Toddler Bedtime Struggles And What To Do About Them

Toddlers are a joy to have around. They are curious, happy and very entertaining. And we’re sure that you can’t get enough of your little one, that is until it’s time to go to bed. The other thing that toddlers have a lot of that you might like is energy and as a result of this, they never seem to be ready to go to sleep. However, this can be inconvenient for exhausted parents who are 3 seconds away from passing out. But, the problem is bigger than that. Your tiny tot needs to sleep too, in order to grow and develop well. But if all they do is drag out their bedtime routine and throw tantrums, what do you do to finally get them to hit the bed? If you’d like to have this question answered then this is the article for you. Read on to know more about why your toddler experiences bedtime struggles and what you can do about them.

What Are Your Bedtime Goals?

What Are Your Bedtime Goals

Image: iStock

You can’t get someone to do something they truly don’t want to do, and this extends to putting your toddler to sleep. Your equation with your little one is a relationship and working on your parenting bond and getting them to listen to you means reevaluating your bedtime goals as well as theirs. So first you must ask yourself what your goals are for your child. Do you want them to go down for a nap during the day so that you can get chores done in those precious 40 minutes? Do you just need some time to yourself to watch a show or go for a shower? Is your need for more alone time what’s driving your insistence on your child taking a nap? If so, you’re not alone. Most mothers don’t get a lot of time to themselves and it’s easy to feel as if your freedom is slipping away every time your child wakes up early or asks you for something when they should be out cold. But forcing them to take a nap or sleep for longer is not a good solution to this problem.

Then try to figure out what your child’s goals are. Of course they want you to stay. Children are hardwired to be as close as possible to their caregiver, so obviously they don’t want to leave you, even if it is to get some much needed rest. This is why your child throws a tantrum or has a meltdown every time you leave the room. Sure, it may be to just get some chores done but all their nervous system registers is that you’re leaving them to do something else. This is why they just want one more minute with you. One more snuggle, one more book, one more nursery rhyme. This is when parents think they are being manipulated by their child. After all, their behavior is defiant. But they just want to feel safe when they are vulnerable and tired. Besides, their brain is still developing, so their behavior is bound to be immature at times.

How To Ease Bedtime Struggles?

How To Ease Bedtime Struggles

Image: iStock

  • Set Boundaries

This isn’t about everything your kids can’t do, it’s about what you are willing to do in order to get them to fall asleep. What are the boundaries that you would like to establish? Are you willing to lie down next to your little one until they fall asleep? How many books are they allowed to read per night? Are you willing to alternate your bedtime routine with your partner in order to allow yourself some freedom? It’s better to tell your child that you are willing to stay with them if they close their eyes instead of telling them that you are going to leave if they don’t.

  • Consistent Routine

Establishing a consistent routine is the best way to get your child to feel safe and sleep better. This way their brain knows what to expect and can process the sequence of events better. And in order to get them excited for bedtime, you can involve your little one while planning out what their bedtime routine should look like. For example, maybe every night at 7 you and your child can change into jammies, brush your teeth and talk about your day. Then you can hop into your kid’s bed and read a story until they fall asleep. To make this ritual more concrete for your young learner, use something like a visual aid or encourage them to set a timer to move from one activity to the next.

  • Focus On Returning

If you ever have to step out in order to do something important, inform your child that you will be back to finish the book or tuck them into bed. This way they are less likely to scream when you try to leave. And who knows, with any luck, they’ll be fast asleep when you get back.

Trying to get your toddler to cooperate and go to bed is no easy ordeal. But with these little tips, they’ll be in dreamland in no time at all!


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