Bedtime Routines for Toddlers

Toddlers certainly have their own ideas about what they want or don’t want.

Unfortunately, going to bed often falls into the “don’t want” category. Getting a cranky toddler to go to bed is no walk in the park.

The best thing you can do is to establish a bedtime routine for your toddler. Toddlers need routine to feel safe and also to learn their boundaries. It will take a little patience and perseverance, but gradually your toddler will start to cooperate. 

Here are a few ideas:

Give him soothing bath before bedtime - This could be considered one of the oldest and most successful bedtime routines for kids. A warm bath will soothe and help your toddler calm down before bed. You can add a little lavender or chamomile oil to help your little one relax. Try to keep things calm and don’t add too many toys to the bath. This is a time for your toddler to relax.

Toddlers love a good story – Your toddler loves listening to the sound of your voice. Engage her in a bedtime story to help her drift off to sleep. Also try making up stories instead of reading. Include your child as one of the characters and talk about things your child will find interesting. Regular bedtime stories and reading to your child will help influence her interests and develop her creativity. 

Sing a Lullaby – The long loved lullaby does just that, it helps lull babies and toddlers to sleep. Your voice and lulling rhythm of the song will give your toddler security and calm him down. You can also play soft music in their rooms. Just watch the reaction of your toddler. Sometimes even low music can stimulate or irritate very sleepy toddlers. 

Don’t Surprise Him – Not when it comes to bedtime. About 15 minutes before you start your bedtime routine, let your toddler know. Try not to say it’s time for bed in 15 minutes instead say it’s time for a story or a bath in 15 minutes. Some toddlers will automatically go into overdrive if they hear the word bed. 

Remind him again about 5 minutes before the time. You can also get him to help you tidy up the toys as a way of preparing for the next activity, the bedtime routine. Once it’s time to go, gently tell him that it’s time for a story or bath and help him to the bedroom. Your toddler may try to think of a million excuses or things she needs to do at this time but remain calm and insist that it’s time to go.

Don’t Rush Him – Toddlers really don’t like being rushed. As a fully fledged parent of a toddler you already know the patience you need to exhibit doing the simplest things like getting your toddler in and out of the car. Bedtime is no different. 

If you’re rushing and putting the emphasis on getting them to sleep then your toddler will pick up on that and lash out. Try to place the emphasis on spending quiet, quality time with your toddler. Allow yourself plenty of time so that you can get through the whole bedtime routine without rushing and be flexible and allow for little glitches in your routine. 

Don’t Give In – Speak to your toddler before hand about your new bedtime routine, warn him soon before the time. When it’s time be firm and consistent. Even the most reasonable of toddlers, will push their boundaries when allowed. It’s a normal part of growing up and development. Remember your toddler looks to you to make all the grownup and important decisions for him. 

Sleep is important for all of us and more so for young children. Be consistent in your bedtime routine and even if things don’t go well at first keep it up. If you’re consistent your toddler will eventually come around.