When your family feels that it’s the right time to start teaching your child how to sleep, it can feel like an overwhelming task. There are so many books and resources on toddler sleep, along with a lot of conflicting information.
Establishing a sleep routine for your toddler is a great way to encourage them to have a healthy relationship with sleep. By formulating a nap and bedtime routine and staying consistent, you are setting your family up for success. Here are some fun (and effective) ways to get your kids off to bed without a battle.
Family Sleep Meeting
The purpose of a family sleep meeting is to help your child understand how important it is for them to sleep when they are supposed to be sleeping. This meeting should occur at a neutral time of the day, not right before quiet time or bedtime. You will discuss with your toddler how important sleep is to him and to the whole family. Be excited! Positive reinforcement is key!
Bedtime Routine Charts
Bedtime can be a power struggle between toddler and parents. Children are always being told what to do “wash your hands”, “go get dressed”, “eat your dinner”. Even though toddlers can thrive off routine and structure, they also like to be in control. To help your child feel like they’re boss (even though you are!) together, create some nap and bedtime routine charts. I found some really awesome ones on Pinterest. Keep them simple and make sure to go though them each day and allow yourselves enough time to wind down before heading off to bed.
A toddler clock can be a great solution for those children who love to get up before the sun is awake or have frequent night wakings and like to get out of bed. What toddler clocks do is give your child a visual cue that it is still night/nap time and not time to get out of bed yet.
Many children will still wake up before the “alarm” is to go off but, that quiet/rest time is just as healthy as sleep. It also gives them a chance to fall back to sleep if they need too. When the clock does finally signal that its time to get up, make sure you let your child know how proud of them that you are for them sleeping until the appropriate time.
When picking out a clock, bring your child with you and allow for them to choose one that they like. Again, make it fun!
The key to being successful is consistency. Set out a plan, share the plan with your toddler and stick to it! Make them excited! You got this!
Laura Armstrong is a certified Sleep Consultant at Good Night Sleep Site Toronto and mother to her amazing daughter Norah, and wife to her wonderful husband Daniel. They live in the west end of Toronto. She knows the frustrations behind sleepless nights and overtired children and wants families to know that they’re not alone. When Laura isn't helping families sleep, she works as a Registered Massage Therapist at her own practice in Toronto located in Roncesvalles Village, specializing in infant and family massage. Laura and her family also enjoy spending time up north at the cottage or just exploring the great city they live in.