How to Get a Toddler to Sleep

If you’re a parent, then you have more than likely experienced at least a few nightly struggles when trying to put your fussy toddler to bed. You’ve turned on the nightlight, read a million storybooks, gotten them water, and still, they don’t want to go to bed. What are you supposed to do? Many parents face bedtime battles at one point or another with their little ones, but there is no need to give up hope. You can do plenty to help ensure that your precious baby can get a full night’s rest. 

Related: How to Get a Baby to Sleep Through the Night

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Why Do Toddlers Have Trouble Going to Sleep?

There are many reasons why toddlers have trouble sleeping, but there are plenty of things that you can do to help them relax and send them off to dreamland. Here are some of the main issues that toddlers face when trying to sleep that parents should be aware of. 

Stress or overexcitement

Whether they are wound up from roughhousing, TV, or a bunch of sugar, an overexcited toddler who doesn’t want to sleep is a force to be reckoned with. Be sure to keep an eye on things that could get your child worked up too close to bedtime and remove them from your baby’s presence at least a few hours before it’s time to sleep. You can also help them calm down with a bath, bedtime story, or snuggles before it’s time to go down for bed.

Screen time

AAP, otherwise known as the American Academy of Pediatrics has come out to strongly discourage the use of computer games or TV for babies, especially before bedtime. Not only has screentime been linked to various behavior and health problems in young children, but it can also be incredibly stimulating and distracting, even if it’s only on in the background. Banning screen time for at least one hour before bed can help children fall asleep easier. 

Extremely tired

Ironically, it can be tough for babies and toddlers to sleep if they are overtired. But what’s even stranger is that they are likely to be buzzing with adrenaline if this is the case. Make sure your baby is getting between 11 and 14 hours of sleep per day. Otherwise, they will likely be overtired and experience a lot of issues when trying to sleep.

Related: Why Does My Baby Cry So Much?

Not tired

If your little one isn’t tired come bedtime, it may be because their nap is now taking place too late in the day. Try pushing forward their last daytime nap to give them plenty of rest-inducing playtime before bed. This can help them avoid a sudden surge of nighttime energy that will keep them awake past bedtime.

Not feeling well

It can be very difficult to sleep when you’re sick or not feeling well, and this is especially the case for young children. Extra cuddles, hugs, and special requests for stories and basic activities are ok if your little one isn’t feeling well. Just make sure that you go back to your regular sleeping routine as soon as possible once they are feeling better. 

Strange bed

It can be difficult to get a quality night’s sleep in an unfamiliar place if you’re an adult, but little kids often have a much harder time with this. If you’re away from home with your child, at some point, bedtime will probably become a whatever-works proposition between the two of you. But be sure that you return to your normal routine once you’re back home.

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How to Get a Toddler to Sleep

A little girl sleeping with her stuffed bear.

With all of these issues that can impede a toddler’s ability to sleep, what’s a parent to do? A whole lot, as it turns out. Parents can use a wide range of strategies to help their little ones get a good night’s sleep, even if they are overstimulated or in an unfamiliar environment for the night. Here are some of the top five tips that parents can make use of to help get their toddler down for bedtime.

Calm environment

Set up a calming environment at least 30 minutes to an hour before it’s your toddler’s bedtime. Give them a relaxing bath, read them a story or two, and avoid stimulating activities like TV, movies, or roughhousing. You can also dim the lights or play some soft music to help them relax.


Ensure that your child wakes up, takes naps, and goes to bed at the same time each day. Routines are important for children to follow, especially when it comes to their sleep schedule. Also, be sure that their naps are spread out enough throughout the day so they won’t interfere with bedtime.  

No food and drink before bedtime

Avoid giving your toddler drinks and snacks before bedtime. Water is fine if your little one is thirsty, but other things like juice and milk can cause baby bottle tooth decay.


It’s alright to snuggle with your toddler for a bit if they run to your room because of a nightmare, but be sure to put them back into their own bed once they have fully calmed down. Surround them with fluffy blankets and pillows to comfort them and make them feel safe so they can learn how to fall back asleep on their own.

Tuck them in

Tuck your child into bed while they are sleepy but still awake and able to understand what’s happening. This will help teach them how to put themselves to bed in the future. 

Related: Best Subscription Box for Babies

Take-Home Message

A toddler sleeping in her car seat.

Getting your toddler down for bedtime is a struggle for many parents, but these tips and tricks should be able to help you maneuver through the process. However, there is still plenty more that you can do, like getting a monthly baby box. The best baby subscription box is 123 Baby Box where you can find items that will help you out during your little one’s nightly bedtime battles. 

Are you looking for some more ways to help your baby get a good night's rest? Take a look at 123 Baby Box or reach out to to find out more.

The awesome part is that you will get your first box free of the 6 month or annual plan. 

What to read next

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123 Baby Box is a subscription service that provides monthly boxes filled with products tailored for babies and toddlers.

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