One of the biggest problems, so many parents experiences with their toddlers, is establishing a bedtime routine. Getting toddlers to sleep during the day and, especially, the night can be quite a challenge.
A challenge that drives many parents crazy. Somehow, it feels like toddlers are resilient to our desire to get them sleeping! And we would like to get some uninterrupted sleep as well!
Here are several tips that might assist you to get your toddlers in bed. And stay in bed!
The biggest thing that we learned was to get our son to sleep BEFORE he was overtired. For a few nights we watched carefully when he started showing signs of being tired (rubbing eyes, pulling on ears, yawning, becoming quieter, asking for his blankie, etc.). Then we planned to start our bedtime routine 30 to 45 minutes before that time so that after teeth brushing, reading and cuddling, he was right ready for lights out
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Our routine takes a little longer than I might like… but it is focused on developing my toddler’s independence. We do quiet time before heading upstairs (self directed “reading”), and then once upstairs it is his job to pick out and change into his pajamas, pick out three books and put them on his bed, use the potty, and load his toothbrush. A parent still helps with the actual brushing of teeth and flossing, but otherwise my toddler does everything himself. Additionally, letting him pick out his daytime clothes for the next day, and talking about the agenda for tomorrow both seem to help settle him down and get ready to sleep. Any delay tactics are ignored (“Want a glass of water? Ok, get it after we are done saying goodnight, then right back into bed.”).
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Relax…its hard when you too are tired from a busy day but so are children. If it goes wonky don’t worry. Also it changes as they grow, I have lost count the number of times the small details have changed in our house but we stick with bath, milk and biscuits with a combination of TV and stories.
author at The Adventures of Meemoo and Pook. Follow Gemma on Facebook and Pinterest.
Our best tip for getting our little ones to sleep is to establish a regular routine that stays the same no matter what. We also start preparing them and winding them down from 90 minutes before they are to sleep. That means from 5.30pm for their 7pm bedtime. Through the day, we have found that babies who are fed on time sleep better at nap time. Hungry tots will get up hungry and cranky. Sleepy tots will not eat well. At bedtime, we are specially concious of their sensory needs if they aren’t sleeping well.
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Be consistent. Our routine is not complicated – brush teeth, bath, put on PJs, read stories, and into bed. It is the same every night and I believe that helps them know what to expect and feel in control. I also have a no screen time after dinner rule, which I think helps them prepare to wind down for sleep.
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I let my toddler know when bedtime is near, and he doesn’t put up much of a fuss when he knows what’s coming. Our routine of reading and a cup of milk is fixed. Since we have only one child, it is easier for us to create a ‘sleep time’ atmosphere at home by shutting off all distractions.
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Being consistent is definitely the key, it teaches them what to expect. I also use ‘talking queues’, as in I say the same thing overnight…”night night sleepy head” so that the learn that it means it’s sleeping time. I offer Sleep Guide Book you can download for free.
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