It is completely natural for children to test boundaries at bedtime, particularly around the toddler years but the key to a successful bedtime routine is consistency, believe it or not.
No two children have the same sleep pattern but having healthy sleep habits and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule will only have a positive impact on your child.
Poor sleep or lack of sleep can have consequences on children's development, especially in the early years. As parents, we know that a well-rested child is less likely to be cranky, so why do struggle in this area so much?
Establishing and maintaining a regular sleep routine will not only help aid sleep but your toddler will thrive and wake up feeling refreshed, meaning there is a less chance of them throwing a tantrum throughout the day.
If you're looking to promote a successful bedtime routine, here are some things you might want to consider:
Tell them it's almost bedtime.
Keep the atmosphere calm and positive starting about 30-40 minutes before your child's bedtime. Let your child know they will be heading to sleep soon, knowing what to expect will make the transition easier and can prevent any resistance when it comes to bedtime.
Set up a routine.
It's one thing to set up a routine, sticking to it is the hard part. Each night around the same time, encourage wind-down time with a bath, book, gentle music or even practice relaxing breathing exercises.
Look at their sleep environment.
Make sure their bedroom is safe, dark, comfortable, warm and free from all distractions. Soft soothing music, lava lamps and dim yellow or red night lights are fine but avoid any flashing images, technology and anything else that may overstimulate your toddler. Playing with electronic devices before bedtime will only make it harder for your toddler to fall asleep.
Like with all aspects of parenting, following-through is one of the key ingredients to success when it comes to bedtime. Try to keep your toddlers night time routine the same, almost predictable so they know what to expect each night - it will make the process a whole lot easier for both of you.
Children, especially toddlers, thrive on routine - not only do routines set expectations but a good routine can help train and promote positive behaviour.
Discuss your toddler's bedtime routine with your partner or spouse. Everyone and anyone involved should know your child's sleep cycle and how best to put them to sleep.
Look at their diet.
Ensure your toddler has a satisfying and fulfilling meal at a reasonable time before they head off to the land of nod. A hungry toddler or a child who is too full will never settle smoothly.
And finally, for those who have more than one child, you could always stagger their bedtime routines to allow you enough time to read them a story, have a cuddle and kiss them goodnight.