Bedtime may be the hardest time of the day for parents and their toddlers. Toddlers are so full of energy and curiosity. It’s hard to slow them down.
Toddlers need about 10 hours of sleep each night. They also need an afternoon nap. A good night’s sleep helps your child be alert and at his physical best the next day.
Try the following tips to help your toddler develop good sleep habits:
1. Talk about the next thing.
Talk to your child about the evening routine. Example: “Dinner time is soon. Play for a few minutes and then it’s bath time.” Ask him what book he wants to read tonight. Remind your child that bedtime is coming soon.
2. Bring down the activity level.
Videos close to bedtime cause too much stimulation. Don’t play with your child after his bath. Bath time starts the calming process. Simple and familiar books at bedtime help your toddler to wind down.
3. Start early.
Give yourself and your child time to enjoy the routine by starting early in the evening. Spend a little extra time when you tuck in your child. Talk about his day and plans for tomorrow.
4. Be consistent.
Stick to your routine. Make bedtime the same time every night. Even when you are away from home, keep to the same routine. If you are away from your child, make sure caregivers know your routine.
5. Do not let your child sleep in the same bed with you.
This can make it harder for him to fall asleep when he is alone.
6. Do not return to your child’s room every time he calls out.
Instead, try the following:
Wait a minute before going to his room. This gives him a chance to fall asleep on his own.
- Be reassuring, but don’t play or turn on the light.
- Remind him you are nearby. Each time you go to reassure him, do so from farther from the bed.
- Keep reminding him it’s time to go to sleep.
7. Be patient.
Tired as you may be, you are the most important person in your child’s life. Try to be understanding and not be negative toward your child.
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