Once, you could simply rock your infant to sleep. Now your child is a squirmy, strong-willed toddler who simply hates bedtime. But don't despair; a few simple steps can really help make bedtime a more pleasant time of the day.
- Determine a good time schedule. Allow plenty of hours between naptime and bedtime. If they are too close together, your child is unlikely to sleep.
- On average, a two-year-old sleeps about 11 hours at night and 2 hours during the day, although this is not a solid rule.
- Be sure your child has enough physical exercise. Two year olds have a lot of energy, and if it's not burned off, it may interfere with sleep later on.
- Agree on a consistent word (preferably one word) that he/she can associate with sleeping. Examples would be night, nappy, or la-la. If your child understands what's going on, there's a better chance of cooperation.
- Plan out a routine for the child, to wind him or her down. Typical routines include a bath, a bottle/sippy, storytime, or having a lullaby.
- Make your home quiet and dim lights an hour before bedtime to allow your child to transition from daytime to nighttime.
- Prepare everything: the bed, the child, and you. This is the time when you change their diaper, pull anything out of the bed/crib, and grab a book to read to him or her.
- Instead of reading consider singing the same song every night or repeating the same poem every night as a sleep cue. This will streamline the routine to make it always the same and not having an extra-long book to read some nights.
- Children love a schedule, so follow the exact same routine daily and soon they'll know exactly what to expect. They'll know that first comes a bath, then a story and song, then it's time to sleep.
- Teach your children to stay in bed and lie quietly. You can practice this during the day.
- You can also try rubbing his or her back. Many children find physical touch very soothing and reassuring. Even two year olds like a nice back rub once in a while.
- Always keep the room cool and dark. If there's too much light, they will want to see what's going on!
- Remember that they fall asleep better with a dry diaper.
- Stay on schedule and put them to bed at the same time every night. Soon you will notice that your child starts to look sleepy shortly before bedtime.
- Place a nightlight in their room. They won't feel so alone after you leave.
- Make time for bedtime stories, it is so important in the life of a child. Interact with them while reading. Allow them to look at the pictures or perhaps let them hold the book after you finish reading. This will not only help keep their attention and focus but also help their developmental skills.
- If you begin this routine, they will adapt. This is a good thing, but you'll have to adapt to it also. Children respond to routine and a stable schedule they can depend on. It helps them to develop trust.
- Don't put off getting a routine. The older they get, the harder it will be to change their routine.
- Remember to never let them fall asleep with their bottle/sippy in their mouth because later (after keeping that habit) it will affect the development of their teeth and cause "baby bottle rot".
- Avoid letting your 2 year old watch TV before bedtime. Although he or she might look calm while watching, TV watching tends to elicit a "rebound effect" in which afterwards, the child to be wound up. This is especially true if the child is watching TV not rated for very young children.
- Avoid letting your child skip naps. Skipping naps often throws the child's sleeping pattern off and he/she will not sleep when it is time to.
- No Chocolate or sweet/sugary treats before bedtime.
Things You'll Need
- dark, quiet bedroom
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