By age two, many toddlers have mastered the art of driving their parents crazy at bedtime. You're not alone if your little one has begun to demand numerous lullabies, request a glass of water that they barely touch, or insist on additional bedtime stories.
Toddlers are undeniably adorable. They’re so much fun, and just so curious and inquisitive that it’s really tough for them to shut their brains off at bedtime. It’s even worse when daylight hours stretch longer than usual, and the house is warmer. So, how do you get a toddler to quit stalling at bedtime, and secure a couple of precious hours to yourself?
Do you remember being little and having to go to bed while you were SURE that everyone else was up having a great time without you? Your toddler likely feels the same way. They don’t want to miss out on anything.
Sleeping is boring, and they’re certain that you will bust out the good treats (oh yes, they hear that bag of chips) and have all sorts of fun while they’re in bed, in the dark, all alone. In reality, you’re probably catching up on laundry while watching mindless tv, catching up on emails, or finally getting a chance to read the dusty novel that’s taken up residence on your bedside table.
If you’ve found that bedtime has become a long and drawn out process of extra drinks, kisses and stories you may want to try a few of these tricks.
Try a countdown to bedtime, so it’s not something unexpected.
If you’d like to ease into bedtime, start around a half hour before:, dim the lights, quiet the house down, and give them little reminders every few minutes that it’s bedtime soon. “It’s going to be time for bed in 15 minutes, so let’s start putting the trucks away.”
Let your toddler have a little bit of control.
Toddlers really enjoy expressing their newfound independence. You can have your toddler to pick out his/her pyjamas or choose a stuffy they’d like to sleep with. Having control over which toy can come to bed, which PJs to wear, and knowing approximately when mama is off duty, goes a long way towards a calm bedtime.
Also, be boring.
Be monotonous, yawn a lot (not hard at the end of a busy day with a toddler), get quiet, limit talking, and avoid eye contact—just like with a wild animal you don’t want to provoke.
Above all else, create a consistent and short bedtime routine.
Toddlers thrive on routine. It can simply be, brush teeth, choose and get into pj’s, tuck in, read a book or two (bonus points for books that end with the main character going to bed), and say goodnight. This routine should always be the same. No extra stories, no extra snuggles (as hard as that can be some days), no variation.
Create a routine that works for both of you. Stick with this routine every night and your toddler will become accustomed to going to sleep without a fuss.