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Bed Time And Your Toddler

Get peaceful bedtimes with your toddler during the terrible twos

Getting your child to bed can be an uphill struggle at the best of times, but when they are going through the terrible twos, it can be an absolute nightmare.

It is vital that your toddler gets enough sleep, as sleepy and overtired toddlers are one of the main reasons for tantrums during the terrible twos. Here is some help for parents so that everyone gets a good night sleep.

How much sleep should my toddler be getting?

Ideally your toddler should be getting about 14 hours of sleep a night.

Your toddler’s sleep should be broken down into nighttime sleep and a nap.

Your toddler should sleep for about 14 hours a night. This should give them enough time to rest and be fully recharged for the morning.

By about 18 months, your toddler will probably be down to one nap a day and this will be for about two hours (give or take). A good night sleep is vital for the development of your child.

Bedtime routine

Giving your toddler a bedtime routine is very important as it means your toddler will be able to relax and will know what is coming next. This will make for a peaceful and happy environment, where both you and your toddler get a good night sleep.

You have to remember that a bedtime schedule should happen every night, so when you decide on a routine, make sure it is one that you can stick to.

Having a back up plan, such as the stay in bed technique can also really help you get your toddler to bed with no tantrums.

When you have a bedtime routine in place for your toddler:

  • your toddler will stay in bed (so you get the evenings to yourself)
  • bed times will be calmer (no more tantrums and screaming)
  • your toddler will be fully rested so will be able to cause new mayhem the next day (and you will have had some sleep, so will be able to cope with the chaos)
  • a good night sleep will help your toddlers development and help to prevent behaviour problems in toddlers

Deciding the routine

Where to start

When deciding on a routine, the first thing you need to think about is how much does your toddler sleep?

As I mentioned earlier in this article, your toddler should sleep for about 14 hours a night.

You then need to decide what time you want your toddler to get up in the morning. For example, if you have to go to work and drop your toddler off at day care, you need to leave enough time for you to get both yourself and your toddler ready (without the stressful, chaotic rush).

After this, think about what your toddler needs and wants and want will create a calm atmosphere.

For example, your toddler needs food and a bath, they would probably like a story.

If there is part of the routine that your child does not like (for example bath time), try and organise your routine so that after bath time, they get something they like (for example a cuddle and story with you).

It is important to communicate with your toddler

If you have read other articles on this site, you will have seen the importance of letting your toddler feel equal. By this, I mean they want to know what is happening, when and how.

You should always make sure your toddler knows the next step to the routine. So for example, when they are in the bath, tell your toddler that they have five minutes left and then they will get in their pyjamas and it will be story time. When they get out of the bath, tell them they need to get into their pyjamas and then you can read a nice story. Once they are in their bed, tell them you will read them a story and then it will be time to sleep.

This helps to keep the atmosphere calm and stops you rushing around.

Voice and control at bedtime

It is important to keep control at bedtime, but at the same time, your tone should be relaxed and soothing.

The main aim of the bedtime routine is to keep your toddler as relaxed and calm as possible. I mean, how would you like it is you had someone shouting at you before you went to bed and made you all upset, it doesn’t make for the best nights sleep.

Things to remember when putting your toddler to bed:

  • Create a nice, calm atmosphere
  • Find a routine that works and stick to it
  • Make sure your toddler gets enough sleep
  • Enjoy the quite time with your toddler