Dos and Don'ts for Bedtime Routines
Does every night at your home involve you always dragging a crying and kicking toddler to bed every night? Do you almost dread the task? You can prevent bedtime problems with your toddler by setting a bedtime routine. Start by getting your toddler to go to bed at the same time every night. Tell a bedtime story if you determine it to be part of the routine. Do not deviate from the routine. Once you break the routine, you will have a hard time getting your toddler to bed again.
Start the bedtime preparations as early as you can.
Be sure to allow extra time allowance to some activities that may take longer than usual. Get your toddler to bathe. If your toddler loves water, allow him to stay in water, and play with the toys for a few minutes longer. Afterwards, make brushing teeth is next step for his “bedtime” routine.
Do not scold him or make him upset in any way.
Taking a bath is a relaxing activity. Once you scold him, you will spoil his mood. You will have a hard time dragging a very stubborn and angry toddler to bed. Do not let your toddler get excited in anyway.
Scary movies or even new movies are never wise choices before bedtime.
You will face a toddler that refuses to sleep. Many will refuse to let you switch off the light because they are scared or have so many questions.
Do not let him run and jump.
Get him to relax after sunset. You can talk to him and hug him. Limit your toddler from engaging in exciting activities.
Avoid giving sweets, snacks, soft drinks and tea after dinner.
All these foods increase energy levels. Be sure to check labels as many foods may have sugars or caffeine, such as chocolate milk, that are not obvious. You do not want a hyperactive toddler in the evening.
Telling a bedtime story is an excellent routine you can start.
Be sure to make time for your toddler to ask questions and be prepared: he may not stop until he gets a satisfactory answer. Of course, there are no guarantees your toddler will fall asleep after one story, he may be very energetic and demand story after story. Do let your toddler choose the bedtime story, especially when you run out of stories. Keep in mind, you may read The Pokey Little Puppy multiple times.
Do not allow your toddler to get out of bed, unless he needs to use the bathroom.
Make sure that he understands bedtime means staying in bed and falling asleep. It is best to stay with your toddler until they fall asleep when starting a new routine. You can gradually leave when he is awake. Maybe make putting the book up, giving a goodnight kiss and then saying goodnight the “closing” of the routine. Do not let him sneak out of the bedroom. And yes, he will try—multiple times.
Setting a routine and getting use to the routine is tough, especially when you are exhausted from a long day of work and housework. However, the effort will pay off handsomely. Your toddler will get use to the bedtime routine and automatically settle down once the time for bed arrives.