Having a toddler is one of the most joyous parts of our lives, but making sure they have a proper bedtime routine is essential for their health and development. Children are considered toddlers up through the age of three. They tend to grow fast, exhibit lots of energy, and start showing more independence as they develop.
During these younger growth years, their personality begins to take shape, and toddlers quickly become starters of new problems for parents. The “terrible twos” is an infamous quote by parents who have experienced the power struggles between themselves and the confidence-building toddler that wants to make their own choices.
One of the toughest challenges is getting your toddler to get to bed on time and getting them into a routine that they can stick with. Toddlers can sleep from 11 to 14 hours each day. Therefore having a set schedule helps them build a sense of security and helps them learn how to fall asleep on their own.
Today, we will look at the ultimate toddler bedtime routine to help your child develop good sleep habits now and in the future.
Let’s get started!
Related Links: How To Get Babies To Sleep Through The Night
Turn Off the TV and Dim House Lights
Turning off the TV and dimming the house lights will help your toddler relax by reducing the stimulation coming from the TV and the brightness that can irritate them and cause disruptions when trying to put them to sleep.
Relaxing the mind and creating a peaceful environment for your toddler is the precursor to a good night's sleep and makes it easier to get your child to fall asleep right before you put them down to bed.
The Ultimate Toddler Bedtime Routine
A toddler’s bedtime routine should include a bath, humming a sweet lullaby, putting on pajamas, maybe a few bedtime stories, and finally putting them to bed. All of this should be done while having the lights dimmed and any other stimulating objects turned off.
Even though your toddler may not be talking yet, it’s still a great idea to speak to them and let them hear your voice. If you have an older toddler that can already speak, you can talk about how both of your days were and what were the best or most fun parts of that day.
You may be surprised at what you can find out from a toddler at such a young age. Chatting lets them express their fears and anxieties about things, which can help them sleep better at night.
Play a Game
Playing games is a nice way to spend time right before your toddler goes to bed. It doesn’t have to be anything overstimulating and can be something as simple as pointing out pictures of animals in a book or playing patty-cake.
If your toddler is a little older and can handle a small puzzle or a matching-type game, this can be a relaxing way to get them into bedtime.
Give Them a Bath
As adults, we enjoy warm baths, and toddlers, most of the time, love them too. Warm baths are soothing and enjoyable and can be fun for both you and your toddler. Toys like rubber duckies and wind-up toys can be fun and create a positive association with baths and bedtimes.
But occasionally, you may get the toddler who doesn’t like to take baths. If this is the case, just skip it as part of the bedtime routine and perform bathtime in the morning instead.
Brush Their Teeth
Everyone is a little different as an adult in how much time they spend brushing their teeth. You probably didn’t realize that these adult habits started long before you might remember.
If you have good teeth-brushing habits, your parents probably started a routine of brushing your teeth before you went to bed when you were a toddler.
Get Changed Into Bed Clothes
As part of your toddler’s regular bedtime routine, get in the habit of changing your toddler’s pajamas and help them feel confident in using the bathroom, so it promotes potty training at the same time.
You can offer your toddler a few choices of pajamas to help them build independence and confidence in their daily routine.
Sing a Lullaby
Oh, how much we all love lullabies. So sweet. So tender and soothing. Lullabies are a traditional way parents have always helped coax their toddlers to sleep. The sweet sound of a mother’s voice can quickly create comfort and relaxation in your child.
At this stage in your child’s life, your voice is vitally important to their feelings of safety, comfort, and confidence. Even though you don’t believe you can sing or hum well, your child won’t know the difference. So sing away!
Read Them a Story
Reading stories is a great way to share new words, laugh about pictures, point out new objects on the page and simply bring to life words on a page for your child.
This is another opportunity to give your toddler the power of choice by letting them choose a book that they would like you to read. You may find yourself reading the same book repeatedly, but this repetition helps your toddler learn words and meanings.
Bedtime routine Establishing Dos and Don’ts
We’ve talked about establishing a healthy bedtime routine, but there are a few things NOT to do during this time. They are outlined briefly below:
- Make sure not to have loud noises or stimulating devices on while trying to put your child to sleep.
- Keep the bedtime routine short.
- Don’t let your toddler have any foods that can keep them up, such as sugary snacks or caffeine.
- If your child is having issues with their sleep routine now, these won’t go away unless you get out in front of them now. Don’t wait to get on top of the issues because it can cause more problems down the road when they get a little older.
- Make sure everything about their bedtime routine is positive. Try not to associate anything negative with their routine. This will make them uneasy about falling asleep, and they will fight you every step of the way.
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Related Links: Calming Songs To Sing To Your Baby
We hope that this toddler bedtime routine can help develop the healthy sleeping habits needed for your child to grow into a strong, confident, and independent person. For more great advice and to learn about our 123 Baby Boxes for busy moms, visit our website today and get started!