Toddlers like to push the boundaries where ever they can and bedtime with a toddler can be a huge battle of wills between you and your child. But this is a battle you need to win, as an over-tired toddler is even more difficult to manage!
Here's some tips for a stress free toddler bedtime:
1. You need a simple routine you can follow every night, so your toddler always knows what to expect. Dinner, Bath, Milk, 3 stories and bed works well.
2. Start your stories no later than 6.40pm, so you are ready for sleep time at 7pm. Any later and your child will get a 'second wind' and become revved up!
3. Children often like the same stories every night or have a favourite. Let them choose the stories as they need to have a sense of control.
4. Don't negotiate!
5. Get the bedroom ust right - night light on, soft music or white noise, comfortable temperature, your child will be warm enough even if they kick off their bedding.
6. Have some nice one on one cuddles before lights out time, particularly if your child goes to daycare or you have more than one child....often they are desperate for this quiet time with you.
7. Then decde on your plan of attack and stick with it. There are many settling techniques for toddlers...they all work eventually if you stick to ONE plan. Trying everything once does not work, confuses your child and will give you an ulcer.
8. Tell your child they need to lie down on their pillow and stay in bed. If they get out of bed, you will shut the door. Follow up on this consistently....most children don't like the door closed and the threat of this can be enough. If they protest at the door being closed, ignore then for at least 5 minutes.
9. Know the next step of your plan! You may choose to use 'verbal reassurance', checking in at the door every 5/10/15 minutes and stating calmly 'It's bedtime. Get into bed and go to sleep'. 10. Or read our information on gentle sleep training techniques for toddlers. if they are calm and stay in bed with you there, try gradually moving your chair away from the bed over a few nights.
10. BE CONSISTENT & FIRM!!!! Don't chop and change what you do. Don't give in after your child gets up a couple of times.... The longer you take to tackle this, the harder it will be.