Making a toddler sleep is really a very difficult task. You might have heard from many parents about the åsame struggle that they go through every single night to make their child sleep. You pat on your child’s back and rock them for hours but you see no signs of them sleeping in the next few minutes. You must have heard a saying early to bed early to rise makes a man healthy and wise. But in case of a child, early to bed might not at all be easy as they are set to poor sleep patterns or to stay awake until late at night. My daughter would literally sleep between 12:30 am – 1 am every single night no matter how hard I tried to make her sleep which included constant rocking, making her sleep on the shoulder and patting on the back and sometimes me walking the entire room while making her sleep on the shoulder. After going through all these struggles for at least 1 hour she would finally sleep once I get a little tough on her. Going through the same thing every single night is very frustrating, right? This did frustrate me a lot and I decided to set a bedtime routine no matter how hard it could be.
Often, people would tell me “why are you being so desperate to make her sleep, why do you want to struggle, she will sleep when she is sleepy even if you don’t try, she might need a very less sleep that’s okay as few people don’t need much sleep” and so on. But one thing for me was sure that my daughter’s sleep is very important to me no matter what people say and I should set her a bedtime routine. If a child does not get sufficient sleep then this might affect their brain development, it might lead to increased irritation, stress and difficulty in learning and eventually, this might contribute to anxiety and depression. Hence setting an early bedtime routine is very important.
7 simple ways to set a bedtime routine:
1. Fix a time:
Decide on what is the best time to put your toddler to sleep. Set a time and ensure to put your child to sleep at that particular time no matter how hard it can be. Don’t let your child’s sleep depend on your routine. We parents generally tend to make our child sleep once all our work is done even if the bedtime is getting delayed.
2. Maintain the routine every single day:
Maintaining a routine helps a child in improved sleep. Your toddler will love if the routine is followed every day even if they cannot express it. By following the consistency every single day, the child will learn to sleep early and also he will know when it is time to sleep. Since the day I started following the consistent schedule, my daughter understands it is time to sleep when I take her to room. And if I am a little delayed in making her sleep then she will be very sleepy and trouble until I make her sleep. So having a consistent time is very important.
3. Finish the night activities before bedtime:
All the night activities like bathing your child, brushing teeth or changing to a nightdress should be done before bedtime. Here, bathing and brushing are included because few parents give their child a bath in the evening to relax their kid and most people brush even at night. Suppose you set the bedtime at 8.30 pm, then make sure all these activities are done before that time.
4. Make the bed:
It is very obvious that we make a bed every day. We should clean the bed not only in the morning but also at night before getting to sleep as the bed gets dirty after a lot of playing, jumping on the bed. Clean bed definitely will help your child sleep soon as there won’t be any obstacle or things to divert the mind. Also, remove from bed any toys or things that your child likes.
5. Dim the light:
Setting a sleep environment is very much necessary to sleep well. Keep the room preferable dark or dim the lights. Your child might insist you to keep the lights on but don’t give in to their demand. It is just to get some playtime and trick you in extending their sleep time. Convince them to keep the lights off.
6. A big No-No to screen time:
Never, once again never use a smartphone in the room while putting your child to sleep. A small light from your screen will distract them and they might trouble you to give it to them for some time and they might also stay awake for a much longer time. Also mobile light will affect the eyes more when the lights are dim especially.
7. Dress as per room temperature:
The room should apparently be cool but not cold for a kid to sleep. Dress your child according to room temperature. Don’t assume that your child might feel hot and wear him a minimal cloth or cover him with warm clothes thinking he might feel cold. Dress your child for bed as you dress yourself.
Following the above steps will eventually set a fixed bedtime routine in your child and he will soon start sleeping without any trouble while you can also get some rest and relax. Though it might be tough in the initial days, you will love the result that you get. But remember one thing, if your child is not tired then sleeping will be difficult. So involve your child in few activities that might tire him and make him feel sleepy. Also, ensure that afternoon naps are not long and keep it for a shorter time. A long afternoon nap will delay your kid’s sleep time. Follow the above-mentioned steps keeping in mind about the nap time and activities.