Parents of toddlers know the struggle of implementing a bedtime routine and sticking to it, or trying to get their kids into bed unsuccessfully, and whatever sleep woes that are added to the mix. Sometimes the solution is easy, a key that when triggered unfolds with it a smooth regiment. But what if in this particular case they were many minor things we can do to ensure a relatively easy transition to bed?
I rounded up 8 basic strategies that I have through trial and error found to be the most effective:
1. Allow toddlers to play, run, and jump and do what it takes to spend that extra energy they have. The more they have fun during the day the less energy they will have for jumping on the bed and monkeying around at night.
2. The common myth is that you shouldn’t allow kids to nap during the day so they can sleep early at night isn’t true. In fact an overtired child will have difficulty falling asleep and will generally have a bad mood.
3. Teach your toddler to love his room. Let him play and read there, on the floor or in his bed, and in this way he will learn that the bedroom isn’t only for things he dislikes (sleep) but also for having fun.
4. Create a calm environment before bedtime, dim the lights if possible, close the curtains, turn of extra lights in other rooms and turn down the TV. This will help children understand the difference between day and night.
5. Stick to the same sleep time every night, even during holidays. Routine is key and helps their bodies and minds expect the sleep/wake cycle. This sometimes is hard to implement but at least try to keep sleep time as consistent as possible.
6. Kids very often are unable to fall asleep due to hunger but they are unaware and unable to express this need. Offer a light dinner or snack before bedtime so their bodies will be fueled for longer stretches of sleep.
7. We all know that once kids are in bed they start to ask for many things including water. Take note of their requests and integrate them in the bedtime routine instead of every few minutes going into their room when they call for you and seeing what they want.
8. Don’t frown upon security objects to help them fall asleep. These can be a blanket, a doll, a plush toy or anything your child finds comfort in.