Tips for Getting Your Toddler to Sleep

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When it comes to toddlers, we all know that some bedtimes are more difficult than others… So here is our handy list of bedtime tips to help get your little one to sleep so that you can finally get some rest too!

We’ve also included a handy FREE Downloadable Bedtime Routine for you and your toddler to print out and use at home.

1) Remove Potential Distractions 

In a kids bedroom full of toys, it’s pretty difficult to remove every single distraction, though making sure their bedroom floor is mostly tidy of toys will help prevent your little one from trying to negotiate a little more play time before bed.

If you don’t have the time or energy to give the room a proper tidy after a long day, simply put all the toys from the floor into a hamper or box with a lid on it so that it’s easy to put everything away before your bedtime routine begins!

2) Cut Back on Screen Time 

The blue light that devices like our tablets and phones use can stop the production of our natural sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, so make sure your little one stops using these devices a few hours before bedtime to help them get sleepy!

3) Follow a Bedtime Schedule 

Free Printable! 

~FREE PRINTABLE DOWNLOAD LINK IS AT THE END OF THIS POST~

Having a routine helps give your bedtimes better structure and will help your toddler get used to what is expected before they go to bed so that they develop good habits. Download our free printable to use at home!

4) Give Them Simple Choices

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Giving your toddler choices allows them to develop their independence as well as making them feel as though they have some control or input into their bedtime routine. If you let them choose which pair of pyjamas they want to wear, or what story they would like to read, they’re less likely to argue because it was their idea to begin with!

Just make sure the options you offer aren’t open ended like “Do you want to go to bed now?” but rather give them the choice between options like “Would you like to go to bed now? Or in five minutes?” which leaves you in a win win situation either way. 

5) Upgrade Them to a ‘Big Kid Bed’

At around the age of three, many toddlers will begin to outgrow their cribs, so take it as an opportunity to upgrade your little one into a “big kid bed”.

Make sure to encourage them with lots of praise to prevent them from leaving their bed throughout the night now that they’re not restricted by their crib. It can take a few weeks for your child to stop getting out of bed, so the next step in their development is teaching your child to sleep alone and to stay put after lights out.

6) Teach Them to Sleep Alone

Your child needs to learn to sleep without you by their side. This stage can be a little difficult for them but is extremely important for developing good sleep habits early in their development. 

The earlier your toddler learns to soothe themselves to sleep, the better. If your toddler becomes distressed when you’re implement this stage, you can tell them that if they stay in bed that you will come and check on them in five minutes to encourage them from getting up. Let your toddler know they’re safe and you’re not far away.

If they continue to get out of bed, calmly take them back to bed and tell them that it’s bedtime and that they need to go to sleep now. If you’re calm but firm, they will eventually settle and learn that it’s not so bad to sleep alone.

7) Be Calm but Firm

It is very important that you stand your ground no matter how much your child cries or pleads. Speak to them calmly and softy but insist that boundaries are non negotiable. If you give into their demands even once, they will know to continue arguing in order to get their way.

If your child throws tantrums before bed, don’t lose your cool. Tell them you will check on them in five minutes and extend that time to be longer every time until they feel comforted and eventually sleep.

If they continue to throw tantrums, ask them if they are frightened to go to bed for any reason. Many kids are scared of the dark and the solution to the bedtime blues might simply be telling them they are safe and getting them a night light.

8) Use a Soft Night Light

Having a soothing night light can ease the anxiety of little ones who might have a fear of the dark. Often kids who throw tantrums before bed are doing so out of fear, so talk to your little one and ask them if they are frightened, you might be surprised by their answer!

If a fear of the dark is the cause, having a night light can help soothe their worries and also allows you to see better when getting around their room at night! These personalised night lights are the perfect solution as they come in a range of gorgeous designs for boys & girls & your child can start learning to recognise their name.

9) Use Calming Music & Postive Reinforcement 

Creating a positive sleep environment can subtly help calm your toddler through any stressful changes to their bedtime schedule. If you already have a night light set up, another great addition is some soft calming background music. Breaking the nighttime silence of their bedroom can help comfort your child and ease them into becoming sleepy. 

Make sure that you continue to use positive reinforcement like words of encouragement and lots of hugs when they display good behaviour and always stay calm when your little one starts to try and negotiate their circumstances to stall bedtime. Stick to your bedtime routine and eventually your child will adapt and begin developing better bedtime habits.

We hope these tips help make you and your little one’s bedtime a little bit easier.

Let us know if you have any other tips on how to get your fussy toddler to go to sleep!

DOWNLOAD FREE BEDTIME ROUTINE PRINTABLE