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  • Writer's pictureLorraine Felix

Why Setting Boundaries with Your Toddler's Sleep is Important

Toddler's have one job it seems....they test us. That's how they start to understand their world.

"If I don't give my toddler a snack in the middle of the night he will scream and kick and cry."

You are not alone in having a toddler like this. This behavior is not unusual or abnormal. There can be all sorts of scenarios where this happens. Maybe someone has a toddler that screams and cries because they want a toy in the store or they want a bottle in their bed. Whatever it is, this is normal behavior for a toddler.

Toddlers are learning that they are their own person but they still don't have the impulse control that an adult has. They don't understand how to express their anger or control their emotions. So when they are told no they can't have that snack in the middle of the night, they let their emotions out very loudly.

When we have always given our toddler that snack in the middle of the night, or the bottle in bed, or laid with them until they are asleep this is what they expect and are used to. When we switch this up on them, they are using all their emotions and lack of impulse control to let you know this is not how this should be. I don't like it.

When you decide that you are going to change your toddler's sleep association, change your middle of the night routine, etc., you need to be ready for some tears or frustration. They aren't going to be happy. BUT you can't give in because it's only going to teach them, program their muscle memory in their brains, this is what I need to do to get that snack in the middle of the night.

Be ready to set boundaries and stick with them. Retrain their muscle memory so that every time they wake up in the night, they get more and more used to what the new expectations are.

These boundaries need to be there for your toddler to have sleep success.

Teaching your toddler how to fall asleep differently, or solving lots of night time waking can be very challenging. If you are struggling to stay consistent with your decisions, having a support system can be very helpful. Call upon your own parents, a friend or a sleep consultant. Choose someone that you know will help you stay consistent.

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