A reliable bedtime routine helps you and your child get quality sleep. Use these tips to help your toddler fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
When your toddler doesn’t get quality sleep, it affects everyone in your household. Sleep improves your little one’s attention, memory, learning, and overall health.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 11 to 14 hours of sleep for children one to two years old. Use these four ways to improve your toddler’s bedtime routine so your child gets the sleep they need.
1. Keep the Routine Short
The longer the routine, the more time you have to set aside every day to do it. Keep the routine to half an hour or an hour at most if you include bath time. Three or four activities can help your toddler wind down and prepare for sleep.
Bedtime routines can include activities like eating a healthy snack, taking a bath, having a diaper change, brushing teeth, and going to the bathroom. You can bond with your child with a lullaby, cuddling, or talking about their day.
2. Make Changes Gradually
If the routine isn’t working as it is, or if you want to change something based on your child’s feedback, make changes gradually. Try not to change more than one element of the routine at a time, and wait before changing another element.
For example, if you want to use essential oils to help your child sleep, wait until this becomes a norm in your toddler’s routine before you make another change. If you need to change your child’s bedtime, make the shift in 15-minute increments. Gradual change will make it easier for your child to adjust and can help prevent hyperactive or grumpy nights.
3. Prepare the Space for Sleep
Another way to improve your toddler’s bedtime routine is to create an environment that encourages sleep. The bedroom should be dark, cool, and quiet.
If your child is afraid of the dark, place a dim nightlight far from your child’s bed. If your child currently has a nightlight that’s too bright and disruptive, change the bulb for a softer light. Or you can let your child choose a new, appropriate nightlight with a design they love.
4. Soothe Them To Sleep
Your toddler might try to resist bedtime, so you want to make sleep as attractive as possible. Consider using a security blanket as part of the bedtime routine to soothe your child during this transitional period. Bonding with a comfort object can reassure your child that everything is alright and help them fall asleep.
If your little one delays going to sleep because they keep leaving their own room, state your clear expectation that they should sleep in their own room before you say goodnight. Every time they leave their bedroom, calmly return them back to their bed.