How to Put a Toddler to Sleep in 40 Seconds

baby, sleep, newborn-7540912.jpg


As a parent of a toddler, getting your little one to fall asleep quickly and easily is often a struggle. Toddlers are full of energy and curiosity, making bedtime a challenging time for many families. However, with the right techniques and a consistent routine, you can have your toddler sleeping soundly in 40 seconds or less. In this comprehensive guide, I will provide proven methods to get your active toddler to wind down and drift off to sleep in no time.

Understand Your Toddler’s Sleep Needs

The first step in quick and painless bedtime is understanding your toddler’s sleep requirements. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, toddlers ages 1-2 need 11-14 hours of sleep per day. This includes both nighttime sleep and naps. Keeping your toddler well-rested during the day with one nap will help prevent overtiredness at bedtime. Overtired toddlers will become hyperactive and resist going to bed.

Establish a Calming Bedtime Routine

A consistent, relaxing bedtime routine is key to toddler sleep success. Around 30 minutes before bedtime, start quiet calming activities to help your toddler unwind. Turn down lights and shut off TV, tablets and phones. Gentle music, a warm bath, reading stories or giving a massage are great ways to transition into sleep mode. The same sequence of 3-4 activities each night will signal to your toddler’s body that bedtime is near. Repeat this routine 7 days a week to ingrain it as a habit.

Make the Bedroom Sleep Friendly

Just as important as the pre-bedtime routine is setting up the bedroom for sleep. Blackout curtains or blinds will block stray light from disrupting sleep. A cool room temperature around 65 F degrees promotes better rest. Remove any screens or distractions that can overstimulate your toddler when trying to wind down. Have comforting items ready like a favorite stuffed animal, night light or sound machine. Keeping the bedroom strictly for sleeping establishes it as a place of slumber.

Use the Fast Asleep Toddler Hold

When it’s finally bedtime, using the tried and true “Fast Asleep Toddler Hold” will have your little one drifting off in no time. Sit in a chair or on the edge of the bed and position your toddler facing you on your lap. Support their back with one hand and bottom with the other. Gently rock back and forth while patting their bottom with a “shhh, everything’s alright” rhythm. The combination of rhythmic patting, rocking and soothing shushing creates a hypnosis-like effect that triggers drowsiness. Do this repeatedly for 20-30 seconds until eyelids grow heavy.

Transition to Crib Awake

Once your toddler looks like they are about to nod off, transition them to the crib before they are fully asleep. Gently laying them down while drowsy but still awake teaches self-soothing skills to fall back asleep independently if they stir at night. This helps your toddler learn to link sleep cycles overnight for longer, uninterrupted sleep. If your toddler fully wakes up again, restart the “Fast Asleep Toddler Hold” until drowsy before returning to the crib. With consistency, your toddler will quickly drift off while placed in the crib still awake.

Stay Consistent

Consistency and routine are the keys to toddler sleep training success. Make sure all caregivers use the same bedtime techniques and schedule. Establish a set bedtime and before-bed routine and stick to it every night. Toddlers thrive on consistency and any major deviations can disrupt their sleep cycle. Get your toddler accustomed to falling asleep independently in their crib from an early age to prevent sleep crutches down the road. With time, your soothing bedtime routine will have your toddler sleeping like a baby in no time.

Troubleshooting Common Toddler Sleep Problems

While creating a quick and seamless bedtime is the goal, toddlers may still struggle with common sleep issues. Here are some tips for overcoming frequent toddler sleep challenges:

  • Night waking – Proactively wean night feedings. Offer water only after night wakings and put your toddler back down drowsy but awake.
  • Night terrors – Do not wake your toddler during a terror. Stay near them for comfort and security until it passes.
  • Late bedtime – Enforce an earlier, consistent bedtime. Move up by 15 minutes each night.
  • Napping too late – Shift last nap to early afternoon. Daytime sleep impacts night sleep.
  • Bedtime resistance – Make bedtime fun with bath color tablets, new pajamas or bedroom camping.
  • Nighttime fears – Use a night light, leave door ajar and remind there are no monsters.

With perseverance, you can overcome temporary sleep regressions. Stick to your routine and use these tips to get back on track.


Achieving a lightning fast, frustration-free bedtime is possible with the right sleep strategies tailored to your energetic toddler. Consistency, optimal sleep conditions and a soothing pre-bed routine will have your toddler sleeping like a baby in 40 seconds or less. Focus on healthy daytime habits, consistent nap schedules and independent, drowsy crib sleep to set your toddler up for success. Sweet dreams come quickly when you establish the fundamentals of great toddler sleep hygiene. Your well-rested, happy toddler and your own peace of mind will thank you.

Picture of Abhishek Sonkar [Author]

Abhishek Sonkar [Author]

Meet Abhishek Sonkar, [, B.Ed., M.Ed.], a child development specialist with years of experience in the field. He has written numerous blog posts on child development and parenting.




Follow Us on Twitter

Read More Amazing Blogs

Choosing the Right Crib Weight Limit for Your Baby’s Safety

Do Babies Dream

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *