A rested toddler is a less stressed toddler. Which sounds pretty simple doesn’t it?! In reality it’s not that easy.
We all know that parenting toddlers is a full time job which can feel a bit like going on 75 roller coaster rides in one day. Which is why sleep time is so important - for both children and parents.
There are amazing tips and ideas out there for parents, which cover everything under the sun to make for better bedtimes. We’ve rounded up our eight EasyPeasy favourites.
Eight Tips for Better Toddler Bedtimes
1. Try toddler mindfulness tools
Winding down an excited toddler is made easier with the help of calming tools, which are founded on mindfulness principles. Calm Kids is a series of six mindfulness stories to tame busy-minded and energetic toddlers which we love. Best of all, they're free on many platforms.
Did you know that anxious or upset toddlers often hold their breath? Calm Kids encourages deep and concentrated breathing which helps lower their heart rates and calms them, making them feel more in control.
Using the breath and beautiful visualisations, these stories trick your toddler into doing meditation without realising it! Our second favourite is from the new app called Moshi Sleep which your little one will love.
2. Read calming, soothing bedtime books
Create a special selection of books just for bedtime, and while you read aloud let your little one ask questions and make comments. This is very helpful for your toddler to process and verbalise anxieties that sleep separation bring up. Our three favourite books to try are: The Star Tree, You're Snug With Me and In the Nightgarden: Time for Bed.
3. Calm the house down with mindful exercise
A top staff parent favourite (which we mention on repeat!) is GoNoodle. It's a great tool if you want to introduce movement and mindfulness into afternoon routines with your children and is easy for the whole family to get involved with.
4. Create a soothing pre-bed atmosphere with calming music
Listening to relaxing music or sounds of nature (like ocean waves or night crickets) has been proven to lower the heart rate and cortisol levels, creating a relaxed state for sleep. And this isn't just limited to adults!
5. Create a predictable, repetitive routine
If you haven’t already, create a bedtime routine you can do nearly every night. Begin with setting consistent times—for instance, bath time at 6:45pm and lights out by 7:30pm. Then, do the same tasks in the same order, so that every action has a predictable “next step” to follow.
Remind your toddler through the day what will happen later that night - for example, bath, two books, good night kisses for toys and sleep.
6. Teach your toddler to comfort a toy
Children generally kick up a bedtime fuss because they’re scared of separation. The dark, being left alone and an inability to predict the future or have a sense of time cause children to act out.
The good news is that their imaginations can work for them. Use their capacity for imaginary worlds and practice comforting a toy with them in the day or at night.
Enact the routine with the toy, and ask your child to share feelings with the toy after the lights go out. Practice together for the first few times. This works very effectively (if not every time) for many children.
7. Praise your child - in words and drawings!
Be sure to take moments during the day to talk about it together. Offer your child lots of daytime cuddles and love. Tell them how proud you are of them each time that they take a step toward sleeping on their own.
A parent hack that really helps is getting your child to draw themselves a star, or reward badge for trying. Or you can join in and draw what happens at night on paper together. Toddlers often understand and process visually better than verbally.
8. Check on your child regularly
The major issues at bedtime is usually fear of the unknown and of being alone - validate your child’s feelings and offer comforting words. Different tricks work for different children, such as promising to check on them before you yourself go to sleep or returning and staying at the bedroom door regularly.
Remember! It's tough to have your little one fighting you and bedtime every night. So don't forget that you're helping your child cope with the tough task of becoming more independent and learning how to sleep alone - it will pay off in the long run!
Looking for more tips, expert advice or calming games to help you with your toddler? The EasyPeasy parenting app is for you!
EasyPeasy has been created to support parents of 0-5 year olds. It's full of tips and ideas to help you through tantrums, bedtimes and rainy days!
Along with practical advice, there are loads of fun, playful games to help you connect with your child.
Explore magical content from partners Scouts, LEGO and NCT, and share your own tips through the new parent community sharing feature!