Taking Control of Bedtime With Your Toddler

ChildrensMedicalGroup Pediatricians Hudson Valley

When the sun sets, a flip is switched in many toddlers and bedtime becomes a parent’s nightmare. Whether your child doesn’t want to go to sleep because another sibling is still awake or they want one bedtime story after the other, here are our tips to a calmer nighttime.

Set a consistent routine
Helping your child wind down when the day is over helps them feel more inclined to get into bed. When they understand the routine every night, they know when it’s time to say goodnight. Reading a story or excerpt from a longer book is useful when the expectation is consistent every night. Other parts of the routine could include playing soothing music and taking a bath. Avoid playful activities that can excite your child.

Limit co-sleeping
Oftentimes, toddlers who are difficult during bedtime act this way because of separation anxiety from their caretaker. Co-sleeping can set an expectation that will be a hard habit to break down the line, so allot the time they need to say goodnight to you. Making sure they are comfortable will help. A nightlight or their favorite teddy bear can make them feel less alone.

Pick your battles
By not returning to your child’s room every time they call, you are enabling them to learn independence. It can be useful to wait several seconds before answering, as they often fall asleep on their own. If they are persistent make sure to remind them it is bedtime and avoid turning on the light.

Be patient
Toddlers are a handful, and test your reactions to gauge how much they can get away with. Persistence with these tips can teach them the appropriate way to act during bedtime. Be patient in using these tactics, and adjust to your child’s unique needs.

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