Sleep is vital to young children’s development, so it’s important that they are getting between eleven and twelve hours sleep every night. Establishing a bedtime routine is therefore essential and will not only benefit your child but yourself, as a parent too.
Get your toddler off to sleep with a good bedtime routine.
Start off your child’s bedtime routine with a relaxing bath. Sitting in a warm bath will soothe your toddler and ease him or her into bedtime. It will also give you or your partner the opportunity to spend some quality time with your little one.
If your child doesn’t enjoy baths or finds them too exciting, it may be better to leave them out of the bedtime routine and instead move onto the next step.
Establish a getting-ready-for-bed routine
Creating a little routine for your toddler will help them to get to bed successfully. This routine should cover all of the things they need to do, such as washing their hands, brushing their teeth, having their nappy changed (or visiting the potty) and getting into their pyjamas. Try and give your little one a choice of the pyjamas they wear, as this will make going to bed more enjoyable for them.
Reading to your child is a great way to soothe them and get them ready to sleep.
Read them a bedtime story
Leading up to your child’s bedtime, it’s a good idea to get them to do something that is going to calm them down. Whilst playing with their toys might get them excited, reading a book to them is a great way to encourage them to wind down before bed. Do it every night and they will soon associate reading a bedtime story with going to sleep.
Have a chat
If the bedtime story doesn’t send them off to sleep, you may want to think about having a little chat with your toddler. Bedtime is the perfect opportunity for you to review their day and tell them something they did really well, which will leave them feeling positive before they go to sleep.
Ask your child to tell you about their day and check there is nothing that’s worrying them. Talking to them is a great way to increase their vocabulary and ensure there is nothing that is going to prevent them from having a good night’s sleep.
Some parents also like to say prayers with their child at this point.
Turning off the lights
When it’s time for you to leave your toddler in bed, give them a cuddle, say night night and then turn off the lights. If they are scared of the dark, you can switch on a night-light, which will reassure them if they wake up in the night feeling anxious. Try and establish a simple routine for saying night and turning off the lights, so your little one knows exactly what to expect.
Having trouble sleeping?
If you are having trouble getting your toddler off to sleep, you may want to try singing them a lullaby. The sound of your voice will be something that calms him or her, therefore helping them to drift off into a peaceful sleep.
If singing doesn’t work, maybe try playing music. Choose calming sounds, such as the sea or something similar to soothe them to sleep. Try and only use music every now and then, so your child doesn’t become dependent on it to get them to sleep. It’s important that they learn to go to sleep on their own.
The key to a good bedtime routine is consistency. The more consistent you are, the more likely your child is to accept that this is the way things are done. What works for one family, may not work for another, so don’t worry about doing things slightly differently in your house. It’s all about what works for you and your kids.
Written by Carly Garrett