Bedtime can be a taxing time of day for parents and carers, everyone is tired and there’s a lot to do! Here are my tips for a calm toddler bedtime.
A calm toddler bedtime should include,
Routine – getting a routine in place at bedtime can really help your little one know what is expected of them. This helps keep everything on track. Have an idea of what time you are going to go to the bathroom. And what time you’re going to be getting your little ones out and dry. Try to keep ‘lights out’ to within a 20-minute window. If you’re aiming for 7 pm bedtime then between 6.50 pm and 7.10 pm is good.
Wind down time – If you can get your little one sitting down to listen to stories it’s a great way to unwind. A chat about their day works too. Some children love to run around until the last minute, let them be active and run off that last burst of energy. There’s not much point getting into an argument about it, especially before bed. You could still read a book to them during this time, you never know one day they might sit down and join you.
While you’re getting them ready,
Be consistent – make sure you and your partner are on the same page about what’s allowed and how long to allow for everything. Try to keep the rules the same to avoid your child having the wrong expectations.
Listen to your child – it’s hard for a child to get to sleep and sleep well if something is scaring them. If they are scared listen to what they tell you. For example give them a night light if they’d like one. Putting a hallway light on outside of the bedroom casts shadows in the room and can make the problem worse. A light in your child’s room is a much better idea. Some video games and TV programs can be scary, so take screens away an hour before bed. If your child is scared at night then check what they’re watching.
Manage screen use – I expect you know by now that the light that screens emit reduces melatonin production. This stops your child from feeling sleepy, making it harder for them to fall asleep. I know I’m being boring but don’t let them use screens in the hour before bed.
**Getting them out of the bath can become a battle. If your child enjoys bath time and hates getting out you could allow more time. If that’s not an option, try giving them a bath during the day at the weekend. My two used to love an afternoon bath topped up with jugs of warm water so that it didn’t get cold. Let them play for as long as they want to, and make an activity out of bath time, blow bubbles, or try some Gelly Baff. I used to put them in their pj’s for the rest of the day. This is great on a rainy afternoon.
I hope you found my tips for a calm toddler bedtime useful!