Every parent with a toddler wonders how to calm them down when they are running around like crazy after dinner and bedtime is looming. Here are 7 tips to help wind down your toddler at bedtime!
1) Consider why they are running around like crazy.
Toddlers that appear to be full of energy can actually already be tired and this is their way of keeping their little bodies awake. They may have already gotten a “second wind”. Think about your child’s behavior: is this normal or something different? Identifying this can help bedtime run smoothly. Move up bedtime if needed. Being too tired at bedtime is going to mean crankiness, fighting bedtime and taking longer to fall asleep. Your toddler will not wind down when overtired.
2) Have a set bedtime.
Have a consistent sleep schedule each day that is age-appropriate. Ensure that not only their bedtime is consistent but also their wake up and nap times. Ensuring your child is well-rested and getting enough restorative sleep is important for their physical and mental development but also their behavior in general.
3) Ban screen time at least an hour before bedtime.
Screen time can amp toddlers up, depending on what they are watching or doing. It also affects their ability to fall asleep when they do get to bed. Make sure they stop using TV, IPad or a phone an hour before their designated bedtime.
4) Quiet the house.
Quietening the house half an hour before bedtime gives toddlers the signal that bedtime is near. Turn off the TV, music and dim the lights. If you can’t actually dim your lights – keep only the lights you need on and leave the rest of the house darkened.
5) Play quietly in your toddler’s bedroom.
Moving your activity to quiet ones in your toddlers’ bedroom shows bedtime is near and also helps them unwind. Do a puzzle together, play with some of their toys that don’t include bright lights or sound. While running around only amps them up; sitting down to read a book or play a quiet game is the sort of activity that settles them down.
6) Have a consistent bedtime routine.
Having a consistent routine in place (that happens every night) will help calm your toddler down. Start about half an hour before bedtime. Your toddler will learn to expect what will happen each night around bedtime and this will help give them cues that it is time to relax and get ready for sleep.
The bedtime routine in my house is: toilet, teeth brushing, pajamas, cuddle up in bed and read a book. After the book is done we tuck them in with a kiss and a goodnight. Your routine doesn’t have to be exactly like this one, but choose something that works for your family and child.
7) Have a bath.
We all know how we feel after a warm bath. It is one of the most relaxing things in the world. Baths can feel just as relaxing for a toddler! Have one at the start of your bedtime routine.
Winding a toddler down at night is all about routines. Do things at night that give your child cues that bedtime is coming: quiet the house, play quietly and don’t leave bedtime too late.
I hope this helps you wind down your toddler at their next bedtime. If you need help with solving your child’s sleep problems, please feel free to contact Mylee at Little Big Dreamers today. Or you can schedule an appointment here.