Getting your toddler to bed is like trying to herd a bunch of lions and tigers into a cage. Sometimes you have to use any and all the tricks you got up your sleeve. Toddlers are developing a lot, mentally and physically, right now which means they are starting to test their limits – and your limits. They are developing a mind and personality of their own and somethings those little minds say “nope, I’m not ready for bed.” Here are some tips for developing a bedtime schedule for your toddler:
Your little toddler loves to make up his own mind try, as much as possible, to offer him choices between two things. Make sure the choices are both things you can live with. For example you can offer these two options at bedtime, “do you want to go to sleep now? Or do you want to drink some milk and then go to bed?” You can offer two book choices, two different stuffed toys to sleep with, etc.
Read a Book
As you develop your toddler’s bedtime schedule, figure out what works best for you and your toddler. Many parents and children enjoy reading a bedtime story before going to sleep.
Snuggle up to your little one and give her lots of hugs and kisses. Bedtime is a fun snuggly time! This may take some getting used to because a lot of little ones get cranky around bedtime, which means snuggling might be hard at first. Keep trying.
Your toddler is starting to learn that some songs have hand motions to go with them, like the Itsy Bitsy Spider, If Your Happy and You Know it, etc. Sing songs with your toddler at bedtime (while she is lying down) and do the hand motions together.
Use Blackout Window Treatments
Blackout window treatments are especially helpful during the summer when the sun stays out much longer than your child’s bedtime. Normally, your child knows that bedtime comes when it gets dark outside, but this does not work when the sun is still out at 8 p.m. You can encourage your toddler’s bedtime schedule by using blackout window treatments to create a dark and cozy atmosphere in your child’s room.
Say Goodnight, then Leave
This is the hard part, saying goodnight then leaving the room for your toddler to go to sleep. If you want, you can stay next to your child as he falls asleep for the first night or two so that he gets used to sleeping in his toddler bed. But after a few nights, you should try to inch away as your child is drifting to sleep. Eventually, you should be able to say goodnight, then leave the room without too many issues.
Creating and sticking to a bedtime routine is very difficult when you are dealing with little toddlers who are figuring out what they like and don’t like. And every time you travel, or mess up the schedule in any way, you usually have to start all over. It’s a hard job, but it will help your child in the end and it will also help you to get more sleep once your child is sleeping earlier and in his own bed.