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Jul 5 2011

Batya the Sleep Coach: The Napless 2-Year-Old

By at 10:09 am

What, your toddler doesn't go to sleep with a smile on her face? Talk to Batya.

Sleep. It’s the problem that plagues all parents. We’re not getting enough of it because our children aren’t getting enough of it. Help is on its way! Israeli sleep coach Batya Sherizen is taking questions from Kveller readers. Send your problems to info@kveller.com.

Dear Batya,

Our 2-year-old seems to be in the phase where she is having difficulties falling asleep at night when she naps during the day. We tried taking away her naps completely, but after four days- she was exhausted and had caught a cold. The only benefit was she went to bed at 7 and slept until the next morning. Now, she naps, goes to bed most nights at 9:30 p.m. and still wakes up at 6:30 a.m. It just doesn’t seem like  enough sleep for a little one. Or for our little one. We would appreciate an earlier bed time so that she is better rested, but she just won’t fall asleep. I’m starting to believe 2-year-olds don’t sleep. Any thoughts?

Dear Gaela,

Each child is different in her own individual way, and especially in her sleep needs.  There are children who stop taking naps as early as 2 years of age and some who still need one at 4 years old.  Statistically, however, most children stop napping in the afternoon at around 2½-3 years old. A telltale sign that a child is ready to give up naps is when she starts sleeping less at night—which is precisely what is happening with her.  Instead of eliminating her nap cold turkey, however, I would recommend readjusting her sleep cycle by simply decreasing the amount of sleep she gets during the day.  If, for example, her nap is normally 2 hours, try shortening it to 1 hour or 1.5 hours.  By doing this, the lost sleep from the day will transfer to the night, and she will begin fighting bedtime less and sleeping longer.

Additionally, early rising with toddlers is most commonly caused by over-tiredness, so you should definitely aim for an earlier bedtime. Generally, most children her age need approximately 4-5 hours between waking from the nap and bedtime itself so ensure you space it out correctly.

Stick with these two ideas for at least week and then readjust accordingly – but don’t rush her and ensure that you follow her cues…you can most definitely get her back on track!

Jun 28 2011

Batya the Sleep Coach: The Baby Who Wouldn’t Sleep

By at 9:02 am

When you've got this instead of sleep, it's time to talk to Batya.

Sleep. It’s the problem that plagues all parents. Help is on its way!  Israeli sleep coach, Batya Sherizen is taking questions from Kveller readers. Send your problems to info@kveller.com.

Dear Batya,

My 7 month old has been sleeping through the night (seriously, 10-12 hours!) for 5 months (I know, hooray…how can I possibly have a sleep question?). For the last week, she gets very sleepy while I am nursing her between 8:45 PM and 9:30 PM but when I go put her in the crib, she bolts up, wide awake. She’s been going down more like 11:00 PM. I don’t mind the later bedtime, the problem is that she then wakes at about the same time (8:30 AM) and is cranky in the morning. She will nap, sometimes too well. I wake her up so that she doesn’t go too far in naps and completely destroys bedtime.

She did get her first tooth this week but nothing else has really changed. How can I get my easy to bed baby back?

Dear Lori Beth,

Regressions like this can be typical sometimes, but you want to ensure that the problem doesn’t escalate further. If she isn’t falling asleep until 11 pm, and still waking early at 8:30, this is due to the fact that she is overtired. The first step to solving this problem is to introduce an earlier bedtime. She is probably fighting bedtime so much simply because she is overtired, so I would recommend the goal of her sleeping no later than 8 pm.

If she needs an extended routine or wind-down process to help her relax, that’s fine.  That means starting the nursing before bed no later than 7:30ish to ensure she is asleep by 8.  Also, as you’ve realized, you don’t want her naps too close to bedtime which could interfere with her ability to wind-down at that time. If you want her sleeping by 8 pm, ensure that her last nap doesn’t extend past 4-4:30, latest. This will also help her settle to sleep in a way that allows her body to naturally acclimate.

Good luck!

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