Anyone who has watched Supernanny on TV will know how hard it is dealing with a toddler who doesn’t want to go to bed. Whether they like it or not, toddlers need their sleep.
Nothing is more distressing than an overtired toddler who simply won’t give in to sleep. Uncomfortable for you and your family, but also for the child who needs its sleep, children just need to know they need their rest, and that you are going to make sure they get it.
It might sound reasonable, but we know it’s much more complicated than it sounds. So let’s take a look at how to create and maintain better sleeping habits that will suit you and your family.
Your toddler will be entirely different to other children even in the same family, so try not to compare. And don’t compare your life to anyone on social media. You can be sure they have edited out all the bits that don’t look glamorous or easy.
No-one ever said it would be easy - so give yourself a break; and if you can’t do that literally, do it mentally. Be kind to yourself; after all, a healthy, happy toddler was not built in one day.
Create a Routine
Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts: no magic wand or spell that you can wave to make life easier. The simple fact is a routine is your magic formula, and as dull as that might sound, it is the key to a happy toddler.
Children of all ages need to know what happens next. Just as a baby needs to feel secure in its cot at night, a toddler needs to know bedtime is bedtime; and that is that.
Your chosen routine need not be complicated or drawn out. As simple as possible is best. Choose a bedtime and stick to it. Whether it’s 6 pm or 8 pm or anywhere in between, keep that time in your mind and work towards it.
The first thing you will notice you will feel better, merely knowing that from 6 pm onwards, you will have your time and create confidence that, in turn, creates a sense of purpose and calm.
Stick to Your Routine
Once you have fed, bathed and read to your toddler let him or her know it’s bedtime next - talk about bedtime, go through the series of events that make up bedtime, so eventually they will understand what you mean.
Whenever possible stick to your routine. Do the same thing every day at approximately the same time - give or take.
Make sure the bedroom or sleeping place is cool in temperature, dimly lit and familiar. Try Introducing the old fashion way of tucking in under a sheet in the summer, or a weighted blanket; something that will not fall off and adds to the sense of security when the weather turns colder.
Remember, routines don’t happen overnight. Stick to it, and you will get there in the end.
So now you know the magic formula, routine and security, make toddlers feel safe and happy and let them know what to expect, and they will reward you with a smile next morning.
You never know; eventually, your child might ask to go to bed. Sounds unlikely, but it’s not unheard of.
Happy parenting, folks.