As your baby enters the toddler phase, you’re going to find that they want to do absolutely everything. Toddlers are curious little things who are experiencing the world for the first time and continue having every sense stimulated. Toddlers are also becoming physically active and wanting to move around more and more. All of this excitement and moving around means that your toddler needs a lot of sleep to ensure they have all the energy they require for loving life.
However, because toddlers are so excitable and don’t want to miss out on the action, they tend not to look forward to bedtime. Toddlers require about 10-12 hours of sleep overnight. They also may need some daytime naps for an hour or two, depending on what they’re doing that day. The best quality sleep happens between 8pm and midnight. This is why toddlers should be settled in bed by no later than 7.30pm so that their brains can enter solid REM sleep.
Getting your toddler into bed at this hour can be a challenge. Parents often struggle with the bedtime routine and send their toddlers to bed in a bad mood due to their stubbornness. This is obviously something that wants to be avoided, and here are some tactics on how you can do that.
1. Develop A Routine
Starting a routine from the toddler years’ early stages will save you a lot of grief further down the track. A routine helps to settle your toddler and give them preparation for the sleep that is going to occur. The best routines are something that your toddler looks forward to and gets excited knowing it’s going to happen before bed. Some ideas for bedtime routines include:
2. Enjoy a calm dinner as a family
- Take a warm bath and rug up in a cozy towel
- Put on pajamas
- Have a drink of milk
- Brush teeth, singing a song at this point can be helpful too
- Read a story
- Get into bed with a special sleep toy or blanket
3. Work As A Team
As a family, sleep should be a priority. If your toddler understands that everyone has a set bedtime, it will make it easier for your toddler to accept when they need to go to bed. You can do this by having a visual aid such as a chart where everyone’s bedtime and wake up time is listed.
Between you and your partner, you also need to agree with strategies to cope with your toddler waking up and becoming unsettled through the night. These strategies also apply to getting your toddler into bed if something like a tantrum does occur. Having you and your partner on the same page about bedtime will help your toddler understand that it is not an optional thing and they can’t get away with anything between parents.
4. Create A Positive Environment
Your toddler’s bedroom should be a happy place where they enjoy sleeping. A sleep toy or a blanket is often a good comfort thing for a toddler to have. Also, a nightlight can be a really good idea as this gives your toddler reassurance that they are not completely alone in the dark. Playing soft lullabies on a timed CD is also beneficial to help calm your toddlers’ brain.
Also, pay attention to what your toddler is wearing and how many blankets they have, ensuring this is weather appropriate. You don’t want your child overheating or being too cold through the night, so always keep this in mind when getting ready for bed
5. Be Vigilant
Toddlers are cunning little things and will often get up multiple times before they are completely asleep. They might come out of their room asking for one last hug or one last story, or something to eat or drink. If you give in on these things, they will develop a negative routine of believing they can get away with this.