From 18 to 24 Months - Sleep

Pregnancy and Beyond

Parents have tried all kinds of strategies to get their children to take naps or go to bed without crying and struggling for hours. Never shake your child. If you feel that you might hurt your child, call the 24-hourParental Stress Helpline at 1-800-367-2543. Tell your child's caregivers to call you if they get frustrated with your child's crying, etc., and to never shake your child.

Bedtime Routine

Toddlers find comfort in consistency and order, things that they can count on. A consistent time for going to bed and a regular bedtime routine will help your child sleep better.

A period of unwinding may include a bath to relax your child, brushing teeth, selecting toys to sleep with, tucking in a stuffed animal, story telling, a drink of water, kisses and hugs. Limit the number of items in the routine, and start the routine about 30 minutes before bedtime. Rushing makes it harder to create a peaceful mood.

Naptime

Some toddlers still take two naps while others are ready to give them up altogether. To help your toddler nap, follow some of the same steps you use during the nighttime routine.

You'll find that your child naps better when he has played actively, followed by a quiet time. Arrange the schedule so your child can nap long enough to have enough energy while he's awake.

Don't send your toddler to bed as a punishment during the day. It may create unpleasant associations and he may reject his bed at naptime and at night. Find a better way to show your disapproval-see " Setting Limits: The Beginning of Discipline " article in the 8 to 12 month newsletter series.