Toddlers Rituals to help with Bedtime and Naptime Routine.

When it comes to making bedtime and naptime a positive, the key to success is having a good routine—making them the critical factor. It is the use of routines and rituals essential for promoting the best for your child, with it being positive for healthy sleep and upon their broader development and well-being, especially during their early childhood.

Sleep is the one thing that has the weightiest impact on our children’s health and well-being. This impact being upon multiple phases of development in their early childhood. Therefore, it becomes one of our primary responsibilities as carers to ensure our toddlers are getting the correct and appropriate amount of rest & sleep. As it’s during this essential time, their developing bodies and minds grow.

So, I hear you say, “well, that all well and good, and I know this, what I don’t know is how I do this? ”

This blog will help you implement good routines and better rituals, which will help ensure your toddler will be much happier and willingly go to bed at the appropriate time.

The key points to help this be successful are as follows.

Consistency and a warm bath.

When parents ask me about routines, I always ask them to start their routine with a warm bath. Ensuring the same routine and rituals are applied every night becomes the trigger to the little one that bedtime is coming. By doing this, it ensures your toddlers understand what is happening. They know what to expect, what is happening next, and most importantly sending those important cues to their brain that sleep is coming.

We have found that including a relaxing activity before bedtime helps with this state of mind for you all. The best way to do this is to include a relaxing bath. Bathing your little one and using some age-appropriate essential oils and minerals can help relax their body and minds.

I’ll explain the reason why a bath is so fundamental. When our body experiences a temperature increase in their bodies, the body response creates an increase and sudden spike in melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone that your body needs to make you sleep.

The next important point to success & removing the possibility of the “bedtime fight and resistance” is to ensure you get your little one into bed as soon as possible after bath time is over and pyjamas are on! By doing so, you make the most of that busy body, which is relaxed, boosting melatonin production making sleep much simpler and more natural. So, by keeping bath time reasonably short, it ensures you do not become stimulated and excited.

In addition to that, it is helpful to bear in mind that it is widespread at this age to wet the bed. So remember that if you are potty training, it will be essential to include the use of the bathroom one last time before heading to bed. By helping your little one includes the teeth, toilet ritual will significantly help it be their bed routine they use the rest of their life as they grow older. It will become their routine and essential cue. Most adults still use that routine every day in their daily lives today.

Giving choices can help toddler; let me explain why

As we know, most toddlers dislike the feeling that they get told what to do all the time. They dislike significantly being “bossed around.” Instead, what is helpful is to experiment with allowing your toddler the opportunity to be part of decisions (were age-appropriate, of course!) Especially the part when it comes to the bedtime journey. By allowing them to make choices, it helps them feel like bit more in control.

A simple example would be to allow your toddler to choose their pyjamas. A healthy boundary is set by you telling your toddler they must get dressed. The age-appropriate decision would be the colour of the pyjamas they wish to wear. The same theory can apply to the bath time toys; they can pick a certain number of toys to play with. Setting a number allows them to feel empowered and will help ensure bath time stays calm and relaxing. Ensuring no overstimulation occurs.  

Toddlers enjoy their playtime very much; however, they often do not want to go for a bath due to them feeling like they miss out on other fun activities. Therefore, giving them choices makes it fun again, and they feel “big.” So, involve them, ask them, “Are you having bubbles in the bath tonight or playing with three toys?” This simple action can change bath time completely. Try it tonight and see.

Storytime makes fantastic bedtime rituals

Once bathing and dressing have been successful, it is time to move from the routine to the bedroom. Most toddlers prefer to be eased into their room. The best way to handle this is to allow your toddler to say goodnight to some of their favorite objects in their room.  Include saying goodnight to other family members at this time too. But be aware that some avoidance tactics will come into play with most toddlers so be strict with them.

The last thing you wish if for this to turn into a lengthy process. Set the rules, with your expectations at the beginning. For example, “It is now time to say goodnight to Daddy, little Teddy and the moon. Once we have done that, we will get you into bed and finish with reading you 1/2 stories you have picked.” This sends an emphatic instruction to them as your toddler knows what to expect and where the parameters are.

Books are a great tool to use at bedtime. Reading together is fantastic for cognitive development, with the bonus of it being a special time allowing you to deepen the bond between you both.  As before, allow your toddler the opportunity to make choices, as I mentioned before. Allowing them to choose between one or two stories. Otherwise, they might pick the thickest book on the self as an ingenious avoidance tactic ?

By continuing to keep the bedroom calm, choosing the same place to read each night, on your knee in a chair cuddled in or with them tucked up in bed with you sitting beside them, will help keep them relaxed and sleepy. Best avoid any stories with monsters in the plot for the apparent reason of not wishing to frighten them or fed their little imaginations. Be aware of how exciting the storyline is too. It is great fun to act out a storyline during the day, but we need to create the opposite with it being as relaxed as possible at bedtime.

Sing a Lullaby and setting healthy boundaries

Singing or choosing a favorite song that you sing or listen to every night is also a great addition to the routine. At this point, it is a great time to cuddle together while you sing or listen to the chosen lullaby or song.

After completing this, ensure your toddler has their “lovey” they sleep with, followed by the simple final big hug and a kiss. Upon this, should your toddler be looking for more time to help them settle, you can say you will stay five minutes with them, but you will be leaving after this time.  You can keep them calm and resting as they become drowsy or fall asleep.

It is best to leave before they are completely asleep. If they are awake, say your “night night” phrase, tell them you are leaving, and they are to continue to fall asleep without you as they do a great job doing just that. Some toddlers need a little more time, which is fine but do make it clear that you will be leaving the room soon.

Before you leave the room, tell your toddler quietly and calmly you are leaving but will be back in to check on them in a little while. Do make sure you go back to check on them if you told them you would be doing this.

The key to all of this success is being consistent. Do keep checking in on them, kissing them if need be, and leaving again. Over time and before you know it, you will return at one point to find your toddler has done it. They have fallen fast asleep themselves.

Occasionally your toddler finds it very difficult to stay in bed. Be sure to set clear boundaries they can follow. The use of a reward chart is also a great way to remind them.

What rewards work best

The best way to help toddlers stick to tasks and requests is to involve them. Please include them in part of the rewarding process. Let them help choose what rewards will be on offer and for doing what exactly. So, if they stay in bed all night, we can have pancakes for a fun breakfast. Being 100% consistent and rewarding good behavior helps most children flourish due to the positive reinforcements.

When this is carried out consistently, most families see significant improvements in their toddlers’ behavior sooner rather than later.

I offer Q&A sessions with vary in timeslots, 30 minutes or 60 minutes, where we can discuss your current situation and advise and guide you on making the best of YOUR family situation. These times don’t have to be used in one call either; they can be split up as you need. We stop & start the clock as the questions and situation require. Think of it as having a child sleep & behavioral expert on call..helping you when you need it the most. ?

Read more of my blogs on child sleep and behavior here.