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Sleep Strategies: 10 Steps to an Easier Bedtime

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Toddlers are hard to put to sleep, don’t we know. Here are some tips on how to get your toddler to bed so you can enjoy your night and catch up on some much needed relaxation time.

By Annie Friedman

 

              Toddlers are hard to put to sleep, don’t we know. Here are some tips on how to get your toddler to bed so you can enjoy your night and catch up on some much needed relaxation time.

1. Keep your child busy during the daytime. Many toddlers have a ton of energy so keep them busy during the day. Take your toddler to the park or playground for a few hours. They’ll have fun and work off the pent up energy. At night, you’ll be overjoyed when they fall asleep fast.
2. Choose a sensible bedtime for your child. Children are no different than adults when it comes to sleep preferences. Some people are night owls and some are morning people. If your child is a night owl, think about a later bedtime, or an earlier bedtime for a child who is tired by dinnertime.
3. Alter the length and time of your child’s nap. If your child still takes naps, and then has trouble falling asleep at night, shorten their nap, or make it earlier. If your child doesn’t take naps, have quiet time in the afternoon to revive them until bedtime.
4. Start your bedtime routine early, and take your time. After your child has dinner, gradually wind your toddler down until bedtime. Your child should know when bedtime is and should not be on the couch, floor, or in your bed. Bedtime should be the child’s bed, and at the same time every night.
5. Do quiet and relaxing things before bed. Try giving your child a bath or shower, getting their pajamas on, reading a book, or having them brush their teeth. Snuggle with them and tell them a story for a few minutes, especially a funny or happy story about the family will make turning out the lights a little easier.
6. Consistency is key. Once you have established a routine that works for your family, it will become an important part of your child’s bedtime. It will help your toddler know what to expect before bedtime so they will go to sleep and stay asleep.
7. Set boundaries and don’t give in. Many children will ask for for "just one more story" to prolong bedtime. Decide in advance how many stories you will tell, how much you’ll give your toddler for a bedtime snack, and what time the light will be turned off. The key is to not give into your child and stick to the limits you set.
8. Create a relaxing sleep environment for your child. Make sure your child’s room is a peaceful, comforting and secure place. Your child’s favorite toy, blanket or stuffed animal may help them sleep better.
9. Stay with your child as long as they need you to. While some children are content with a goodnight kiss, some would rather you stay longer by their side. As your child grows up, the less you’ll have to stay by their side while they fall asleep. Until then, get a blanket and get comfortable.
10. Let your toddler know you’re there if they need you. Many toddlers have nightmares and will need you to be there to comfort them during the night. Some parents allow their children to sleep in their bed, while others lay with them in their child’s bed. Either way, find what works for you and your child and remember that the phase will pass soon enough.

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