Any parent of a toddler knows all too well that getting them down to sleep for the night can be a tricky proposition. Here are four easy ideas to help make things go a bit more smoothly at bedtime.
1. Have a consistent bedtime routine. You’ve probably heard a lot about the value of a routine for babies, but they’re just as important for your growing toddler. Bedtime routines create a sense of predictability and security that young children thrive on. Consistency from night to night is essential to help your little one be able to recognize that bedtime is approaching and know how many steps are left until it’s time. Remember to make the time calm and relaxing to make sure that the end result is winding down versus winding up from excited play.
2. Create a chart showing each step of the bedtime routine and make it interactive so your child can mark one off as it is completed. Try using pictures to represent each step like a bathtub, toothbrush, a book, and finally the crib or bed. If your little one likes stickers, print out a new chart for each week and let her add a sticker for each step for that day. You can also try turning it into a magnet board by attaching your chart to a cookie sheet and letting your child advance the magnet for each step.
3. Help your child feel a sense of independence at bedtime by offering regular choices in the routine. Let them pick out their pjs or the book that you will read that night. The key to keeping things moving and preventing them from getting overwhelmed by providing limited options like a choice between only two sets of pajamas or 2-3 books.
4. If your child is already fully potty trained but tries to stall bedtime by asking to go to the bathroom repeatedly, try using a hall pass. This strategy works best if you actually have a physical object to act as the pass and it should be taken away for the night once used. This also works well for excessive and unnecessary bathroom requests overnight and allows your little love the chance to start thinking more about the consequences of their decisions.
Not sure how to teach your preschooler to sleep independently? I’m happy to help you with a plan that creates real change as well as the support to see it through. Reach out through my contact form to set up your free sleep evaluation call.