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  • Jessica Berk

Your Biggest Toddler Bedtime Questions, Answered

I’ve got the answers to YOUR biggest toddler sleep questions. If bedtime with your little one has been a real bummer lately, this Q&A is for you!


>>Watch this blog on my Awesome Little Sleepers YouTube channel! 👇


Toddler Sleep Q&A

Let’s start with one particular question I get asked all the time…

Q: Will my health insurance cover the cost of our sleep course?

Bad news and good news on this one! 

The bad news is: hiring a sleep coach or enrolling in a sleep course is (sadly) not covered by traditional insurance. 

But the good news is: many FSA & HSA plans WILL cover the costs of a course like my sleep training course, Sleep Tight Without a Fight. And the best part about using your FSA or HSA accounts is using pre-tax dollars. 

In order to take advantage of your FSA/HSA eligibility, you may need to pre-pay for the course and then submit your receipt for reimbursement. You can check with your plan administrator for details and see if there’s any enrollment paperwork that needs to be completed.

Q: Some nights my son falls asleep in 10 minutes, and other nights it can take HOURS for him to finally fall asleep.

This can be confusing. Let’s look at 3 things that could be adding to the problem here so we can figure out what’s going on.

1. Is there a parent in the room at bedtime?

Are you lying down with your son while he’s falling asleep? Many times when parents are in the room, kids keep themselves awake to interact with you since they know you’re going to leave once they fall asleep. In this case, having you in the room is actually interfering with your child’s sleep rather than helping them sleep.

If you find yourself in a predicament where your child won’t let you leave the room but is also struggling to fall asleep when you’re there, I have a free class that can help you with that. You can save a spot for the class here:

In short, being in your son’s room may be distracting to him. He’ll likely fall asleep faster once you’re out of the room. 

2. Is bedtime too late?

When kids have the right bedtime, they fall asleep within 5-20 minutes of lights out. If it’s taking your child longer than that to fall asleep, the most likely culprit is that bedtime is too late. 

When toddlers miss the perfect window for sleep and bedtime gets pushed too late, they can get a second wind. That second wind can give them up to 90 minutes of extra energy. Just what you want at 8:30pm, right? 

But it also helps if you can be a little flexible with bedtime – just a little. Meaning, within a 15-20 minute range. His level of tiredness can be affected by the day’s activities. So if he went to school for 7 hours, he may be much more tired than after a lazy Saturday at home. Growth spurts can also cause kids to feel more tired. How well he slept the night before can play a role, too. Just observe your child for sleepy signs in the evening so you can hit his perfect bedtime before he gets a second wind. I’ve got videos on sleepy signs you can check out!

3. Is there something medical going on?

This is the least likely scenario, but certainly worth mentioning – especially if your child is awake for hours even when you’re not in the room with him.

The first sign that there may be something medical going on is if your child snores when they’re asleep. Snoring can be a sign of enlarged tonsils or adenoids, which can be an underlying cause of sleep apnea. Another symptom of undiagnosed sleep apnea can be mouth breathing. 

Additionally, there are some vitamin deficiencies that can cause sleep problems such as low iron levels or (more rarely) low magnesium levels.

If you suspect there may be a medical issue affecting your toddler’s sleep, talk to your pediatrician or ask for a referral to a sleep doctor.

Q: My 4-year-old won’t stop talking at bedtime. I feel like she’s stalling, but I love her cute stories. How can I nicely make her stop?

It’s great to have a bedtime routine that you and your child enjoy and look forward to. But we still need to get to bed on time! So, just set up some simple boundaries around how long the talking goes on.

Just like you plan time for baths, brushing teeth, and reading books, plan for talk time. This may mean starting bedtime a little earlier or even using a timer. You can tell her… “I love hearing all your stories at night, but we have to make sure we get to sleep on time. So, let's set a talk timer. Do you want to talk for 4 minutes or 5 minutes?”

Giving her some choice in how long you talk will encourage her to get on board with the new plan. Using an egg timer or a timer on your phone that she can start herself will help her feel like she’s in control. Then you can enjoy your talk time knowing that she will still get to bed on time and you don’t have to be the bad guy telling her to stop talking - let the timer be the bad guy!

Looking for more great sleep tips? Check out this video: REST Method Explained


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