Toddler bedtime stalling. Top tips for a smoother bedtime.

Toddler bedtime stalling. Top tips for a smoother bedtime.

#1. Give your toddler your focused attention. Bedtime can be stressful for parents, and often we will be counting down the minutes after a looooong day! But it can be really hard for toddlers to feel ready to leave your side for the night. So to help them with the transition, aim to fill their need for connection before the bedtime stalling begins. Put your phone away, and if you’ve got a younger baby as well, try to time their bedtime a little earlier so you can give your toddler 10-20 minutes of 1 on 1 time.

#2 Make it fun. You don’t need to lull your toddler to sleep during the bedtime routine, and if they have any unused energy it’s better they release that now rather than when it’s time to sleep. If books are a part of your routine, keep it engaging and interactive, get them involved by turning pages or finding objects. Get them to play out the actions for nursery rhymes, or even have a little dance party!

#3 No TV after 5pm! The blue light from screens suppresses the body's release of melatonin (a sleep inducing hormone). Seeing blue light in the evening will signal to their brain that it's still daytime, disrupting their circadian rhythm and leaving them feeling alert instead of tired.

#4 Be consistent. Toddlers love testing limits. But it’s important that when you set a boundary you stick with it. if you constantly budge on boundaries it will be hard for them to understand when there’s a real boundary. Understandably they can get confused and really upset if during the day when they asked for “one more” they could get that several times more, but suddenly at bedtime they can’t.

#5 Give them a little power. To avoid bedtime becoming a power struggle make sure you give them a few little things to be in charge of. While it’s important to keep necessary boundaries, toddlers really enjoy having a little independence and control. So allowing them a few choices at bedtime can fill that need for control. Keep these choices simple, and not open ended. Rather than “what would you like to wear?” Go with… “Which pajamas would you like, these or these?”, “Would you like a shower or a bath tonight?”.

#6 Prepare them. Toddlers are less likely to push back when they know exactly what’s coming next. A visual bedtime poster can be great for older toddlers. A great bedtime poster will include all of your standard bedtime ‘must do’ items (teeth brushing, getting dressed etc.) as well as some fun activities that they love (songs, books, dancing etc). If they often try the same excuses at bedtime (more water, a snack, potty), make sure to include it as a part of your routine rather than let them become stall tactics. And get them involved in creating the poster so they feel some ownership over it.

Still needing help with your toddler's bedtime stalling, overnight wakes or early rising? Book a consult package and I can work through a plan to suit your family.