Sleep is especially important for toddlers – it’s their time to grow, rest, and recharge for another day of fun. As a parent, getting your child to sleep can quickly turn into a battle of resistance and refusal to settle down. Here are some helpful toddler bedtime routine habits to help you put your child to bed in no time.
Like much else with kids, consistency is key. Not only does consistency build memory and retention skills, but it also gives your child something to look forward to. While routines are optional as a child, it’s important to get them used to following one, so it comes as less of a struggle to them as they grow up. Having a consistent bedtime marks an important daily event that other activities can be scheduled around, such as a bedtime routine leading an hour up to actually going to sleep.
Ensuring your child is in a comfortable sleeping environment is a great way to get them to settle down and get ready to sleep. Doing things like dimming the lights, adjusting the temperature and plugging in a night light can set the tone for bedtime. Also, make sure their bed is comfy and their sheets are warm. If your toddler gets anxious in the dark or from being alone, try hanging up a dream catcher to take away the bad dreams or putting up a nice picture of mom and dad for them to see.
Pre-bedtime baths can be a fun, calming activity to prepare your toddler for bedtime. The warm water soothes while some toddler-safe bubbles create an enticing activity that won’t get your child riled up. This can also be a great time to talk to your toddler about their day or sing songs. A good close to bath time is helping your child pick out their favorite pajamas to wear to sleep. Try giving them some choices to pick from to reduce the risk of them acting out when they feel they’re being bossed around.
Reading bedtime stories to or with your toddler can be a magical experience in which you get to watch your child’s imagination and reading skills flourish. Choose a specific spot where you can get cozy together and read some books of your child’s choosing (as long as the themes are all sleepy-time themed or relaxing). Once again, giving them some options can help the process go a lot smoother for toddlers who can become a little resistant or picky.
While this may be one of the hardest things to do as a parent, it’s crucial that you teach your child to fall asleep on their own. If your child cries or gets lonely quickly, try giving them a special stuffed animal so they can have a piece of you while you’re away. Finally, give your toddler a goodnight kiss with the promise to see them in the morning. If they still become upset about you leaving, simply tell them you’ll come and check on them in a bit. Chances are, when you come back, they’ll be fast asleep. Voila! Job well done.
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