Setting a routine at bedtime for your children is incredibly useful, and should be done as early as possible. It set when the baby is born, he or she will naturally become accustomed to a routine every evening, and this helps the child to feel relaxed and comfortable with this consistency as they get older. Relaxed children are more likely to fall asleep quickly, rather than staying awake or causing a fuss.
If you are struggling to set a bedtime routine for your toddler, here are some simple tips that can help…
The traditional favourite pre-bedtime activities are proven to be successful for many families. Many bedtimes include having a bath, putting on nightclothes, cuddling up to read a bedtime story and then turning off the light. The activities before entering the bedroom are integral to helping the child get into the right mind-set.
Sometimes, it is better to help the child use up any of their excess energy before taking them for their bath. This might take the form of a vigorous game, chasing siblings or being noisy – anything which allows the child to release their energy and tire themselves out. When this rowdiness is followed with something quieter, it can be an ideal way of helping your child drift into a peaceful sleep.
Others move straight to the bath time, as soaking in warm water is relaxing and soothing, helping your toddler ease into the right mood for sleep. Some children, however, are very excited to play in the bath – if it is the case in your household, perhaps leave bath time out of the nightly routine and indulge in bubbly fun earlier on in the day!
In the bedroom
It is important that your toddler does not feel abandoned in their bedroom. Sharing some time together playing a quiet game, or talking about the activities of the day can be a wonderful bonding experience, as well as help to make the child feel like they are in their own independent space.
Another way of encouraging independence once the child is of the right age is to allow them to choose their own story, or pyjamas to wear. Rather than cause unnecessary complications, perhaps prepare two pyjama sets and have them on the bed ready, giving the child a simple choice – but also giving them the autonomy they desire.
Once they are snuggled under their duvet, having a tape playing of soft lullabies can help smooth the transition into sleep. If they are unhappy about you leaving, promise to come and check on them in a few minutes: in many cases, they will already have fallen asleep by the time you do so.
Whilst planning the bedtime, establishing a pattern becomes very important. However, many people have similar problems in the morning. A child who rises at 5am every day, waking their infant sibling or shift-working paren, can cause more problems than they realise. In these cases, putting something in their room which can help to show them when it is an appropriate time to get up can be incredibly useful. There are many products available which can help you do this, including the amazing Gro Clock, which can be set by the parent to show the ideal time for rising.