Bedtime for your little one can be a special time for the family. The end of the day draws closer, and there is a shift to a more cosy setting. If you have little ones, you might find they’re inclined to come to you for a comforting cuddle before bed. You’ll no doubt be thinking about how you’re going to settle them in. It can be a battle, we know.
Toddlers have a tendency to be playful, curious and opposed to sleep. They’d rather stay up with you. They like power and attention, and bedtime is the perfect time for them to achieve both. It can be very frustrating for parents, who want their little ones to sleep not just for the wellbeing of their child, but for their own mental health.
If you’re battling getting your toddlers to bed, this is the article for you. Here are our top ten tips to win bedtime battles with your toddler.
1. Be present
Sometimes it may not be clear why your sweetie may be stalling when they should be settling and sleeping. Whether it is bonding over a story, cuddles, or a simple chat, it is important you give your child your undivided attention at bedtime. You might be busy, but trust us; you’ll get to destination snoozeville much quicker if you’re present. Try to avoid being distracted by your mobile phone or thinking about other things. Enjoy and embrace this time. Not only will your child feel relaxed, but so will you.
Consistency is key when it comes to bedtime. A regular bedtime routine enables your toddler to understand and expect their bedtime, not only on a mental level, but on a physical one, too. A solid bedtime routine, like a bath, a cuddle, and a story, tells your little one it’s time to start settling down. If they refuse, you need to make it clear that it is bedtime, and nothing your toddler tries will change that. There is no room for negotiation. Eventually, they’ll come to understand that fighting is a waste of energy.
3. Start early
Overtiredness is often a major reason toddlers struggle at bedtime. It sounds counterproductive, but an overtired toddler is less likely to go to sleep. Cortisol is released, which will impact your toddler’s ability to settle. If your toddler is misbehaving because they are overtired, it’s important not to scrutinise your little one. Instead, start your bedtime routine earlier from now on. If they’re yawning and rubbing their eyes, they’re getting there. Research recommends putting your toddler to bed between seven and eight in the evening.
4. Keeping them active
It goes without saying that toddlers who are tired are more likely to sleep, so work to tire out your toddler, whilst avoiding the ‘overtired’ stage. A quiet walk by the house after dinner can work wonders. Dispersing your toddler’s energy will calm them, and prepare them for bedtime.
5. Sleep association
Toddlers create sleep associations like the rest of us. These can be good and bad. Your toddler might refuse to sleep unless you are with them, for example. If this is the case, they might wake in the night and cry. If you’re already there, you need to slowly and gently remove yourself from the room before they fall asleep, so that they aren’t startled by your absence when they wake. The best way to end this is not to start it at all!
You can also combat this by helping your child feel secure, and excited about bedtime. Maybe your toddler loves cars, and would enjoy sleeping in a bed shaped like one. Providing a positive association between bedtime and your toddler will really help, so be creative.
What your child has to eat can impact their sleep, so it is important you keep your toddler away from specific foods. Caffeine and foods with high sugar content will keep your child awake. Choose light, nutritious alternatives. Avoid salt and grease, as these can give your toddler and upset stomach, which might keep them awake.
7. Don’t give in, not even once
If you give your toddler an inch, they will take a mile. Once you’ve done your bedroom routine, your child needs to know that if they get out of bed, they’ll be put straight back in. If it does happen, follow these steps:
- The first time, remind your child it is bedtime and they should be in bed. Lead them there, give them a kiss and cuddle, and leave the room.
- The second time, do the same again, but be firmer, and make the kiss and cuddle brief.
- If they get out of bed again, say nothing. Lead them back to bed. Tuck them in and leave the room. Do this every time they get out of bed after this until they give in. No matter how tired you are, do not surrender. If you do, you are teaching your child there is a chance you might give in if they continue their antics long enough.
Incorporating the bedtime routine reward chart. If your child is encouraged by rewards this could be something to give some thought. A gold star on their bedtime rewards chart often can provide them with a sense of enjoyment and pride for doing the right thing.
9. Comfort your child
Comfort comes in many forms and should be part of your bedtime routine. We don’t mean cuddles, we mean making sure your child’s clothing and room temperature are comfortable for them to sleep in.
Look for pajamas your toddler likes and sleeps well in. Make sure they’re wearing something that will keep them dry. Also, look for mattresses with breathability, so that they’re not too hot or cold.
10. Give your toddler some responsibility
You might not believe it, but kids love being told what to do, so make them part of their own bedtime routine. Ask for their help drawing the bath, let them pick the book they want you to read (hide the long ones, they’ll go for those first!), and let them choose their pajamas. Their inclusion in bedtime routine will help them to reconcile the fact it’s time to go to sleep. That can only be a good thing.
Getting your baby to inherit a healthy and consistent bedtime routine can be difficult, but it’s well worth the effort it takes. Once your toddler is in their routine, it’s going to make your life so much easier. You’ll get a little bit of your own life.
Here at Car Beds, we create functional furniture that makes bedtime exciting again. They’ll help you make bedtime exciting and comfortable, and can be incorporated as part of a healthy bedtime routine.
We cater to a range of budgets, to help you find the best night time solution. Form more information, browse our website.