What's your toddler's favorite bedtime stalling tactic? One more sip of water, one more book, one more song, one more trip to the potty... If that sounds familiar to you, you're in good company. Bedtime with a toddler can easily become a power struggle. These are my favorite tips for staying in control of bedtime!
What does your routine look like after dinner? It's crucial your toddler has time to play, laugh, run, jump and get all that energy out before bedtime. Leave the dishes and get silly with your toddler. Get on their level and have fun with them! This laughter and play helps your toddler decompress and process all they learned and experienced during the day so they're ready for a full night's sleep.
Expressing control is a huge part of your toddler's development. To give them this control while you stay in control (because you're the parent) try offering two choices. "Do you want to wear the dinosaur or the rainbow jammies tonight?" "Would you like to read Goodnight Moon or Little Blue Truck?" "We can sing You are My Sunshine or Twinkle Twinkle, you pick." "Do you want mama or dada to read to you?" Letting your toddler chose between two options (more than two options can often overwhelm) helps them feel like they have total control of what they're doing, and allows you to set the boundaries.
Speaking of Boundaries...Set Them!
The second you relax your boundaries, your sweet little toddler is going to catch on and push for more. That's their job! So be strong and firm in your boundaries. Remember, you're the parent here and your toddler needs and craves these boundaries and structure. "You get 1 more sip of water, then it's bedtime." "We're going to read 1 book, then get in our sleep sack. You pick the book." "Two songs then bed. Do you want mama or dada to sing to you?"
Parenting a toddler is hard work. But bedtime can be a little easier and less of a struggle by following these steps above.
If you need help navigating your infant or toddler's sleep, set up a free 15-minute consultation with me to discuss my sleep solutions!