Do you have a toddler that never wants the bedtime routine to end? Do you dread bedtime because you know you will just end up in your toddler’s bed by the end of it? Does your toddler present bad behavior around bedtime? Is bedtime unpredictable?! If you answered yes to any of the questions above THIS BLOG IS FOR YOU! Establishing a bedtime routine is essential in helping your toddler sleep their best and you for that matter!
How could a bedtime routine help your toddler sleep better?
Well, I’m so glad you asked! Numerous studies have found that a child with a consistent bedtime routine sleeps longer, falls asleep faster and has less night wakings. Wow, sounds great right?! Something as simple as a 4-6 step bedtime routine can make all the difference in how your child sleeps and it has nothing to do with sleep training!
What is a bedtime routine?
A bedtime routine is a 4-6 step routine that you do every night before bed. It should be simple and fun for you and your child! A bedtime routine helps communicate to your child that bed time is approaching. This helps your child feel safe and secure in knowing what is to come in the hour (bed). Let’s put this idea into perspective. Let’s say you (yes you momma) are having the BEST day ever. What ever that might be for you, for me that would be: shopping, eating Chick-fil-a, getting a workout in and having the whole house clean by 12:00 p.m. (HA! I wish this was everyday!) Then all of a sudden someone takes you and puts you in your bed and tells your to go to sleep. What?! First of all, how scary and startling would that be?! I didn’t even see that coming!!! And then how hard would that be to fall asleep?! (I know some of you are like “Taylor I could sleep within seconds.” Just bare with me!) Having a bedtime routine prior to bed helps us settle for sleep and it helps our children too! Without a bedtime routine your child never really knows when bedtime is and is unsure when to start preparing for sleep. Not to mention you are about to spend 10-12 hours away from your child in your own bed, a bedtime routine is a perfect time to spend time one-on-one with your child!
When do you start the bedtime routine?
Depends on your child, but normally the bedtime routine should starts 30-45 minutes before bed time. This allows enough time to prepare your toddler’s body for sleep.
What’s an example of a bedtime routine for a toddler?
A bedtime routine for your toddler could be as simple as: bath, pajamas, brush teeth, books, snuggles, bed.
1. Bath (5-10 mins)
I find this step to be a great starting point for a bedtime routine. Something about the warm water is soothing and is a great way to prepare their bodies for sleep. This is also great time to play and sing with your toddler while splashing in the tub!
2. Pajamas (3 mins)
After drying off, get your toddler nice and cozy in their pajamas. Tip: Allow your toddler to choose which pajamas they want to wear for bed. This is a great way for your toddler to practice their independence.
3. Brush Teeth (3 mins)
Make sure to brush those teeth! Finding a fun song to sing while your toddler brushes their teeth is a great idea!
4. Play Time (5 mins)
Yes you are reading that right! Play! Have some fun! Whether it’s building a tower or singing songs make this time special! No phones! Just one on one play time with your child!
5. Books (5 mins)
Reading with your child is not only a great bedtime routine activity, but it also promotes literacy, cognitive development, parent-child attachment and sleep! Tip: Allow your toddler to choose two books! Make sure they understand it’s ONLY two! If you have a forever reader you know what I mean!
This is cuddle time with your toddler before laying them down for bed. Turn on the lullaby music, sing, rock and give all the kisses. This is my favorite part of the bedtime routine with my son. We turn on his lullaby star gazer and just watch the stars together all snuggled up! This time is so important! Cherish every bit of it!
You have successfully gone through the whole bedtime routine! Now it’s time for bed. Lights off, sound machine on, kisses and lay your toddler down for sleep. Enjoy some free time, you deserve it momma!
Did you notice that the bedtime routine does not have a screen time ?! That’s right! Make sure to turn all screens off at least 30 minutes before bed! If you want to know why go check out more information on my Instagram post. That also means NO PHONES during the bedtime routine. I am not talking about your child, I am talking about you! The parents. Spend this time focusing on your child! If you don’t think they realize that your attention is focused on something else when your face is lit up by a screen and YOU ARE SO WRONG! Let’s cherish these moments with our children! They will be gone so fast! Don’t regret not spending more time with them while they are this little!
Make it your own!
If you don’t have a bedtime routine established it’s NEVER too late! Start tonight! If you do have a bedtime routine and like some of the bedtime routine activities that I have mentioned, start implementing them and see if you like it! The great thing about the bedtime routine is that you can make it your own! Your bedtime routine doesn’t have to look anything like mine! Create a routine that works best for your toddler.
If this is more then a bedtime routine issue and you feel like your world is crumbling because no one in your house is getting sleep LET’S TALK. I would love to schedule a free consultation with you so we can talk sleep plans and how I can help your family REST their BEST. Sign up for a free consultaiton here on my website!