What if I told you that 3 tips could help get your toddler to sleep? Well, just keep on reading because that’s exactly what I am going to discuss with you today!
Common toddler bedtime challenges
Toddler bedtime challenges are one of the biggest frustrations for parents. Whether it’s dealing nightly at bedtime with:
- Stalling tactics
- Not listening
- Kids needing constant reminders
- Getting out of bed over and over again
- Needing more water or to go potty just one more time
Here’s a toddler sleep story…
Let me tell you a quick story about my son Hudson and his crib to bed transition. He was 23 months (full on toddler mode) and we were moving him from a crib to a “big boy bed” so that the crib would be available for his soon to be little brother. We made the transition and things were going smoothly, actually so seamlessly, we couldn’t believe it. Same routine, same bedtime plan, just now he was in his big boy bed. Until…One night he decided he wasn’t going to stay in his bed. (Urgh!!!!)
My toddler won’t stay in bed
Hudson soon realized he could get out on his own free will and frankly, he was clever enough to know we couldn’t “make” him stay in bed (cue steam out of my ears and nostrils!) I was at a loss and had no idea what to do. The only thing I could think to do was to tell him I would have to lock his door if he got out of bed (guilt overload and feelings of being a bad mom). So, I followed through on my word and when he got out, I told him I was going to lock the door and would unlock it once he went to sleep. This is where I held the door from the outside as he cried and screamed. (Not my best parenting moment, cringe).
There had to be a better way…
This is also where I knew there had to be a better way. Over ten years ago, I came up with my own gentle, guilt free sleep teaching method. A method you don’t have to feel nervous about or left filled with guilt or shame. A sleep plan to help toddlers and all kids in big kid beds to sleep easily in two weeks or less. This method has worked for hundreds of clients and now it’s your turn!
Working to teach your toddler to sleep doesn’t have to be a battle, but it does require you to be consistent. Your bedtime goals must be fair, clear, and consistent in order to encourage cooperation from your kids. You might be thinking to yourself, “well that all sounds great, but how in the heck to I actually make that happen.”
You can get your toddler to sleep easily, just like hundreds of other families have done by starting with 3 simple tips!
Get toddlers to sleep tip #1: early bedtimes
Early bedtimes to avoid being rushed. Start everything earlier to help you and your child feel in control. As soon as you or your child feel rushed or pressure because it’s getting late, things will start to become combative. You will get more anxious about bedtime being too late and your kids will feel your nerves and begin to push back. If you are rushing your kids, they won’t feel important and will sense that you don’t have time for them. This will encourage them to act up, as they look to gain more attention from you.
Reminders are another reason your kids prolong going to bed. Another thing that often occurs when you are late or rushing bedtime is you might begin to offer reminders. You will remind your kids to get their pajamas on or brush their teeth multiple times. You remind them to stop messing around or they won’t get books. The reminders fly left, right and center, but no one listens. Bedtime becomes completely chaotic, stressful, and anything but battle free.
Early betimes to help your child sleep easily. All kids thrive when they are well rested. Did you know that your child has an internal sleep clock? This is known as their circadian rhythm. This natural sleep clock is set for your kids to go to bed early and wake early. It’s within these hours where your child will go to bed more cooperatively, fall asleep more easily and sleep more soundly. If you are dealing with night wakings, I suggest you look at your child’s current bedtime. Earlier bedtimes help eliminate night wakings.
What time should my toddler go to bed?
Finding your child’s optimal sleep window is key to helping create battle free bedtimes, as well as, easier parenting overall. A general rule of thumb for all kids is, earlier is better.
Would you believe me if I told you that my two boys aged 8 and 10 (almost 11) still go to bed by 7:00pm on average?
Over-tired kids will tantrum. It’s a cold, hard fact! Once your child is sleeping well, they will tantrum less.
Find out if your child is getting optimal sleep by checking my sleep chart here: www.tiaslightham.com/charts
Get toddlers to sleep tip #2: clear bedtime routines
Create a clear bedtime routine that’s easy for your child to follow nightly. I find it extremely helpful to create a bedtime chart that your child can follow independently or with your support. Think about your busy days at work or at home. If you write things down or create a “to-do” list, you often stay more focused on the tasks at hand. The same goes for you kiddies. If your bedtime routine is clear and easy to follow, written down instead of your constant verbal reminders, you will find your kids stay more focused.
Kids love to feel a sense of control and power. Having an independent bedtime chart will help them run the bedtime show, but in a positive way. Your toddler will be able to “read” the chat if you use one like I am gifting you below that has pictures and words! With charts in place, instead of having to give reminder after reminder, you can now simply and calmly ask your child,
“How is your bedtime chart coming along? As soon as you’ve finished everything on the chart we can start your books!”
Find out how to create age appropriate bedtime charts here.
Get toddlers to sleep tip #3: have a sleep action plan
Have you ever tried teaching your child to sleep, but gave up because you were filled with guilt or uncertainty. You weren’t sure the plan/method you were using would work and your mama gut was telling you that you didn’t love the method you were using?
A successful sleep method is a method you feel good about. When you feel good about the sleep plan you’ve chosen, you will be able to follow through with consistency. Consistency is the key to success, so in short, whatever method you choose needs to be one you feel really good about. I am confident that you can teach your toddler to sleep without guilt or regrets. You can a gently guide, teach and support your toddler as you teach them to go to bed, stay in bed, fall asleep independently and sleep all night! Even better, you can do this in two weeks or less!
Teaching kids to sleep independently also depends on their age and stage. I specifically tailor sleep plans for each child and family based on their comfort level and child’s age/development. The sleep plan I offer you will allow you to teach your little one to sleep easily without guilt. You will finally have your toddler sleeping easily in two weeks or less!
How would your life change if you could have peaceful, easy bedtimes that take 30 minutes or less?
How would your life change if your kids were happier, sleeping and tantrum free?
“We have a structured, loving bedtime routine and kids that actually sleep.” Alyssa O’Banion
“You’ve given our family more than I signed up for. That probably happens a lot with your clients, but it definitely happened to us.” Allison Nelson
Join all of the other parents who have put an end to their toddler bedtime frustrations, so they can enjoy the evenings with their kids. You too can reach your goals and help your toddler sleep in two weeks or less! Please message in the comments below any questions you have about your current sleep situation or about the course. I want to guide you towards enjoyable bedtimes so you don’t regret wasting day, weeks, months or years.