Do you have a toddler who thinks that bedtime is playtime? Or when they want to find their green dinosaur that has been lost for months? (Basically, anything that will stall bedtime). Does this all make you dread bedtime? We can end the night in a fun way, while also being able to walk-out of the room at the end of the bedtime routine.
Below I’m sharing routines for Toddlers, give them a try tonight!
Bedtime Routine for 13 months and older
HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF AN IDEAL BEDTIME ROUTINE FOR BABY:
- Brush Teeth
- 10 minutes of play
- Lay Down
- Read a Book
STEP 1: Bath time
For toddlers, bath time is for cleaning them up! They have probably gone from playing outside, eating a messy meal, or maybe even daycare. Getting a bath after a busy day is a great start to the bedtime routine!
Bath time is also an ideal time for the other parent to be involved in the bedtime routine if they have been out of the picture all day or needing some connecting time time with the child. This is a time for fun! Ideally, keep bath time to 5-7 minute routine to keep the bed time routine on track!
STEP 2: Get ready for bed
All of the things in this step! Brush teeth, brush hair, lotion on, go potty, diaper/undies and into jammies for the next step! If your child is over 2 consider using a timer as a visual aid. Set the timer to 5 minutes, and let them know when when it goes “beep” they will head to their room to play!
STEP 3: Playtime!
Here is the surprising step! The 3rd step in the toddler bedtime routine is playtime! Head to their room, take a seat and ask your child “what do you want to do? Knock over a tower of blocks? Have a dance party?” It will probably only take them a couple seconds to make a decision and then enjoy play time!
This step usually surprises parents. Usually we think “Toddlers are really difficult to put to bed, so why would we ask them to up their energy level?” It may seem backwards… but this step helps in a couple of ways!
- You and your child are able to have this last connection of the day together. It helps them feel more secure in falling asleep by themself because they were able to have your full attention for their bedtime routine.
- It allows your child the opportunity to get ALL the energy out! Toddlers don’t need to “wind down” like adults do before bed. They need to get their last nits of energy out! This allows them to get into bed and fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly.
Utilize the timer from step two. Using the visual timer for playtime also is helpful! No one wants playtime to end, but having a 5-10 minutes of play, and listening for the “beep” on the timer can be a helpful cue for everyone!
STEP 4: Read Books
Weathers its on the floor, in a chair or in their bed, get a couple books out and read together. I wouldn’t go past two books unless they are short.
Wrapping up Bedtime:
That’s it! Four simple steps for a bedtime routine.
Did you see that I didn’t say anything about getting in bed and rubbing your child’s back until they fall asleep. At this point, I don’t want you to have to be there to help your child fall asleep. They can handle it on their own! At this age they are capable of falling asleep independently. Children thrive with consistency. Consistency is key here, so continuing their bedtime routine nightly will create healthy habits! Enjoy these 30 minutes of uninterrupted time with your little one.
If you have been feeling like sleep has been rough for your toddler, or bedtime routine takes longer than 30 minutes start this bedtime routine tonight! You could even utilize a sticker chart or reward system for extra encouragement for your little one!
I hope these are helpful tips! My goal is for you and your family to have the tools you need to help your child get the rest they need to be their best.