Bedtime used to be a calm and tranquil wind-down. Now, it’s the time of day you dread the most. Thankfully, our guide to busting the bedtime blues will help you side-step the tears and tantrums. (Your toddler’s and yours!)
Once upon a time, all your baby needed before bed was a bath, bottle and 22 minutes of Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy dancing around the Ninky Nonk.
Fast forward two years and your beautifully behaved, freshly bathed bubba is now a fully grown tantruming toddler. So how do you restore order to the bedtime battleground?
Bedtime tantrums are far from uncommon and can be caused by reluctance to end activities, wanting to assert authority or simply being over-tired. All well and good, but when you’ve been running around after a crazed toddler all day or had a particularly stressy day at the office, bedtime can’t come soon enough.
We have 5 easy tips that can help end the meltdown misery and reclaim your calmer evenings!
1) Start the wind-down
'Give verbal warnings that activities are coming to an end. ‘“Just one more turn” works a trick,’ says Vicki Dawson, founder of The Children's Sleep Charity
. This will help your toddler realise bedtime is getting closer.
Why not try using picture cards to remind your little one what’s happening next, helping him feel informed. For example, a picture of dinner, followed by a picture of a bath and then toys. If only he was able to return the favour by holding up a picture of a glass of wine! You’re nearly there.
2) Routine, routine, routine
Just like babies, toddlers really do thrive on routine. It can be something simple like always having a story before bed or singing his favourite song – if you do it every night, he will start to pick up on the signals it’s nearly bedtime
3) Keep calm and go to bed!
Engage your toddler in calming activities prior to bedtime.
‘An after-bath massage
, followed by finger rhymes and a sensory story are good ways of getting the wind-down on track,’ says Vicki. Music can also be a good way of helping little ones relax at bedtime.
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10 brilliant tricks to help settle an over-excited toddler before bedtime
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