Toddler bedtimes can be either laughter and giggles or tears and tantrums. The right bedtime routine for your little one can make all the difference. Moreover, when there is a change in the established daytime routine, the nights can get tougher. Putting our daughter to bed is not the easiest task in the world. Especially since my husband started working late night shifts and leaves home around her bedtime. However, we’ve found a few sleep tips that work for us and make bedtime a happy and peaceful time, minus the tears and tantrums.
Start the Unwinding and Relaxing an Hour Before Bedtime. Earlier, we would get into bedtime-mode around half an hour before actually getting into bed. However, with the change in routines, it became essential to push that up a little and start unwinding and preparing for sleep an hour before bedtime. This had two results. One, she was so calm and relaxed by the time the husband let himself out the door, that she would drift off to sleep. Two, she enjoyed the extra half an hour of cuddling and snuggling. And truth be told, so did I. ***smiling***
Keep All Possible Bedtime Thwarters at Hand. Bedtime thwarters for us include “ Mommy, I want a glass of water”, “ Mommy, read me XYZ story” and, “I miss Dolly”. They will be different for your li’l one. The idea is to preempt and prepare. So, I go into the room with a glass of water, her favorite doll and her favorite story book (The Magic Porridge Pot). Since we sleep together, each time she gets up asking for water, dolly or book, I just hand her what she wants and close my eyes. It works like a charm. She thinks I’ve gone back to sleep, is obviously not interested in something that she already has and so, goes back to sleep herself.
Choose Appropriate Bedtime Reading. While our daughter loves The Magic Porridge Pot and has me read it to her every night, I also have a few classic bedtime books that end with, you guessed it, bedtime! Goodnight Moon
is a favorite and so is Good Night God.
In other words, choose the right kind of books to read before bedtime and you’ll send the right message. I also make sure that we don’t read bedtime books at any other time.
Goodnight Rituals. We have a few good-night rituals. Funny as they are, they help to make our daughter understand that its time for bed and even though, Papa has to go to work, we have to go to bed. The first is saying “hello” to the Moon and the stars and telling them to watch over us as we sleep. The other is saying “goodnight” to all her toys (collectively) and the different rooms in the house. Goodnight rituals have really worked to help her deal with the change in routine.
Things are so much easier at bedtime now that we have these routines and rituals in place. Our daughter sleeps happily and wakes up bright and cheery. Change can be tough to deal with, especially when you are a toddler with very little control over what goes around you. Make it easy by using a few simple sleep tips to resolve most bedtime issues.
I’d love to hear from you about your favorite toddler bedtime strategy? What works best to make your little one’s bedtime happy and calm?
Photo Credit: Benedict Francis