5 tips for an Easy Toddler Bedtime Routine //
Neither of my children were good sleepers as babies. It’s one of those things that I was alwasy really resentful of. A new mom needs a lot of rest, and I was hardly getting any rest, let alone “lots.” Hearing about other moms experiences with their kdis sleeping through the night as soon as they were home from the hospital or, heck, anytime in that first year?? It felt like a slap in the face.
But if there’s one thing that can be said about life with kids, it’s that nothing is constant. Thank goodness, am I right?!
We’ve had a bit of luck in the toddler sleep department, that’s for sure. But I know that not everyone has toddlers that are good sleepers. So I’m sharing the 5 tips that have really worked for us.
1. Establish a regular evening meal time. It may seem silly, but we’ve been incredibly consistent about the time of day our kiddos eat their last meal and this beginning of the ‘wind down’ hours has helped to create some stability at the end of crazy days. It really sets the initial boundary and start of ‘bedtime’ when they recognize that
2. Create a way to get the sillies out. For us, it’s a game of ‘attack daddy’ or tickle the kiddos. They love it and it gets that last bit of any pent up energy out of their systems. Also? It’s super fun for everyone.
3. Connect with your kids. I’m with my kids all day long, but it’s hard to truly be present all of the time. So my husband and I find a way to connect with each of our kids for at least a half hour every night, whether it be by talking about our day and what we did, or by doing an activity with them. It gives them what they crave — attention — and it helps to recenter us for the evening as well. It’s a win-win for everyone!
4. Limit television in the evenings. Children can be so overstimulated with the bright lights of a giant television screen, so after 6:30 PM, we really limit the use of TV. Luckily both of our kids are huge fans of reading books, so we generally settle in with a book and some snuggles.
5. Do not let them get overtired. One would think that completely wearing a child out means that bedtime will be easy peasy, right? Wrong. Ohhh, so wrong. Learn to sense when your child has had enough and make the move for bed right then. Do not wait. Do not give it more time. I’ve learned that toddlers easily go from tired to overtired, and they become restless. And bedtime will become increasingly difficult.
Bottom line — it won’t always be easy to stick to this kind of routine, but it will be worth it. I promise. I’ve come to terms that I’m not always the popular friend because my evening routine is dictated by two tiny (and very demanding, very cute,) humans; but this is the best way to make it through the tough sleep stuff of the toddler years.
What are your thoughts?? What else would you suggest to ease the pain of toddler bedtime routines?!
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