I am, by far, no toddler sleep whisperer. I am not the one to give advice on how to create the greatest sleep habits for your children. This post is absolutely not going to guarantee you more sleep or guarantee that your kiddies won’t come crawling into your bed at 2am. However, what it will do, is provide you with actual, useful tips and tools for getting your child to go down for bed — that I am good at. And that, at least, will buy you a few hours in the evening to shower, get some work done, relax or snuggle with the hubby.
Most parents are already well aware of the opinion of parenting experts, who contend that a bedtime routine, leading up to actual nighty-night time, is crucial. A typical bedtime routine should be predictable, for you and for your child. We all know that toddlers love control (and so do we), so what better way is there to give you both control, then to establish an evening routine that makes your child feel safe and secure and you happy. With a successful bedtime routine, calmness is established (most nights) and once your child is down, you are almost always assured at least a few (2-4) hours of straight-through peaceful sleep for your child. That doesn’t sound like a lot of sleep, but to some of us mothers of infants, or multiple children, two uninterrupted hours feels amazing.
Here are a few tips to help you help your child fall asleep:
— Create a Lullaby Station on Pandora. This works like a charm with all my kids, ages 15 months to almost 6. Do know though, that unless you pay for your station to be commercial-free, commercials will be intermixed between your music. You will be able to get an idea of what works for your child, i.e. songs with words work better for my older children, but the baby responds equally well to acoustic music. Some go-to songs that help mine go down, “Hello” by Adele and “Lost Boy” by Ruth B..
— Trace your child’s face with one or two fingers. My husband and I started doing this with my oldest when she was about two years of age and we still do it till this day. We make her close her eyes, listen to the music, relax and we outline her face and her facial features softly with our fingers. You can see her face and eyes relaxing as we do this. Try it with your child.
— Give your child a massage before bed. Massage their feet, their hands and their hair/head. Aveeno Calming Lotion works well at night-time to help relax them, even if by mere placebo effect.
— Make sure that the temperature in the room is comfortable for your child. I have one child that loves to snuggle up tight in a blanket and one that kicks the blanket off from the moment he gets in the bed. Find out if they like the fan on or off and if they like a night-light or complete darkness. Find out if they like the room-temperature side of the pillow or the “cold” side. They have to feel comfortable in their space to want to fall asleep.
— Consider purchasing some glow stars for their room.
— Let them watch a bedtime story, like this video on YouTube, once the lights are out. Seeing that their animal friends are going to bed, will hopefully encourage them to do the same, as the narrator suggests.
— Use a sound machine. Each of my children listen to a different sound on their sound machine, but I 100% recommend the use of one. For my youngest, she listens to the kind of music you would hear while getting a massage (not sure the name for this kind of music), whereas, my older two use either “waves” or “raindrops”.
— Don’t fight with your child at bedtime time — this is the last thing that you want to do. Inform your child that Mommy is too tired to argue and that you are going to bed whether they are going to or not. Then, cue Mommy going to sleep. Typically your child will follow your lead within 5 – 10 minutes.
Well, there you go, those are just some of my real-life tips on getting your child down for bed. However, what happens after midnight, I have not advice for.
Whether you sleep train or co-sleep, no judgement here — in my house, I do what gets the whole family the most sleep. But, for now, if you have a child that is struggling to go down at night, at least try these tips, because in no way do I think they could make your night-time situation any worse.
Have tips of your own? I would love to hear them! 🙂
Disclaimer: jthreeNMe is an occasional participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and some of the links in this article are Amazon “affiliate links”. That said, I only recommend products that I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.