Get your toddler sleep – ready tonight!

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Children’s struggle with sleep is real!
Sometimes it might be anxiety about monsters or maybe they have just really had a busy day,or perhaps they are just anxious about missing out on something.Well if you ever had a toddler chances are they did not want to go to sleep at some phase.
We asked Dr.Jennifer Harris,a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist  as to why toddlers get anxious about sleeping and she was kind enough to share with us some tips  which she shares with parents and children on getting our children sleep ready.
1. Talk about the plan for bedtime during the day – what time, what is going to happen etc
2. Turn off any screens or devices 2 hours before bedtime. 
3. Have a bedtime routine of 3 things that happen every night when the bedtime routine starts, e.g. clean teeth, pull down covers, put a glass of water near the bed (or read, listen to music for half an hour). 
4. All the talk before bed should be quiet, calm and predictable (having a rhyme or something that parents say as the “signal” that this is the start of bedtime
5. Talking in a calm positive way about the child, about what happened during the day, fills the child up with good feelings and relaxes them so they can sleep. 
(Conversely, grumpy parents or frustrated, irritable comments can chase sleep away…)
6. When children are frightened of something we talk about “making friends with the worry” so that they recognise the worry with a sigh and a wave “Hello old friend (worry), I recognise you!” Talking back to the worry can also be helpful “You’re trying to boss me around but I won’t let you”
7. Other doctors I know have even talked about special “spells” that children can use like a mantra before going to bed (stirring the milk three times clockwise, drinking it and clapping your hands three times to scare the worry monsters away,chanting a special line etc)
Hope this helps to get your little one to bed tonight!
Dr Jennifer Harris is a Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist in NSW, Australia. She obtained her specialist qualifications in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry from the Royal Australia and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. She has taught at the NSW Institute of Psychiatry, was a conjoint lecturer at the UNSW School of Women’s and Children’s Health, and worked at several major Sydney Hospitals, including Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Prince of Wales Hospital.

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