Kayos Xpressions


How to Prevent Toddler Bedtime Pushbacks

As much as we love our kids, I think I’m not alone in wishing that the clock will just strike for the sweet freedom that comes with our toddler’s bedtime. So really, the last thing we need when it’s finally time to start the bedtime routine is our kids giving us another round of tantrums. Alternatively, starting a battle of ‘nos’ against the cleanup requests or wind downs with our toddler.

Lets dive into some tips I have to prevent toddler bedtime battles.

1.) Establish a Familiar Toddler Bedtime Routine

I’m sure every parent has already heard this tip and that is to be consistent. But, I think more than running a rigorous checklist of repetition of things, is to maintain a familiar rhythm to how we initiate our toddler’s bedtime routine. Setting up visual cues of what to do next in their routine giving them curious prompts, and giving them choices.

Another tip to avoid power struggles with your toddler is to avoid asking questions on things that you don’t want them to say ‘No’ to. So avoid asking questions such as “Do you want to take a bath now?” and state it as matter-of-factly as you can “We’re going to take a bath now.”

2.) Keep the Conversation of the Importance of Sleep Rolling

Our toddlers are honestly a lot more perceptive than we realize. Even if they’re still pre-verbal so take note that they absorb a lot of our words and the energy we have. It’s never too early to begin the conversation of how important sleep is for our body (ideally when they are not in a dysregulated state).

Some opportunities to raise the importance of sleep are through reading books or during pretend play with dolls, and modeling how to put the doll to sleep. Most importantly, as adults and parents, we also need to show that we want our kids to sleep not so that they’ll be out of our hands but to let them know that it is important for their bodies to sleep.

3.) Attune Yourself to Your Toddler’s Bedtime/Naptime Cues

As fascinating as our toddlers are with the way they assert their independence and engage in a power play with us, they still undoubtedly need us to read their cues to help them. At times, the reason they’re throwing a tantrum is that they are overtired. Also our toddlers’ tantrums are ways of communicating with us and a way of expressing their emotions. They can’t talk like us, not yet.

Take note of the number of wake hours your toddler has when scheduling an activity. And, also before putting them down for a nap/bedtime.

4.) Have a List of Wind Down Activities for Your Toddler’s Bedtime

Our toddlers are actually very much in tune with their bodies when they’re sleepy or hungry (or everything else about their bodies actually). When they say they’re not sleepy yet or seem to have too much energy for bedtime, it is wise to take their word for it and avoid insisting that they’re sleepy.

Instead, we can set a certain boundary that would at least encourage them to wind down and go to bed. Our toddlers need our help in redirecting their energy and leveling it so that they can reach an appropriate state of drowsiness. You can either suggest that they stay in their own room and play there quietly, or read books only (in essence, avoid rough play or screen time).

Good Luck!