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Parenting Tips: Putting Your Toddler to Bed
My toddler will not stay in his bed! Are you saying that on a daily basis? Do you give in and let your little one out of bed because you just hate seeing them fight and cry over bedtime?
Bedtime for your toddler should not be stressful for you or him. It also should not be a power struggle, a tear fest or a battle. Bedtime should be a comforting time when your little one has played his days worth and is ready to lay down his head and have some sweet dreams. Toddlers need ample sleep in order to thrive; without ample sleep many toddlers become cranky and irritable.
If you have yet to establish a bedtime routine, the time is now. The first thing you need to know is the absolute no-no's associated with a toddler bedtime and they are:
No drinks in bed
No toys in bed
No TV in bed
No sleeping in parents beds
Why? All of the no-no's can make it harder for your child to go to sleep which is detrimental to your toddlers bedtime routine. What should you include in your toddlers bedtime routine then? I have to tell you I have struggled with finding the perfect toddler bedtime routine and now that my kids are 3 Â½ and 2 Â½, I believe that I have finally found my solution and I am going to share my routine with you!
Dinner: No later than 6 pm to prevent hunger and upset tummies
6:30Pm is Mommy/Daddy/Toddler Play Time
7:00Pm Last Call! This is when I give them their last cups of milk!
7:15Pm Bath Time amp; Brushing of the teeth
7:30Pm Bed Time for my 2 Â½ year old
8:00Pm Bed Time for my 3 Â½ year old
After bath, we get dressed and relax for a few minutes by playing gently and/or reading a book. We do not rough house in fear of getting those little bodies re-energized! At precisely 7:30Pm like clockwork, we hear the clock chime! My 2 Â½ year old toddler now knows that this wonderful chiming sound is really his 'bed-time bell'. After only a few short days of practicing, when he hears this bell he says "Bed-time bell". Occasionally, yes he does forget but he remembers when Mommy or Daddy mentions the sound to him. He then proceeds to kiss and hug everyone and wishes us all a good night. Mommy and toddler walk upstairs and he climbs into his bed. I then tuck him in and tell him goodnight with of course the required extra hugs and kisses. If on occasion he does get out of his bed, I gently take his hand and direct him back to his bed with more kisses and hugs but little conversation. At 8:00Pm it is time for toddler #2 (my precious daughter) to go to bed and she knows this as her bed-time bell will chime like clock-work. When the bed time bell goes off for her we do however direct her to go potty before she makes the trip to her bed to ward off any "I have to go potty" statements later. I have also found that giving her a small sip of water will help her stay in the bed without excuses! I have also found that giving her a small sip of water will help her stay in the bed without excuses!
The most important thing to note is that toddlers need a bed time routine that they can easily stick to. I have read in numerous books that toddlers like routines and I have found it to be very accurate. Occasionally we do have our slip ups but it is usually when Mommy and our Daddy do not follow the routine to the T. The only other problem that I have found was in the beginning my daughter would cry out when she went upstairs but would not tell me why. Eventually I was able to get her to tell me she is scared of the dark so I have implemented a night light for her! Good Luck!