Toddlers certainly have their own ideas about what they want or don’t want…especially at bedtime. Getting a cranky toddler to go to bed is no walk in the park.
The best thing you can do is to establish a bedtime routine for your toddler. Toddlers need routine to feel safe and also to learn their boundaries. It will take a little patience and perseverance, but gradually your toddler will start to respond.
A few Ideas:
Soothing Bath Before Bedtime – This could be considered one of the oldest and most successful bedtime routines for kids. A warm bath will soothe and help your toddler calm down before bed. Keep things calm and don’t add too many toys to the bath.
Toddlers Love a Good Story – Your toddler loves listening to the sound of your voice. Engage him or her in a bedtime story to help drift them off to sleep. You can also try making up stories instead of reading. Include your child as one of the characters and talk about things your child will find interesting. Regular bedtime stories and reading to your child will help influence her interests and develop her creativity.
Sing a Lullaby – One of my personal favorites, and usually works like a charm. The long loved lullaby does just that, it helps lull babies and toddlers to sleep. Your voice and lulling rhythm of the song will give your toddler security and provide a sense of calm.
No Surprises – Not when it comes to bedtime. About 15 minutes before you start your bedtime routine let your toddler know. Try not to say it’s time for bed in 15 minutes instead say it’s time for a story or a bath in 15 minutes. Some toddlers will automatically go into overdrive if they hear the word bed.
Don’t Rush Things – Toddlers really don’t like being rushed. As a fully fledged parent of a toddler you already know the patience you need to exhibit doing the simplest things like getting your toddler in and out of the car. Bedtime is no different.
If you’re rushing and putting the emphasis on getting them to sleep then your toddler will pick up on that and lash out. Try to place the emphasis on spending quiet, quality time with your toddler. Allow yourself plenty of time so that you can get through the whole bedtime routine without rushing and be flexible and allow for little glitches in your routine.
Don’t Give In – Speak to your toddler before hand about your new bedtime routine, warn him soon before the time. When it’s time be firm and consistent. Even the most reasonable of toddlers, will push their boundaries when allowed. It’s a normal part of growing up and development. Remember your toddler looks to you to make all the grownup and important decisions for him.
Sleep is important for all of us and more so for young children. Be consistent in your bedtime routine and even if things don’t go well at first keep it up. If you’re consistent your toddler will eventually come around.