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This is it!! Throw out every parenting book you own and forget every sleeping tip you’ve ever been told. This is the real deal. This is how it truly works….
Ah… the coveted ‘sleeping through the night’. It what parents talk about so often… brag about even. They ask ‘oh how’s he sleeping’ to a mum whose eyes are hanging out of her head. There are all kinds of advice being offered, some of which can be quite terrifying. And rarely does any of it actually help.
So I thought I’d share with you our super simple process of getting our toddler to sleep through the night. And it’s only 24 steps.
1 – Make sure you talk your toddler through the routine that is about to start. Of course, they understand and will do whatever you ask them too.
2 – Two hours before bed – make sure the TV is turned off and you have that lovely soothing music playing. You know the kind… it’s that CD that you paid $50 for in desperation to help your child sleep through and it just sounds like a toilet running in the background.
3 – One hour before bed – make sure your toddler has a wholesome meal. Don’t worry about the fact that they will only eat sausages with tomato sauce… if you put something healthy and nutritious in front of them, of course they will eat it.
4 – Smile at your toddler and talk to them about why it is important to eat a wholesome meal… all while they are throwing it on the floor and feeding it to the dog. Remember, it’s all about empowering your toddler.
5 – After dinner, make sure your toddler has a soothing bath. It needs to be the perfect temperature of 37 degrees Celsius (which is 98 degrees Fahrenheit for those who haven’t caught up to the metric system yet… I’m looking at you America…).
6 – Ensure the bath has lavender essence in it. Don’t worry about the fact that lavender gives you itchy eyes and flares up your sinuses… it’s all about setting the mood for your toddler to go to sleep.
7 – Remind your toddler in a calm, soothing voice, that the bath water needs to stay in the bath and not on the floor. Of course they will listen.
8 – After the bath, grab some Organic Virgin Cold Pressed Ethically Sourced Coconut Oil and give your toddler a massage. Every toddler I have ever encountered will always lay perfectly still for this massage. They don’t wriggle and try to escape – this is essential to the sleep process.
9 – Once you’ve massaged your toddler into complete relaxation, slowly dress them. No need to wrestle and wrangle, by this stage your toddler is already half asleep. If they are running around screaming like every other toddler then you’re doing it wrong.
10 – Read exactly 6 books to your toddler. I promise they will be happy with 6 and you won’t even have to read the same over and over again. Your toddlers mind will be open to new possibilities and will be completely understanding of your distaste for reading ‘The Three Little Pigs’ over and over and over and over….
11 – Sing your toddlers favourite soothing song. Nothing too upbeat so no Wiggles, nothing too scary so no nursery rhymes about cradles falling out of trees, nothing that could give them nightmares so no spiders crawling up waterspouts… I’m sure it will be easy to find a nice song.
12 – Put your toddler into their bed, reminding them that it is time to sleep. Don’t nurse them to sleep, don’t pat them to sleep, don’t rock them to sleep, don’t stay in the room, don’t leave on a nightlight, don’t do anything soothing otherwise you will ruin them.
13 – Say goodnight, turn out the light and close the door.
14 – Go and pour yourself a glass of wine and marvel at the awesomeness of parenting.
15 – When your toddler cries out for you, go into their room and remind them that it is bedtime and everything is okay. Kiss their cheek and leave the room.
16 – Attempt to drink your wine and sit down with your husband.
17 – When your toddler cries again, go into their room and start negotiation processes. Offer rewards for sleeping – if they go to sleep perhaps they can have a sticker. Kiss any boo-boo’s they have and leave the room again.
18 – When they cry again, go in and forget the crap I said about not patting them. Sit by their bed and pat them until your arm feels like it’s about to fall off. Once you think they are deep sleeping, attempt to leave the room in super stealth ninja parent style.
19 – Just as you decide it’s time for you to go to bed too, your toddler will wake again. Be prepared for this, it’s like clockwork.
20 – Go back in, pat and soothe again. Sniff their butt when they tell you they’ve done a poo (they probably haven’t but this is the level of conversation a toddler can have while half asleep). Use the opposite arm for patting this time as your other one is still feeling numb from earlier. Repeat ninja stealth escape.
21 – Just after you’ve drifted off to sleep you’ll hear your toddler crying out to you again. Spend the next few minutes asking yourself if you’re actually hearing them crying or if you’re just so used to the sound and so sleep deprived you can’t actually tell what’s real anymore.
22 – Repeat steps 20 and 21 hourly.
23 – Begging your toddler to sleep through tears of your own is a likely outcome. This is okay and is completely normal. Don’t be surprised if you resort to ‘please, please can you please go to sleep. If you go to sleep we will go to the park/zoo/train station tomorrow and you’ll have so much fun’. Good luck with this.
24 – Resign to the fact that your toddler isn’t going to sleep through – and probably won’t for a few years to come. Go grab that glass of wine that is still half full from earlier and toast to the realities of parenting. And always remind yourself to smile and boast about how your toddler sleeps through the night.
Just to be clear… this post is intended with full sarcasm and written in frustration that my toddler still doesn’t sleep through the night. Any other mothers out there who are laughing along with this… you get it!! Here’s to another glass of wine.