5 tips for an Easy Toddler Bedtime Routine //

July 29, 2017 in #MomLife,children,life with a toddler,mommyhood,parenthood,tips + tricks,toddler boys

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?! 

For more on sleep and parenting, visit Parenting the Principal!

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Deanna July 29, 2017 at 9:49 pm

My toddler was stalling so bad at bedtime I had to create a checklist for her. If she did everything on the checklist she got a sticker. If she got 7 stickers for the week she could pick out a small toy from the store. Totally worked!

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Angie August 1, 2017 at 5:23 am

I have always been a huge advocate for bedtime routines. You can tell when their routines get off a little bit because no one is happy. Great list! 🙂

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Belle August 1, 2017 at 11:38 am

These are such great tips! I found that sticking to a routine even when we’re traveling really helps!

Belle | One Awesome Momma

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Leighann August 1, 2017 at 3:01 pm

Yes to all of this! Especially getting the sillies out! We usually roll around and wrestle with the boys a bit to get out all the crazy/tire them out!

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Corey | The Nostalgia Diaries August 1, 2017 at 6:11 pm

This is something I still work on and my daughter is 6. She often gets overtired and then we struggle! Great tips.

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Nicole Banuelos August 1, 2017 at 7:19 pm

These are great tips! I don’t have much to add other than maybe a night time bath? My kids love taking baths any time of day but sometimes I feel like it helps get them ready for bed.

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Anna August 1, 2017 at 8:04 pm

Oh, I love the getting the sillies out! Such a great idea. Meal time routine and not getting them overtired are really important. Actually all of these are really great ideas!

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Erin August 1, 2017 at 9:34 pm

We have a loose routine for evenings. My kids do really well even if we throw off their night routine a little bit but it gives me peace of mind that there’s some sort of structure between the end of dinner before bedtime stretch.

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Tami Elizabeth August 1, 2017 at 10:05 pm

Yesssss! Great tips! Get the sillies out sis a definite must, and connecting- we always read books before bed with the lights dim 😊

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Annie Thompson August 2, 2017 at 8:37 am

My kids were horrible sleepers as babies too! My third is thankfully much better than the first two–thank God! These are great tips! I find that TV has a huge effect on it as well, and so we try to limit it after dinner. I have also found that lots of physical activity is a must for my kids!

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Katrina August 2, 2017 at 9:09 am

I need to get better with setting stricter dinner times so it leads to more timely bedtime. What time do you guys usually have dinner?

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Alfa Sengupta August 2, 2017 at 10:17 pm

OMG this list is so on point!! We live by the “don’t let our kids get over tired” rule and it’s done wonders for us!!

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MIchelle August 3, 2017 at 1:50 am

Ok this was a great post. All great tips and sadly I am not doing many of them. Our mealtime is all over the place, especially on the days that I work (t & w). We need to be better about a lot of these things

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Justine Y @ Little Dove August 3, 2017 at 12:06 pm

A regular routine is so important for us for a successful bedtime! We also limit our tv, no television after 4:00 pm unless we’re having a family movie night or something.

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