How to Set Boundaries Around Bedtime With Your Toddler

By Kate Macdonald

July 22, 2019

Your little superhero is so much fun and energetic!  You often wonder where they get all that energy from! But by the end of the day everyone is exhausted and they NEED their sleep. Bedtime can often become a slippery slope with toddlers. One book soon becomes ten and then it is “Can you sing me another song?” and you find bedtime drags on and on.  

As parents sleep can be our biggest challenge with toddlers!  We know they need it but it can be so difficult getting them to sleep and sometimes an even bigger challenge to keep them asleep. Setting boundaries at bedtime with your toddler is important. They need to know that bed time is not negotiable. Establishing a bedtime routine and being consistent is KEY! They need to know what to expect and what is coming next.  Bedtime routine should take about 30 minutes.  

BEDTIME ROUTINE

An example of a bedtime routine would be:
  1. Bath
  2. Snack
  3. Teeth
  4. Pajamas
  5. Story (2-3)
  6. Bed

GET THEM INVOLVED

Give them choices! Toddlers want to feel included so give them a choice- whether it is what book to read or what pajamas to wear! Do they want to wear My Little Pony or Elsa pajamas? Do they want to read the Gruffalo or Good Night Good Night Construction Site? 

Making a chart with the steps of their routine is a great visual and way to get them involved in the routine. Get them to put on stickers, or color in a box with their favorite color crayon. Get them excited about it! Pump them up and make it fun!

STORY TIME

Story time is a wonderful time for kids to listen and read and imagine.  It is often kid’s favorite part of the bedtime routine and the thing they try and negotiate the most. “Please one more book?!” Says the adorable toddler that is snuggling up to you.  It is important as parents to decide how many books you want to incorporate into the bedtime routine so that there isn’t room for negotiation come bedtime. Finding other times to sit and read during the day is also a great way to get lots of story time in.  Reading to them in the bathtub is also a fun way too!

SCREEN TIME

I have a great babysitter that is cheap and always available called “Netflix” that comes to my rescue when I am trying to get dinner ready. There is no judgement here about screen time, as parents we have all used screen time and that is OK. It is WHEN you use screen time that is important. Research shows that screen time one hour before bed causes difficulty falling asleep. So, if your little one has a harder time winding down at bedtime, consider moving your screen time before dinner then having some “screen free” time before the bedtime routine starts.

Make sure the bedtime routine is the same every night to establish the consistency you need for great sleep habits. There will be some nights when you have special events and your bedtime routine just doesn’t happen and that is OK. If you are struggling with your toddler, we understand. Our philosophy on sleep for toddlers, is that we need to work with them, not on them. If you feel like you need some support getting your toddler’s bedtime on track, we are always here to help. Reach out here and set up a call with a Mama Coach- we are so much more than sleep.

 

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