
Making changes to our children’s bedroom environments has made a world of difference for their bedtime routines and has helped to get them to sleep through the night.
We removed the nightlight from their rooms and keep them dark with thick shades on their windows.
Having too much light, even natural moonlight enter into their rooms was causing disruption to their sleep at night.
For safety, we keep a night light on down the hall.
Finding our nighttime preferred temperature has helped us all to sleep better through the night. If it was too cold, the children would wake up. If it was too warm, we would all wake…quite cranky. We found our sweet spot to be between 70-72 degrees at night for everyone to sleep well.
This is probably different for everyone, but its what works best for our family.
We made this a part of our nightly routine. Every night as we are settling into our routine, our children get their pjs on or usually after a bath. Then I will rub this essential oil blend on the backs of their necks and on the bottom of their feet.
This is a children safe blend that I dilute in fractionated coconut oil and store in a roller bottle. So it is easy to apply.
Our Nightly Routine
Having a consistent bed time and nightly routine is super important to great toddler sleep. As our children have grown into this routine, they know exactly what is expected and it makes putting them to bed so much easier.
After dinner, we begin to settle into our evening and then bedtime routine.
If the weather is nice, I allow the children to play for about an hour outside while I clean up the kitchen and finish up the last of any chores that are remaining.
Immediately after bath time, I apply the night time essential oil (as mentioned above).
Then we pray our family rosary. This is about 20 minutes which is perfect timing for the essential oils to start working, which helps them relax.
Next, the children will have a banana snack. Followed by teeth brushing, bed time story with dad and then bed.
I have tried some of these things alone and tested just a couple of them at a time. But honestly, the best way we have found for our children to consistently sleep through the night is when all of these solutions are working together.
I hope that this list is helpful to you!