Ok the title may be a bit of a lie, is any bedtime routine with toddlers easy? Hmm probably not easier, but these steps just make things run slightly smoother.
It’s no secret that in this house we have a far from perfect bedtimes occasionally, and I’m certainly not a bedtime expert. However, there is some helpful tips that I’ve tried to follow from the beginning which I still swear by to this day!
Going to bed as a toddler is bloody hard work by the looks of it! All of those sleep regressions, growth spurts, milestones and the general crap like them needing a gallon of water before they go to sleep and 8 toilet trips, you know… just incase.
1. Routine is key
My mother in law taught me this when Lola was just a week old and for me it’s still the most important. I was really struggling trying to get some kind of routine to my day and night, obviously she was a baby and they sleep and feed whenever they feel like it, but we started to get a little routine going at night time and it did get a little easier. It allowed for me to have some time in the evening too, which I desperately needed. Get a routine that suits your family and try to stick to it, babies and toddlers need routine so they know exactly what is coming next, for example bedtime. We have dinner, bath, half and hour of Tv time, book and bed.
2. Bath before bed
What do us parents want more then anything after a long stressful day? A relaxing bath. Don’t get me wrong I’m not for one minute suggesting that all babies/toddlers want a bath, but using certain products such as Johnsons Bedtime Bath should calm them down, and once they’re bathed, they know that bedtime will soon be coming. It’s all part of number 1 – routine. Plus they smell better.
3. Chill time
Without sounding like the evil parent, I try to restrict any loud games/playing after bathtime. I’ve found that letting Lola run round like a mad woman or chucking toys around after her bath, she’s never ready for bed. We like to put a film on or a programme she loves and she cuddles down and just chills out – fully prepared and ready for bedtime when it comes. Although she definitely still tries to get away with not sitting down nicely.
4. No sugar before bed
This may be an obvious one, but sweets, cake anything that’s going to send kids wild is a big no no in this house. We have pudding after dinner and that’s definitely enough. I learnt the hard way – a bag of sweets and she was still jumping on her bed at 10pm.
5. Bedtime story
I’m a big believer in reading to children at bedtime, sometimes it’s the last thing I want to do on a evening after a long day but Lola loves a nighttime story and always picks her books for the night. It’s also just that extra 10 minutes of quality time together after a hectic day. One of her favourites at the minute is Believe in Pixie Hart which is a really beautiful little book that encourages imagination. She’s also obsessed with Usbournes ‘That’s not my Unicorn’.
I can’t say that any bedtime will ever be perfect, all children and families are different and like doing things different ways, but these are just a few of my favourite tips.
By the way, I do treat her at weekends and holidays where she gets to stay up, play for longer etc – she’s got to live a little too!
What’s your bedtime routine? Comment below what works in your house!
Happy reading x
*disclosure – some posts contain affiliate links, however all opinions are my own as always.