Problem: “My child won’t go to sleep without a bottle of milk”
Feeding too close to sleep can also result in a toddler waking up during the night, continues Julie. “Giving a large amount of milk at night will result in extra calories, therefore extra energy. Offering milk to settle a toddler back to sleep develops a ‘learnt hunger’ situation and when the toddler wakes at night, their body has learnt to anticipate milk. In this situation, a gradual process of reducing the quantity and ensuring your toddler is getting enough calories during the day will help to gently eliminate the feed.”
Joanne Jewell, parent counsellor and teacher of mindful parenting courses at Mindful ME, adds, “As with a dummy, bedtime milk is a comfort; the sucking is a way of calming and soothing themselves. So if you feel that you and they are ready for the bottle to stop then you will need to manage this with compassion, empathy and give more connection during this time,” says Joanne.
Problem: “Our little one always comes into our bed at night”
Problem: “My potty-trained child still wets the bed at night”
“Monitoring your child’s fluid intake during the day – particularly in the afternoon – can be helpful, and stop fluids an hour before bed. Also make sure your child pees before they go to sleep. Also, talk to your toddler and reassure them; giving incentives and using reward-based activities.” Julie adds, “Ultimately as a child matures, the muscles become stronger and the bladder increases and so speeding up the process for a dry night comes from a parent being supportive, positive and encouraging.”
Problem: “Our toddler still uses a pacifier…”
The process of separating your child from their dummy can be slow, adds Joanne: “A child’s connection with a dummy is just an extension of their connection to us and you need to understand that it will take them some time to be ready to soothe themselves without it – they may want more of your attention if the dummy is taken away. You can create boundaries around the dummy – be empathetic when they want it, for example, ‘I know you really feel like you want your dummy right now, you can sit on your bed with it for a little while if you’d like,’” says Joanne.
Problem: “Is my child ready to be transferred from a cot to a big bed?”
The solution: “This move is likely to come once your toddler starts to climb out of their cot and it becomes unsafe to keep them there in case they hurt themselves at night,” says Joanne. “When you feel they are ready, they can help you choose a new bed, perhaps some new sheets, and encourage them to see this as a game, something to stimulate their creative brain and a positive change in their lives. It might take them a while to get used to being in a bed that they can get out of easily – ensure whatever you choose is safe and consider a bed guard if you need one. They might wander around in the night so also ensure there are stair gates to keep them safe where necessary.”
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