Every night at 7.30 pm Ladoo goes berserk. Instead of feeling tired he feels wired. Instead of getting ready for story time he goes on a naked, screaming rampage around the house. Ladoo is the cuddliest toddler in the world and 7.30 pm is his bedtime. His parents love him to bits. But as the day bleeds into night they find themselves hatching conspiracies to get him into his bed.
A lot of parents face the same problem as Ladoo’s. The magical time they imagine their toddler’s bedtime to be, turns into toddler tyranny. But it doesn’t have to be like this. You can curate a bedtime routine that your kids will love (or, at least, not resist). Here are some nuggets you could draw inspiration from.
Freeze on a time
Your toddler’s body clock will adjust to a routine much better if the routine follows a consistent pattern. So, no matter how cute the pouting face looks when your toddler wants to shirk her bedtime, stick to the time you’ve set.
Give your toddler a warning that the day is winding down. We don’t mean tell her there are 5 mins to go. In baby talk that may sound like gobbledegook. Try clearing her toys or crayons away. Be innovative. She will learn by association, and this will turn into a signal for bedtime.
Snack time before bedtime
Give her a light snack. Something like a small piece of cheese. Or food that has both protein and carbs. This will induce sleep and help her stay asleep throughout the night. Brush her teeth after she eats.
Splash! Splash! Splash!
Giving her a warm bath will raise her body temperature. This will allow her to slip into dreamland easier. Also, playing with her bath toys will help her relax and calm down.
Cuddle. Snuggle. Nuzzle.
It doesn’t get better than this. Hug and kiss her to your heart’s content. This is the part of the routine you both will love best. But, keep it tender and don’t squeeze the little one into a state of wakefulness.
Fairy tales for sound zzzs
Read her a bedtime story. This is particularly comforting to a toddler. It has the effect of a lullaby and will soothe her. She will come to associate it with sleep and this will bolster the routine.
Teddy for company
Tuck her favourite toy in with her. It could be a doll or some other soft toy. This is reassuring to a toddler as she won’t feel all alone in bed.
Goodnight and sweet dreams
Keep your goodnight wishes brief and leave the room as she drifts off. Don’t come back even if she calls out. This may sound heartbreaking, but it’s important to be stern. If you do come back she may take it as a sign that bedtime can be delayed. Before you know it, it will be playtime again. Imagine having to start the whole routine all over again.
Once your little one is fast asleep, check out our latest infographic You won’t believe what those strange dreams really mean.