By the end of the day, you’re wiped out. But your energetic toddler is still up and about — and fighting your every attempt at getting him to sleep.
It’s normal for toddlers to resist bedtime. They want to continue the fun, and they don’t want to separate from you. But getting enough sleep is essential for your toddler’s healthy development, not to mention your sanity. Here’s how to help your child slow down, switch gears, and head off into the Land of Nod.
Create a routine
Start each night with a relaxing routine that will set the stage for going to sleep. Changing into pajamas, brushing his teeth, and washing his face every night will help establish that these are the things that happen before bedtime. Other calming activities include listening to quiet music, reading a story, or giving him a bath. Resist the urge to play with your toddler at this hour, since it will only get him more excited than relaxed.
Stick with the same routine every night, so your toddler learns to expect that bedtime is coming. Soon he’ll know what’s expected of him, too.
Make it comfortable
Let your child take her beloved teddy bear or blanket to bed with her. Allow one drink of water. Turn on a nightlight before closing the door. Taking care of your toddler’s
comforts will make it easier for her to relax — and give her fewer excuses for climbing out of bed again.
Pause before answering a call
Children this age are likely to call out to you after you leave the room. Resist the urge to respond every time your toddler cries out, and wait several seconds before answering. With each time she calls for you, wait a few seconds longer, which will give her the chance to fall asleep before you respond. When you do answer, remind her that it’s bedtime. If you go into her room, don’t turn on the light or stay too long.
Teaching a toddler good sleep habits doesn’t happen overnight. And it isn’t easy, since toddlers love your companionship. But keep doing the same thing every night. Eventually, your toddler will learn to go along with the plan.