Toddlers are so cute until it’s time for bed. Parents around the world can agree that bedtime is arguably one of the most difficult times. All of a sudden your cute little kid has turned into a full-blown, overtired monster. Establishing a peaceful bedtime for your child is key to eliminating the stress during bedtime. Follow these suggestions for creating a bedtime routine that will work for your toddler.
Toddlers need 10-12 hours of sleep every night. The recommended bedtime for children one to three years old is 7pm-9pm, and most children in this age group wake up between 6am-8am. Just like adults, you should stick to the same bedtime every night, including weekends. The first step in making a bedtime routine is to make a plan and stick with it.
Toddlers have an endless amount of energy–seriously–they do! At least an hour before bed, you should start to have them unplug and wind down. Turn off cartoons or games on the iPad, and do something relaxing with your child such as reading a book or talking about their day. Another great idea is to have bath time before bed because it can be relaxing and signals that bedtime is happening soon.
While you are in the wind-down mode, keep the lights low, the music soft, and definitely turn off electronics or TVs. If your toddler likes to listen to music while falling asleep, choose some tunes that are only instrumental.
Once they have started to wind down, take care of essential bedtime business. Brush teeth, put on pajamas, and pick out a story to read in bed. These essential actions are a clear sign that it is time for bed. If your toddler is potty-trained, have them use the bathroom one final time before bed, and if they ask for water, only give them a small amount so they don’t drag out the evening or delay bedtime. Older toddlers will try every excuse in the book to avoid bedtime.
For toddlers two to three years of age, it’s acceptable to leave a nightlight on while they are asleep. At this age, they occasionally wake up at night, looking for their parents. They can become disoriented or scared if they awaken in total darkness. For younger children, the light can be distracting. Do what works best for your child because everyone is different.
Enjoy the extra cuddles and the bonding time with your toddler as you establish a peaceful bedtime routine.