When you’ve got little ones, bedtime can end up being a bit of a battle.

Sometimes things go to plan, and other times just trying to get your child to go to sleep can feel like the biggest challenge. Whether it’s that they’re not sleeping, or that they keep getting up in the night, it can all get very tiring, very quickly.

As your child grows and changes, they might need to be settled down in different ways. It may be that they’re now more aware of what’s going on around them and might not want to be left alone. And when they learn how to get out of bed themselves, they might keep getting up again and again.

You might have tried them before, but here are some things you can do to try and get settled at night and help your toddler sleep.

Create a bedtime routine

Getting into a simple, soothing bedtime routine early can help avoid sleeping problems later on. Young children actually need to practise going to sleep. That's why creating a bedtime routine works really well. Here is an example of a bedtime routine:

  • bath, then put on night clothes
  • supper or a milky drink 
  • brush teeth 
  • go to bed
  • bedtime story
  • make sure comforter (dummy, cuddly toy or security blanket) is nearby, then...
  • goodnight kiss and cuddle

Make it clear its bedtime

Try to always say goodnight firmly and as if you really mean it. If your child gets out of bed, take them straight back, and tell them you’ll come back to check on them. Just remember to do just that so they know you’re following through!

Children can often tell if you’re stressed. If they know you’re trying to rush their bedtime routine for whatever reason, they can start to play up. We know it’s easier said than done, but keep calm as much you can and have a consistent routine.

A cuddle and listening to a song or bedtime story together will get them in the mood for sleep. It’s also a great way to spend time getting closer to your child.

Review naps

As your toddler gets older their sleeping habits can change. Maybe that two hour nap in the afternoon is now stopping them from going to sleep at night. Why not bring their afternoon nap forward or even reduce it to one hour? It might be trial and error till you find the right balance.

Tire them out

Getting out and about during the day Jumping and running about together during the day can help improve your child’s sleep at night. It could even be just a walk to get some fresh air, which is good for both of you. When you’re outside, talk about what you see. You could try questions like, can you see the trees? or what colour is the bus?

Safety First

It can be so easy to fall asleep with toddlers on sofas or armchairs, but this can be really dangerous. Try and think carefully about your toddler’s safety for every sleep.

Children rely on you to help them feel calm and safe. So when they wake in the night they may feel confused and scared, so you just need to hold them close. A gentle sway and some loving words will help them know you are there and calm them down.

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