Whether you’re dealing with bedtime rebellion or night time awakenings, getting your toddler to sleep is no small feat. The "terrible twos", where a toddler decides to assert their independence by being negative and defiant, are a reality for many parents and can be particularly testing at bedtime. Here are some quick and practical tips to help you say goodnight to your "independent" little night owl and avoid bedtime battles.
- Keep a firm and consistent sleep schedule – Toddlers tend to test their limits (and your patience) so you need to be firm about yours. Sticking to a regular bedtime schedule will be in everybody’s best interest, especially a toddler’s, who need and thrive on routine.
- Turn their activity levels down a notch after dinnertime – Keep your toddler’s bedtime routine predictable and expect that it will take at least an hour for them to become tired and ready for sleep. Include activities that are relaxing and enjoyable such as a bath, bedtime stories or drawing, and avoid stimulating activities like playing, running and jumping or watching digital devices such as TV and videos. If you include one of their favourite activities at the end of their bedtime routine, it may help motivate your child to get ready for bed.
- Reward good sleep behaviour – Find a simple reward system like a sticker chart and reward your toddler after a successful night’s sleep.
- Insist on a daytime nap – Kids need a morning and/or afternoon nap until at least the age of 2 ½‐3. If they miss their daytime nap they may become too tired or agitated to relax at night resulting in sleeping problems and sleepless nights (for all involved!).
- Encourage a security object – A soft toy such as a stuffed animal can help your toddler feel more relaxed at bedtime and may help them sleep through the night.
- Promptly return your little one to their own bed if they wake through the night – It’s Ok for your toddler to call out to their mum and dad for comfort if they wake during the night. But once calmed down, it’s important to return them to their own bed where they can fall asleep again on their own. This may happen more easily if you ensure your little one has their security item e.g. stuffed toy.
- Consider natural calming remedies – Cenovis Kids Vita Chewies Night Calm with lactium and chamomile may help your little one unwind after a jam‐packed day and encourage sleep. Best of all, they taste delicious and contain no artificial colours or flavours.