Establishing a consistent nap and bedtime schedule for your toddler is as essential for your sanity as it is for your little sleepyhead’s development. According to KidsHealth.org, sleep is a time when your mini-dreamer grows and recharges both mentally and physically. But getting a kid to bed is no easy task; some would say it’s a downright impossible task. That is why a schedule, coupled with a predictable bedtime routine, is so important. These are the only weapons you have against a crib-organized coup. Remember: you must stay in control of bedtime!
Make Sure Your Toddler Gets Enough Sleep
Getting an over-tired toddler to sleep is as easy as remembering every item on your shopping list with kids in tow. KidsHealth.org points out that a kiddo between the age of 1 and 3 needs “10 to 13 hours of sleep, including an afternoon nap of 1 to 3 hours.” It’s tough to structure your day around a chunk of time when your snoozing sweetheart is catching a nap at home, but a cranky, exhausted toddler is even tougher!
Create Consistent Sleep Times
While getting your tired toddler to bed at the exact same time every night is nearly impossible, you should aim to have him crib-bound within the margin of error. So, starting the bedtime routine at 7 p.m. on Monday, 9 p.m. on Tuesday and 8 p.m. on Wednesday is far from ideal. The goal is for your pajama-clad princess to know what to expect each night and at each nap time.
Establish a Bedtime Routine
Make both nap time and bedtime a soothing ritual that your heavy-eyed honey will look forward to rather than resist. Help him get into his favorite pj’s, brush his teeth and then head into his bedroom for quiet reading time together. Stock his room with comforting sleepy time essentials like a night light and a cuddle buddy that plays soft music. Your little one should look forward to going “night night” or at least not dread it.
Avoid Overstimluation Before Bedtime or Nap Time
Imagine trying to fall asleep moments after a high-energy spin class at the gym. Well that’s how your little Energizer Bunny feels when he attempts to transition from a colorful, sing-songy TV show to his crib. According to KidsHealth.org, you should turn off the television or other overstimulating media about T minus 30 minutes before lights out.
Insist on Quiet Time When Naps Fail
The day your toddler gives up napping is like the death of a dear friend. But KidsHealth.org has a recommendation that will lift your spirits: “You can’t force your child to sleep, but you can insist on some quiet time.” Follow the same bedtime routine your sleep-resistant sweetie is used to and then allow him to play in his crib or toddler bed with books or toys. Meanwhile, you can hightail it to the DVR to catch up on a favorite show or enjoy a quiet cup of coffee.