Bonding At Bedtime (and changing bedtime routine)

Does your toddler favour one parent over the other?

Do you find that the bond between mum and toddler is stronger than the bond of dad and toddler, or vice versa?

You often see children favouring one parent over the other. It could be because of the amount of time they spend with your toddler or because they are seen as the ‘fun’ parent rather than the disciplinarian.

It is important for you both to have a strong bond with your child from an early age and for your toddler to be happy for both parents to do all parts of the routine e.g. putting your toddler to bed.

If you find your toddler gets clingy to one parent, it is important that you both still share the routine.

Take the bed time routine: If mum puts your toddler to bed every night, your toddler will be used to this. But what happens if mum goes (for a well deserved) night out. Your toddler will be upset because their bedtime routine has changed and dad will have a tearful toddler tantrum to deal with.

So it is always better to swap in and out of you both doing the same routine. However, if you have got to the point where one parent always does the bedtime routine, expect some tears, but you are able to change it.

Using the example above, if mum always puts your toddler to bed, it is now dads turn. Dad needs to know the bedtime routine, so as not to upset your toddler to much. Mum needs to make herself scarce, or make sure she is busy so she wont step in and help.

The biggest tip I can give you here is start early and prepare your toddler. An hour or so before your toddlers bed time, tell your toddler calmly that daddy will be putting them to bed tonight. Remind your toddler half an hour before bed time.

When bedtime comes around, it is likely they your toddler will kick up a fuss as they will want mummy to do it (as has always been the case). Dad needs to keep calm and go calmly go through the bedtime routine and mum needs to stay away and let dad do his thing. It mum gives in and helps with the bedtime routine because of your child's tantrums, your toddler learns that tantrums mean they eventually get their own way.

Alternate the bedtime routine between mum and dad every other night and the tantrums will get less and your toddler will, instead of screaming, allow daddy to help with the bedtime routine.

Bed times are full of cuddles and bedtime stories, so they are a great way of bonding with your child. It is well worth putting in the effort (and putting up with the tantrums for a bit) as you will see some great results.

Key tips:

  • The 'favourite' parent or one that normally does that part of the rountine needs to make sure they dont intervene.
  • Carry out the routine as close as you can to how it is normally done
  • Dont give in to your toddlers tantrums, the hard work will pay off

This method will work with any part of your toddlers rountine. It is important that both parents have a bond with their toddler and both mum and dad need to work on developing their own unique and special bond.