Babies are one thing, toddlers are another. And if you’re a parent to a toddler you’ll know what I mean! On the one hand you can reason with a toddler a little more than you can with a baby. You can offer explanations and you can rewards good bedtime habits accordingly. But one fact still remains: a good bedtime routine is just as important (if not more so ) for toddlers as it is for babies. Read on to find out why.
Why do toddlers need a bedtime routine?
Just like babies, and just like adults, toddlers thrive on routine. And the more inquisitive your toddler, the more likely he is to want to know what is happening next and why. So a good bedtime routine is essential. It helps to keep order to the proceedings and it helps to establish good bedtime habits for life.
A toddler who has a good bedtime routine is more likely to settle down for sleep at an appropriate time and is more likely to respond well to gentle sleep training techniques too. And let’s not forget that a good routine is essential for you too. Parents need a little time off now and then, and if you know that your toddler has a good bedtime routine and will be safely tucked up by a certain time you’re more likely to achieve a happy balance in life.
What a good bedtime routine looks like
It can vary depending on your family and what your needs are but in general, a good bedtime routine might look something like this:
6.30 pm- bath/ shower/ wind down quiet time
7.15pm lights out for sleep
Simple, yes? Obviously, tweak this as much as you need to so that it works for you. And as long as you are consistent in the order of events, you don’t need to worry so much about timings. If you’re a little out one night don’t stress.
When your bedtime routine isn’t working
Toddlers can be feisty. And they like to be in control of situations that they are just not capable of being in control of. Bedtime is one such situation, and no matter how many times you explain that they can’t stay up late with you, sometimes they just won’t accept it! So if your bedtime routine is a little stressful right now, here are some tips you can try:
- Set a sensible bedtime, and allow your toddler to be part of the decision making. If he feels he’s had an input he is less likely to be controlled
- Make sure all is calm before you start the bedtime routine, so that your toddler is able to wind down and get ready for sleep
- Remind your toddler of what is happening next as you go through each stage of the routine
- If your toddler gets out of bed, gently remind him that its time to sleep, and return him to bed
- Praise your toddler for staying in bed and sleeping well
If you’re still struggling with your toddler at bedtime, the next post is going to tackle a few of the more common issues in a little more detail. Don’t miss it!
End the day well
No matter what has happened through the day, make sure that you end your day with your toddler on a positive note. Yes, toddlers are hard work… but they’re supposed to be. Don’t let whatever has stressed you out be carried on to bedtime. Do your routine, say goodnight and start the next day afresh.
What are your top tips for toddlers at bedtime?