I am all about bringing some #reallife to parenting, so to start off today’s blog post, here is a picture of my Strong-Willed Toddler throwing a tantrum:

The shoe flying off, the arms flailing, and of course the shirt saying she is “Daddy’s dream girl.” If I can remember correctly, I didn’t let her pet the unfriendly dog in our neighborhood. This is #reallifeparenting at it’s finest!

Her little personality came through when she was just a few weeks old. Screaming and demanding to always be held and nursed in order to fall asleep. Even then, she was persistent and knew what she wanted and just how to get it!

When it comes to helping your child learn healthy sleep habits, I am a full believer in knowing your little one’s personality to be your guide. Every baby is different, and has their own unique personality that will come out more and more as they grow. It is so important to learn your children, and based on who they are, decide what it is they will need to learn healthy sleep habits. Anytime we create a Sleep Plan, personality of the child and parenting philosophies are our guide! We find a method that is going to be best for your child, and your mama’s heart.

If you are the parent of a strong-willed little one, here are 5 Sleep Tips for your Strong Willed Toddler. Norah is currently 20 months old, and sleeps 13 hours a night with a  3 hour nap during the day. If we didn’t do these things, I have a feeling she would be calling all the shots and not getting the sleep her little body needs!

5 Sleep Tips for your Strong Willed Toddler 

  1. Start a Routine
    • A 7pm-8pm bedtime is ideal. An strong-willed AND overtired toddler can make for one dramatic bedtime. Find the right bedtime, and stick with it.
    • During bedtime routine, give them something they can control (choice of book, PJs, etc.)
    • Make sure they already had or did whatever they need so there’s no discussion when it’s bedtime (potty, glass of water/milk, kisses/snuggles, etc.). Once it’s bedtime, avoid any discussions or bartering. Stick to repeating a phrase like, “No, it’s night night time.”
    • Eliminate “Options” and be true to your word.
  1. Find the Right Sleep Method
    • With my own daughter, I found that it made it worse with me in the room. This can be common for strong-willed children. I chose a gentle method that didn’t have me in the room, but allowed me to check on her which ended up being easier on her and shorter process.
    • If the training process is going on too long with no progress, it may be time to change up the method that may work better. If you need help finding the right method, contact us and we’ll help you find one that is perfect for your little one, and supports your parenting philosophy.
  1. Sleep Environment
    • A VERY dark room, cool temperature, and some white noise is ideal. Toddlers especially can be highly stimulated by any toys, mobiles, and a clear visual of their room.
    • If in a big girl/ boy bed, picture the room like a giant crib. Take away anything that he or she can be stimulated or distracted by.
  1. Be Consistent 
    • Don’t give in! Remember, consistency brings progress
    • With many of my clients and with my own daughter, strong-willed babies and toddlers require extreme consistency, and the same actions being repeated. If you give in after starting a method, they know your limit! Your little one is SMART!
  1. Affirmation and One-on-One Time 
    • This is huge for all toddlers. I often see regressions with bedtime or naps if a toddler didn’t get enough time with mommy and/or daddy that day, or if there are changes happening in the family (new sibling, moving, visitors, traveling, etc.)
    • Before bedtime, spend one-on-one quality time with your little one in his or her bedroom. Use plenty of verbal and physical affirmation. Show interest in his or her bedroom, as this communicates their room is a safe place that mommy and daddy enjoy. This is fuel for toddlers!

Sweet Dreams,

Janelle Aubert
Certified Baby + Toddler Sleep Consultant



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