If your toddler won’t sleep, and you’ve tried every trick in the book, then bedtime fading could be the answer to all your problems…

For many parents, putting their kids to bed is the hardest part of their day. If you manage to survive the tantrums and tears, you could still be in for a night of broken sleep and hourly wake-ups, as your toddler resists their basic need for sleep. Researchers at Flinders University, however, have developed a strategy that can help parents manage their child’s sleep regressions and reduce the nightly struggle.

Keeping It Simple

Bedtime fading refers to a process by which parents adjust their child’s bedtime by 15 minutes each night for a few days. Through this parents are able to establish the time where their child falls asleep with the least amount of fuss and is tired enough to remain asleep.

“Select a consistent time (7 days a week) you would like your baby to waking in the morning (eg. 7 am)” the university’s document says. “For a few nights, delay your baby’s bedtime by 15 minutes (eg. from 7 pm to 7:15 pm). After a few nights, if your baby is still taking a while to fall asleep, delay their bedtime by a further 15 mins (eg. 7:30 pm). Continue this process until your baby falls asleep more easily.” Sounds almost too good to be true!

It Actually Works!

A study conducted by Flinders University tested the effectiveness of bedtime fading with 21 children of preschool age. It was found that the process reduced tantrums and improved both the time it took each child to fall asleep and how many times they woke during the night. Not only did bedtime fading have immediate results, but the positive benefits continued, evident in the follow up two years later.

We definitely think bedtime fading is worth a try. It sounds like such a peaceful and mutually beneficial process, and while we know that it isn’t a one size fits all solution, it seems to have great potential!

Have you tried ‘bedtime fading’ with your baby or toddler? Let us know in the comments.


  • I have a couple of young mum friends with troublesome toddlers. I will definitely be passing this information on for them to try. Now the kids are school age, they need enough sleep every night

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  • I’ve never tried this but my kids aren’t too bad at the moment! Would definitely worth a try

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  • It can be tough but a good routine makes it easier

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  • I didn’t experience trouble tp get my kids down to bed and sleep for the night when they were toddlers, although they all have different patterns. My eldest can go to bed very late and loves to sleep in. My 2nd was always an early bird, but that has changed now he is a teenager. My 9yr old really likes to lay down by 8pm and up around 7am and my youngest is an early bird too, no matter how late I put her down.

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  • My son is two and while he’s always been a fantastic sleeper, we have noticed he takes longer to fall asleep in the evenings now. He used to go to sleep like a dream at 7 o’clock but the last month or so when we put him to bed at seven he would still be in bed talking to himself until about 8 o’clock. He’s not unhappy he’s not calling out for us he’s just happy to chill out and talk to him self in bed but the point is he’s not sleeping. So we started to do his wind down routine A little bit later and now he goes to bed at 8 o’clock and by 10 past he’s asleep. So I definitely think this works, at least it did for us I just didn’t realize it that’s what it was called LOL

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  • Yep as they get older they need less

    Reply

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