Getting your toddler to sleep is probably a challenge that you experience on a nightly basis. The whining, bargaining, and full out tantrums are people just as much a part of your child’s part-time routine as brushing their teeth and going to the potty. For many parents, this is just a part of life meant to be grown out of with time. For others, tackling the issue of enforcing bedtimes has been forged into a science, almost.
If you are having a particularly hard time getting your little one to bed every night, try incorporating these six things into your daily and nightly ritual.
1. Institute A Wind-Down Process
For children, bedtime routines often start long before they even reach their bedrooms. If your evenings are typically filled with tons of excitement, your little ones may have a harder time leaving all the fun behind for boring old sleepy time. Beginning about 30 minutes or so before you start your usual ritual, try to make things as boring and relaxing as possible. Give your child gentle reminders that bedtime is coming soon so that it doesn’t creep up on them unexpectantly. Turn off any non-relaxing music and tv shows, officially end play time and save the super exciting bedtime stories for the day time. In addition, try making your voice sound as relaxing as possible. Essentially, give your child as little reason to want to stay away as possible.
2. Follow A Regular Routine
We understand that things happen. Real families have real schedules that can’t always be tied up in a neat little bow. Still, for the sake of your child’s sleep cycle, it is important to try your hardest to nail down a regular nighttime routine. Set a strict bedtime for your toddler and stick to it and start your wind-down routine at the same time every night. It may not be easy at first but the longer you stick to your guns, the easier it will be for your little one to adhere to his bedtime every night with very little fuss.
3. Be A Little Lenient
If you are starting from the beginning, it may be important to lower your immediate expectations a little and be slightly lenient. Miracles don’t happen overnight and neither do perfect toddler bedtimes. While you should definitely stand your ground and stick to the rules, it is also important to celebrate the little victories. Even if only for your own peace of mind.
4. Make Their Room As Comfortable As Possible
A warm cuddly bed, the perfect temperature, their favorite stuffed animal, and a night light that is just bright enough are tools that have been aiding parents in their toddler bedtime endeavors for decades. It’s obvious really, if your child isn’t comfortable in his own space he probably won’t be very inclined to actually sleep there. Work on making his bedroom cozy to prevent any late night bed switches and help him welcome bedtime more easily.
5. Don’t Cut Naps Out Entirely
In an attempt to make their children more tired at the end of the day, many parents cut their toddlers off from naps completely. While a nice concept in theory, in action it can have some serious adverse effects. This lack of sleep may cause your child to be cranky throughout the day, increasing their temper tantrums considerably. Or have the opposite effect and raise their adrenaline levels at night, making bedtime even harder. While it may be beneficial to shorten your child’s naps or slowly wean them off entirely as they get older, you definitely shouldn’t get rid of them completely.