Tips for Getting Your Toddler to Bed
By Randi Morse
When nighttime comes, there is nothing more enjoyable than putting your child to bed and enjoying a bit of peace and quiet. Quiet, however, is often hard to come by if you have a toddler. It is not uncommon for a toddler to resist going to bed, and there are many reasons why they do. Often it boils down to control. Children have so little control over their lives, they want to wrestle away any amount of control they can get, to the detriment of their parents' sanity. If your sweet angel becomes a demon at bedtime, try utilizing this bedtime routine.
Make sure your child knows when bedtime is. For toddlers, a visual aid is best. Buy a cheap analog clock from the store and section out different parts of it to help show your child what is expected of them at what time. You might mark down bedtime by coloring a blue wedge between six and seven. Then explain to your toddler that when the little hand is in the blue area, it's time to get the bedtime routine started.
Create a Routine
Creating a routine allows your toddler to wind down after a long, active day. A bedtime routine might start with taking a bath. Make the bath a calm time, with gentle play and soothing tones. Some parents use lavender scented lotions or bath products to help relax their toddler. Once bath time is over, dress your toddler in pajamas and head into the bedroom to settle down. Don't allow them to go play or watch television as it will start to ramp up their energy again. Try cuddling up and reading a book instead. After a few stories, tuck them into bed, tell them "goodnight baby," and leave the room.
When Problems Happen
If your toddler gets out of bed, pick them up, place them back in bed and say, "Goodnight." If they get out of bed again, simply pick them up and place them back in bed. Don't engage with your child if they continue to get out of bed, just pick them up and place them back in bed. They may cry and have a tantrum, but don't engage. After awhile they'll realize that they're not getting your attention and will go to sleep. Do this for a week and your child will develop healthy bedtime habits, going to bed and going to sleep when it's time.
Consistency is key with the bedtime routine, especially when it comes to toddlers. Stay consistent with your routine and your expectations and you'll be able to put your toddlers to bed and truly enjoy the calm and quiet that you've earned.
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