Bedtime can be a challenging event for some toddlers. Quite honestly, it can be the moment a parent dreads as evening draws near. For some, it's only a matter of time before the ultimate meltdown ensues...
Speaking personally, this isn't the case for me. I'm going to be completely honest. My son has fabulous sleeping habits and hasn't given me any trouble since birth. I can't take credit. He was just made that way. He's a sleeper. But I have taken care of more than enough children to know that my miracle situation is far from the norm and the only thing that eased this transition was establishing a regular bedtime routine with lots & lots of choices. So here's a few:
1. Bath - First figure out if this is something that calms your child. If not, do it earlier in the day or in the morning. Personally for us, we use bath as a winding down transition. Since C could sit in a Bumbo seat he would come into the shower with my husband or I. It was a few extra minutes in the day to talk & play together as well as share a new experience together - water. He loves all things water now and I accredit that to his early positive and regular experiences in water. Bath just never eased him into his sleepy world or amped him up so I'd rather use it as another bonding tool.
2. Bedtime Snack - If it's been a while since dinner let your little one have a little snack. Crackers & cheese, yogurt, toast with a nut butter or cereal are all good options. Give your child a choice of two or three.
3. Pajama Time - Lay out a few choices for pjs to pick from. Think outside of the box sometimes. It doesn't always have to be designated pjs. If it makes your child happy to sleep in their favorite shirt or sweats let them do it. It's only pjs. This shouldn't be a battle you choose. For young toddlers, I would just match sure the pjs aren't too loose that they could somehow twist up in when they're tossing and turning. Tip: incorporate Sandra Boynton's book 'Pajama Time' when you're pick them out! Fun, easy & quick little book!
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