Raising a toddler is not a job for the faint at heart. Toddlers haven’t quite realized how to handle their emotions and they truly feel that the world revolves around them. This doesn’t make toddlers bad, no, it’s just a natural stage during the growth of a child. One of the downsides of the toddler years are the tantrums. Toddlers seem to have a bowl full of energy and bedtime is quite clearly the enemy. If you’re having trouble with bedtime tantrums from your toddler, then read these tips below.
Here are 10 Effective Strategies To End Bedtime Tantrums for Toddlers
Set a Bedtime
You’ll know a good bed time to establish as part of your toddler’s bedtime routine. Be sure to think about when they get tired. It might be earlier than you think. The bedtime routine actually starts before bath and story time. It starts around an hour before bedtime where anything loud or distracting is stopped. Stick to calm activities to help your child prepare for sleep. Remain consistent with the bed time so that everything runs smoothly more often than not when it comes to getting your toddler to sleep. Do not wait until they are over tired, because it will make it that much harder.
Institute a Countdown
Start a bedtime routine that will help your toddler prepare for that lovely time for bed. Consider getting an egg timer, or using the stopwatch timer on your smartphone. Let your toddler know that bedtime is in half an hour, set the timer, informing your toddler that when that bell dings that you’ll start the bedtime routine. This will help them prepare for the inevitable arrival of bedtime.
Let your child “think” he or she is in charge
Your toddler is at a stage where they are growing more independent and like to be in charge. If they are the ones to decide what happens at bedtime, they they are more likely to stick to it. As a parent, you can play into this by offering up some choices at bedtime. However, only offer choices with outcomes you’ll be happy with. For example, once you announce it’s bedtime, offer them their choice of pajamas. Offer their choice of *1* bedtime story. Offer their choice of lullaby music. Let them be in charge in turning on the night light.
Establish a Routine
Toddlers may not seem like it, but they thrive on structure and consistency. If you have any inconsistencies surrounding bedtime you’ll soon find that the bedtime tantrums are worse. Establish a consistent bedtime routine for your toddler so that they are prepared for that tuck in and sleep time. Reading a book or taking a warm bath are two parts of a bedtime routine that can calm your toddler.
Does your child have a favorite stuffed animal or blanket? If so, only allow the child to have it during bed time or stressful situations. Have a comfort item will help your child feel more secure. If they have to wake up at night, they might also reach out for the item and be comforted by it instead of calling out for you.
We use these blackout curtains in our bedrooms and they work wonders for the kid’s room. It’s hard to go to sleep even if there is some daylight out. Forego the cutesy curtains and make it as a dark as possible in the room. If it’s too dark, you can always get a night light. Speaking of night lights…
Timer on the night light
A night light is useful when your child is too afraid of the dark. It can also be a source of comfort for your child. Have them turn it on so they know they’ve done the work to prepare for bedtime. Try a night light that has a timer like this so about 2 hours into bedtime, the night light turns off and the room is dark for your child to (hopefully) sleep through the night.
Perhaps invest in a monitor that allows you to talk to your child. Our child likes to hear one last “good night” from us over the monitor. It also helps him feel comforted knowing that mom and dad are watching and just one “hello” away. We use this baby monitor as it has video as well.
Don’t Treat Sleep as Punishment
I’m sure you’ve heard it before. “Behave or go to bed!” “Listen to me or else you’re going to bed”. This method now give your child a negative association with bedtime, thus, increasing the chances of a tantrum. Instead, offer sleep as a reward or a stepping stone to a reward. Tell them sleep make them faster, stronger, taller. Or the faster they get to sleep, the faster, they can go to preschool tomorrow and see all their friends.
There will be no reasoning skills available when your toddler is throwing a bedtime tantrum. Your toddler is in a full-blown negative emotional moment. When anyone’s in a negative emotional roller coaster of feeling upset, they are not to be reasoned with. Remain consistent and firm, without yelling when your toddler decides to start a bedtime tantrum.
Each of these tips to reduce bedtime tantrums for toddlers will help subdue any negativity before bed. You will find that it will take approximately a few weeks for your toddler to get used to your new bedtime routine and consistency with this time of day. You should start to see bedtime tantrums just about disappear on a regular basis and reap the benefits of having a toddler who goes to sleep when bedtime arrives.