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Wave Bye-Bye to Toddler Bedtime Battles
How to Make Nighttime Less Chaotic and More Peaceful
No one has more on their to-do list than a toddler at bedtime.
We don’t know who said it, but mannnnn, is it true. Utter the words, “It's bedtime,” and suddenly your child has a million, v. v important reasons why they can’t go to bed yet.
Sure they’ll get there eventually, but first they need to:
+ Spin in circles 27 times. + Show you every picture they’ve ever “colored.” + Locate the one toy they never play with but now feel extremely passionate about finding. No, not that toy. The OTHER toy.
And when you finally get closer to tucking them in? Suddenly they’re dehydrated AF, and needing to go potty more times than should be humanly possible.
All you want is for them to wind-down so you can wine-down. IS THIS TOO MUCH TO ASK?!
If you’re fed up with bedtime battles, you aren’t alone. We get multiple emails and DMs every day from parents just like you who are tired of the nightly struggles.
With these three tips, you’ll be able to reduce the bedtime pushback and tantrums and take one step closer to having your own sweet—and uninterrupted—dreams!
TIP #1
Limit the Screens
If your toddler seems extra-hyped at bedtime, despite being all kinds of active during the day, screen time might be the cause.
The blue light from screens (iPads, phones, TVs, and so on) tells the toddler brain, “IT’S TIME TO BE AWAKE!” The brain responds by releasing “awake” signals to the body, and suddenly your toddler is running laps around the living room. And if you do manage to wrangle them into their bed, no amount of stories, soothing music, or back rubs can get their eyes to close.
In order to prepare their brains for sleep, it’s important to end screen time at least two hours before bedtime. That’ll allow their brains to send the sleepy-time melatonin their bodies need to fall asleep.
And if the thought of going cold-turkey on screens for two hours before bedtime makes you twitchy, don’t panic. Reduce screen time in 15-minute increments over the course of a few days until your toddler can go without for the full two hours prior to bedtime. (Get baller tips for managing screen time-related meltdowns over here.)
TIP #2
Set the Scene
Along with limiting screen time, you can also prepare your toddler for bed by setting up a calm environment
About an hour ahead of time, begin getting the house ready for bed by closing the blinds, dimming or turning off extra lights, and playing calm music. Pull out your favorite calming essential oils and diffuse them everywhere.
When you consistently use these cues, your toddler’s brain will begin to recognize, “Oh, the room is dimmer, I’m hearing soft music, and it smells different in here. It’s time to start calming down!” It seems like magic, but it’s actually science, and we’re here for that
Pair these environmental cues with quiet activities like coloring or reading, and your little one’s body will be primed and ready to burrow under the sheets at bedtime.
TIP #3
Give Them Some Power
Wait, whaaaaaaat? Are you saying I should put my toddler’s bedtime? Are you trying to give me nightmares?
Yes to the power, no to the nightmares.
Toddlers crave power—it’s hard-wired into their brains. We knew it from the first time our lil cherubs shouted, “I DOOOOO ITTTTTT MINESELLLLLLLLLLLFFFFFF.”
So instead of fighting their desire for control, we’re going to give them juuuuuuust the right amount to help them feel part of the bedtime routine. Trust us: They’re much more willing to transition from playtime to bedtime if they have some control over how it all goes down.
Looking for a complete, comprehensive, all-in-one guide on toddler sleep? Thought sooooo.
Our best-selling online course, Winning the Toddler Stage, has an ENTIRE module dedicated to toddler sleep. We’re talking about ALL the bedtime things: night waking and bad dreams, multiple potty trips, transitioning to a big kid bed, and more.
Ready to get 8 hours of sleep again?
Get Winning the Toddler Stage
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