Despite cheeky, free-wheeling appearances, toddlers love to know what’s coming next. A consistent bedtime routine not only helps them unwind from the day, it ensures they accept that sleep is imminent!
We’ve mapped out a cheat sheet for an ideal evening schedule for the toddler at your place. It might just mean the difference between reading the Green Sheep 127 times and lights out at 7pm! Godspeed!
1. Start off with a warm bath
A nightly bath is an easy way to kick off your tot’s bedtime routine. Not only will the warm water relax your little one, but he will learn that this is the beginning of his “getting ready for bed” dance.
2. Nappy change! PJs on! Teeth brushed!
After you’ve enjoyed cuddling the post-tub bejeezus out of him (is there anything cuter?!), move on to putting him in a fresh nappy and dressing him in his PJs. Next, give those pearly whites a once-over.
3. Play a quiet game
The aim here is to keep your little one calm and relaxed. Hyping him up with tickling or chasing games just before bed may make it harder for him to settle. Calming games like puzzles or building block towers are a better idea if it’s too early for stories.
4. Snuggle up for story time
Keeping your little one calm, help him pack away his game and climb into bed for story time. If he’s enjoying his game you could give him a clear and gentle warning that it’s about to end beforehand. For example, “We’ll build two more towers and then it’s story time in bed, okay?” Also, tell him he’s allowed a certain number of books, to avoid this reading sesh from blowing out past 8pm.
5. In bed between 6.30 and 7:30 pm
Toddlers get their deepest sleep between 8 pm and midnight. This is why it’s important to have a bedtime that’s not too late. Be consistent about this, even on the weekends, as his body clock will then get used to this being bedtime.
6. Recount the day with him
When he’s snuggled up in his bed, remind him of what he did that day. This will help him to process his day and he’ll learn to talk to you about anything that might be on his mind, which may stop him from going off to sleep.
7. Play him some soothing sleepy music
A lovely way for your toddler to drift off to sleep – and to also not feel alone in his bed – is to play him some relaxing music. Kinderling Kids Radio’s Sleepy Soundtrack plays overnight and is a compilation of ambient music that will lull him into the land of nod. Have a listen and you’ll no doubt start to feel sleepy yourself from just listening to a sample!