Does your toddlers sleep pattern seem to have no pattern to it at all? If you think there might be some sleep issues going on, then a sleep diary may be just what the Sandman ordered.

For the next two weeks, jot down bed-times, actual falling-asleep times, night wakings and feedings (if any), and keep track of how long wakings and feedings last. Also include naps: when and where they take place and how long they last. And if you have a hunch that certain high-sugar foods or food additives might be contributing to restless sleep, consider keeping track of pre-bedtime consumptions of those in the sleep diary, too.

Analyzing the diary (and even sharing it with your childs doctor) should give you some insights into whether your toddler has any sleep issues, and it may also provide some clues for dealing with them. If you notice that overall total hours of sleep are way under the average (1- to 2-year-olds should get between 12 and 14 hours of sleep every 24-hour period), try putting your little one down to bed earlier or adding that morning nap back into the mix.

If your toddler is waking up three times a night, examine what, if any, enabling behaviors might be contributing to those night wakings. Are you picking up your toddler and rocking him back to sleep or lying down with him for a snuggle? Putting an end to such getting-back-to-sleep crutches can help get your toddler to sleep through the night, start to finish.

from What to Expect the Second Year by Heidi Murkoff