All parents are familiar with that glorious moment – the one where they can breathe a huge sigh of relief in the knowledge that their toddler has finally fallen asleep!
But why does it require such an uphill battle to reach this desired destination? Children’s behavioural experts ToddlersTeensAndBetween are offering their top tips to help smooth that transition for you and your little one into a calm and restful night’s sleep!
- Trial and error
Bedtime routines are not a case of one size fits all unfortunately. Explore, experiment and amend routines until you figure out what works best for the unique needs of your toddler. Plus, by allowing your little one a sense of control around bedtime you’ll make the transition to sleepytime much more quickly!
There are many ways to go about this, you can create a Visual Timetable which will help your little one feel a sense of involvement by being able to select and see their routine (Available to purchase for £3.99 from ToddlersTeensAndBetween)
Now that your little one is a toddler, there’s really no need to create a strict bath-to-bed routine that was necessary when they were a baby. Rather, if things aren’t working, try playing around with the normal routine and experimenting with what works. To try and hasten the process, allow your toddler to decide in what order they go through their bedtime routine before hitting the hay ie brushing their teeth before toilet and storytime and vice versa! We all know toddlers are experimenting with their boundaries and love to have a sense of control, so by giving them control (or at least letting them think they have it) you’re more likely to get them into bed quicker.
We also suggest moving bath time either a bit later or providing a little late pre-bed snack so they don’t go to bed hungry – which is frankly a recipe for disaster!
What’s important is what works for you, so explore, experiment and trust the process!
- Stimulate their imaginations to get them sleepy
Read an age-appropriate bedtime story and practice using different voices and expressions to get your little one engaged and excited by reading from a young age! If your child wants to read to you but their ability isn’t there yet, don’t discourage it, let them read the pictures and describe a story that’s in their mind. Creative writing stems from imagination and this is a great chance to get their creative juices flowing… as well as exhaust them mentally in preparation of a good night’s kip!
- Breathe into it
Calming breathing techniques can work wonders for getting your toddler to sleep. Build this into your little one’s routine and it will help them manage their reactions to overwhelming scenarios, as well as provide them with a calm end to a busy day!
- End the day on a positive note
Finally, end your toddler’s day with some positive affirmations! For example, something as easy and effective as ‘You are kind, you are strong, you are brave and you are capable!’ can be really empowering for your little one. Ask your Toddler to repeat those adjectives back to you with ‘I am’ at the start of the phrase – they can even add their own accompanying gesture. Adding this fun and inspiring element to your little one’s bedtime routine will help them unwind and signal that it’s time for sleep… as well as end the day on a positive note!
If you’d like more support with the wellbeing, mental health or behaviour of your child, get in touch with ToddlersTeensAndBetween on the AK expert page and book in a bespoke Troubleshooting Guidance Call today or subscribe to the Toddler course ‘The Younger Years’ HERE (between course released in spring 2022).