It’s been a busy day, perhaps the daily rhythm has been upset, you’re out and about and your youngster is now not just tired, they’re overtired. There are inconsolable tears, there are screams, suddenly there are giggles, then there are tears….. How do you navigate the stormy sea of an overtired toddler.
1. Go somewhere dark – When the brain is stimulated by light, it has no chance to shut down. By going somwehere dark, you allow the neocortex to shut off, letting the more primitive brain take control, and allow sleep.
2. Cuddles, and reassurance – it may take time but right now, more than ever your toddler needs your presence. Be calm, be reassuring, and be patient.
3. Warm Bath even better if mommy or daddy join them in a warm bath, in a darkened room. You can add a few drops of lavender oil to help them relax.
4. A massage if your toddler is calm enough for a massage, gently rub their back. It doesn’t have to be any fancy technique, just long smooth strokes. This stimulates endorphins, and allows them to calm down, and eventually sleep
5. A Lullabye sing in a low tone, a nice slow deep lullabye, get the beta waves in their brain working. (It doesn’t matter if you can’t sing, the idea is to lull them )
6. Gentle Motion i.e. a walk in a pram, or a trip in the car. Sometimes it’s the only way.
7. Patience eventually they are going to sleep, your presence is the most important thing right now – wade it out, hold them through the tears, and remember sleep will eventually come. (To both of you!)