“Make sure you stock up on sleep before the baby comes”, remember lovely wise words like these that you were probably told by many people when you were expecting? Pre-children many of us are guilty of not actually realising how amazing sleep is. Put simply, a good night’s sleep will make you feel like you! Your toddler is no different, a peaceful, undisturbed 12 hours with a possible nap during the afternoon will help them focus and keep them happier, so making sure you have some useful toddler sleep aids is a must for a happy household.
A toddler’s day is full of adventure. From the moment they wake, they’re constantly on the go. Establishing a daily bedtime routine and ideal sleeping environment can help to calm the chaos and ensure they get the recommended 11-14 hours sleep including naps. Helping your child sleep easily and stay asleep will also help you get the shut-eye you need to wake feeling more like you!
SETTING UP YOUR TODDLER’S BEDROOM FOR LONG, UNDISTURBED NIGHT SLEEP
Ever found yourself googling ‘why my toddler won’t sleep’ in desperation? You’re not alone. Google the phrase and you’ll find endless advice on how to help your toddler sleep, from avoiding certain foods to the importance of adopting a bedtime routine. Increasingly, consistent routines are being acknowledged for their role in helping kids fall asleep more easily, and wake up less during the night.
A new Medical Research Council-funded study has for the first time scientifically defined what constitutes a good bedtime routine for children aged 2-8 years. And contrary to what a toddler would tell you, it doesn’t include watching TV or eating chocolate before bed! Agreed by 59 experts, the study offers welcome guidance for parents who want reassurance, and it certainly beats scrolling through endless web pages offering conflicting parent advice.
The six key areas include:
- Brushing teeth before bed
- Time consistency for going to bed
- Book reading before bed
- Avoiding food/drinks before bed
- Avoiding use of electronic devices before bed
- Calming activities with the child before bed, including bath, shower and talking.
Creating a sleep-friendly bedroom may also help your toddler sleep better, just as creating the perfect bedroom sanctuary helps you sleep better too. An ambient room temperature, as well as toddler sleep aids such as nightlights, cuddly toys, white noise and blackout blinds can also make for happier bedtimes. Little ones may also benefit from soft, snuggly anti-allergy bedding that prevents the night-time allergies that can cause wheezing or sneezing and disrupt sleep.
Check out the Made For Mums Awards for the best toddler sleep aids.
THE BEST BEDDING FOR TODDLERS
Creating a safe, comfortable bed is as important as a regular bedtime routine. Is the duvet lightweight? Is the pillow too hard or soft? Fleecy pyjamas and bed layers may be tempting during colder months, but being too hot or cold can disturb sleep. Clothing and cot bed linen should always be suitable for the room temperature, however hot or cold it is outside.
Once your child reaches toddler age you may want to invest in a high-quality cot bed duvet instead of a toddler sleeping bag – that way they can kick off the duvet or keep one leg out if they get too hot. When choosing a duvet, you’ll also need to consider its weight, material and washability. Collectively, these can make or break a good night’s sleep.
Weight: a lightweight 4 tog duvet is preferred to anything heavier for a toddler, unless the bedroom is exceptionally cold
Material: an anti-allergy cot bed duvet that retains its loft and softness can actively prevent the build-up of dust mites, fungi and bacteria and promote a healthier night’s sleep.
Washability: tummy upsets and accidents are common in toddlers, so be kind to yourself and choose a duvet that can be easily washed at 40 degrees (even at 2am!).
Read our guide to caring for your bedding like a pro.
Investing in high-quality cot bed linen can also help your toddler sleep better. A beautifully crafted 200-400tc sheet will be soft, durable, and more breathable and easier to launder than a sheet with a really high thread count. Cotton bedding is also less likely to pill than linen made from man-made fibres such as polyester, which can make the bedding rough and itchy on sensitive skin.
Your toddler’s bedding also needs to be perfectly proportioned to fit his or her bed, for safety and comfort. Tielle cot bed linen sets are specifically tailored to fit a cot-size bed.
LUXURY COT BED LINEN THAT’S PRACTICAL AND COSY
Pink? Blue? Gender neutral white, yellow or green? When decorating a nursery, it’s easy to overlook the quality of the bedding in all the excitement of choosing a nursery theme.
Maintaining the perfect room temperature is more important for your little one’s safety and comfort than any decals or murals. Ideally, this should be between 16-20 degrees. You’ll also want bedding suitable for the room temperature. Soft breathable cotton bedlinen helps to regulate body heat, rather than synthetic fabrics such as polyester that trap heat. Polyester can also irritate sensitive skin.
When it comes to trends, white cot bedding always looks hotel-fresh and clean. White can also unify any room theme. This means that when you do redecorate the nursery (and let’s face it, you’ll soon tire of those murals or decals!), your classic white luxury cot bedlinen will continue to look great. Luxury toddler bed linen in a super-cosy, easy-to-wash 200 thread count will also last for as many as 1,000 sleeps. Check out our cot duvet sets for children aged 24 months+.
Find out how to remove stains from white cotton bedsheets
DOES MY TODDLER NEED A PILLOW
When your baby turns into a toddler you may feel he or she is ready for a pillow to help them sleep. Crib mattresses are designed to be firm and flat, so once it’s safe to introduce a pillow
(age 1-2 years), they may benefit from more comfort and support for their sleepy head. However, it’s important that the pillow is the right size for a crib bed.
A standard toddler pillow-size is around 36cm x 58cm (14 x 22”) – around a third smaller than a standard adult-size pillow. This makes it safer and more suited to your toddler’s smaller sleep space and head. You’ll also want to make sure your pillow is washable and fits snuggly within a fitted pillowcase. Buying a cot duvet set is a good way to ensure everything will fit.
To help your toddler sleep well, you’ll also want to consider the filling. No-one sleeps well on a lumpy pillow or with quills poking into their face at night. A super cosy anti-allergy cot bed pillow that prevents the build-up of fungi, dust-mites and bacteria, while still feeling like natural down, can also be a good way to avoid pesky down feathers and the night-time allergies that can disrupt sleep.
GETTING THE BEST NIGHT’S SLEEP AS A PARENT
It’s easy to put yourself last when you’ve little ones, but looking after yourself and sleeping well at night is important for everyone. Once you have got your child into the rhythm of a good bedtime routine and they’re safely tucked up in bed, it’s time to take care of yourself.
There are lots of things you can do to improve your quality of sleep, from avoiding foods that act as ‘sleep stealers’ to adopting an adult bedtime routine. Bedtime routines aren’t just for kids! This could include meditation, night-time yoga, or having a warm bath or relaxing drink. You just need to find the routine that works for you.
A good routine and relaxing bedroom can even be effective in overcoming insomnia, so take a long hard look at the space. Is the bedroom messy? Is your winter duvet too much for the summer heat? While the bedding best for sleep will always be soft, breathable and feel luxurious against the skin, your sleeping style (whether you sleep on your front, back or side) and any personal preferences or lifestyle choices such as veganism can also affect which bedding is best for you.