A good night's sleep is so important. We all know that a happy, well rested toddler leads to a happy family!

We are delighted to welcome Anneken, an experienced sleep practitioner, and her top tips for a good night's sleep. Anneken is a mum and registered children's nurse who offers Sleep Support & First Aid Courses For Families.



Professional qualifications

BSc Public Health (Specialist Community Public Nurse)

Registered Nurse (Child)

Paediatric Sleep Practitioner

European Paediatric Advanced Life Support Instructor - Resuscitation Council

Nurse Mentor

Level 3 Children's Safeguarding

Emotional First Aid


As an experienced Children’s Nurse, and a Children’s Sleep Practitioner, I am absolutely passionate about prioritising the need for sleep for all.

Our little people have yet to understand the importance of sleep and it is up to us as parents to prioritise this need for them and influence their future routines.

Sleep affects every aspect of our lives and allows us to recover, both physically and emotionally. It is where memories are made and enriches our learning. And that is just the start!

It has been estimated that up to 70% of preschool children have a sleep problem. However, a child’s sleep problem in turn becomes a family sleep problem.

Whether your child is a bed refuser, a ninja who climbs into your bed in the middle of the night, or a very early riser, you may feel alone and vulnerable. Surely sleep is a natural occurrence and everyone should know how to do it?

Consistency - the secret to quality sleep

The phrase “sleep training” implies that your child should be able to go to bed, close their eyes and sleep for a specific period. I feel that it does not take into account the age and stages of your child’s development. It also does not take into consider what is going on for you, as a family at that particular time.

Fundamentally, the secret to supporting good sleep habits for your child is a calm and consistent routine. All children rely on knowing where they are and what is going to happen to understand the world around them. Without this they can become increasingly unsettled and this may be displayed within their behaviour.

Whilst many of us can cope during the day, it becomes increasingly difficult to follow this advice when we are tired. It should be remembered that our little people are not being naughty, many are overly tired and just don’t know how to manage themselves.

Same Time, Same Place!

Knowing how much sleep your child needs can cause confusion. The majority of adults require 8 hours sleep in order to function effectively each day.

People are often surprised as to how much sleep a child needs, and can inadvertently deprive their child of sleep.

Age of child                                                     Hours of sleep needed
1-3                                                                  12-14
3-6                                                                 10-12
7-12                                                               10-11
12-18                                                             8-9

Whilst a late night is seen as a treat, just remember, as a family you may pay for it the following day! There will be times where circumstances do not allow such, but all children should, ideally be going to bed at the same time every night of the year. Once in this routine, you will have an evening back to yourself!

Falling asleep in their bed is also important. Imagine for a moment, you go to bed in one place and wake up in another. We naturally wake every 90 minutes to check that things are the same, and if things aren’t, it can be very unsettling. For this reason, it is vital that children fall asleep in their beds, and will minimise the repeated getting up throughout the night. 

So, how should I do this?

  • An active child is a tired child
  • Turn all screens off 1 hour before bed
  • A light snack if wanted
  • Bath, teeth and pyjamas
  • Into bed for cuddles and stories
  • Good night sleep tight - see you in the morning
  • Remain calm and consistent throughout


Anneken Marshall