You’ve buckled your helmet, covered yourself in full battle gear and are now in search mode for your toddler. Bedtime battle has only just begun. Bedtime can involve many challenges, draining energy from parents.
Research studied by the Baby Center, suggests unhealthy sleep patterns reveal parents’ frustration and can affect “everything from speech to decision making.” Bedtime can be made easier, using these simple steps to eliminate the nightmare.
Every Hour Counts
Healthier sleeping habits lead to healthier toddlers, as suggested by The National Sleep Foundation. “Sleep is especially important for children as it directly impacts mental and physical development,” on the NSF website, parents have access to a tool suggesting sleep time most beneficial to your toddler’s development. Including naps, your toddler should be getting 11-14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. Having a talk with your childcare provider about your toddler’s daytime napping habits, will help plan your nighttime routine.
Have a Routine
Skipping bedtime routines can be a huge mistake for parents. Consistency helps develop healthy sleeping patterns. Set a specific time to go to sleep, guaranteed to stay the same. Once your toddler picks up the pattern, she will start getting prepared for bedtime on her own. When you notice bedtime approaching, some experts suggest giving your toddler a bedtime option can serve as a useful tool. One simple option: “Would you like to go to bed now, or in five minutes?” Allowing your toddler to have a choice will make her feel involved in going to bed, rather than being ordered to do so.
Pre-bedtime activities, such as reading or singing to your toddler, can help set a calming tone. Bedtime is a time for winding down, which is why a routine will help your child understand the importance of going to sleep. Encourage a stuffed animal or sleeping aid, as suggested in 7 tips for a good night’s rest. If your toddler wakes up during the night the stuffed animal acts as a soothing aid, making him feel at ease with falling back to sleep on his own. See the Better Beginning’s resource page for additional ideas.
Earlier is Better than Later
While starting to wind down, you happen to see your toddler rubbing her eyes and yawning. You ask if she is tired, but the immediate response is “no”. Often, toddlers want to stay awake with parents or older siblings. One Little Rock mother of two says, “Bedtime usually involves one of my toddlers, or me crying.” The National Sleep Foundation suggests that a deeper, more peaceful rest is created by starting the bedtime routine before your toddler is sleepy.
If your toddler has trouble going to sleep, remain calm. The atmosphere created by emotional frustration can be disruptive to your routine, only making situations worse. Talk with your child about the importance of sleep and set a bedtime routine together.
Bottom line, know how much sleep your toddler should get, set and maintain a routine and avoid temper tantrums caused by waiting too long. Feel secure with putting your heavy armor away tonight, by trying these tips for a successful bedtime without battles. Visit our resource page for more information.