Anyone who has ever taken care of a toddler knows they can be fussy and stubborn, especially when it comes to bedtime. Some children never seem to get enough physical activity during the day to expend their seemingly unlimited energy.
Experts recommend that parents practice a regular nighttime routine to help calm and settle their toddlers for the night. All you need is patience, a lot of repetition, and some creativity. The payoff will definitely be worth it when you finally get that routine in.
Here are a few tricks you can incorporate into your child’s bedtime so she—and you—can sleep better.
1. Teach your child how to 'pack away.'
Training your child to clean up after herself can start as soon as she can follow basic instructions. Doing this early on teaches her the importance of being neat while also helping her to wind down after playtime. Remind your toddler that it’s time to pack away her toys 30 minutes or more before bedtime to signal that playtime is over for the day.[ads:4]
2. Give your child a warm bath.
Toddlers sweat a lot, and for those still in diapers, the end of the day also means a lot of itching from sweat residue. Bathing your child helps bring down her energy level and calm her down after a long day of play.
Make sure to use products suitable for your child’s sensitive skin. Baby Dove Rich Moisture Hair to Toe Baby Wash gently cleanses your child’s hair and body while also helping moisturize her skin. If her skin is extra-sensitive, try Baby Dove Sensitive Moisture Hair to Toe Baby Wash, a fragrance-free cleanser that also helps lock in the moisture in your child’s skin.
3. Keep gadgets away during bedtime.
Screen time is a major sleep deterrent for small children. Research shows that kids who use electronics get less sleep and often feel sluggish during the day. Keep gadgets out of your child’s room so she doesn’t ask for them. This will also help keep potential tantrums at bay.[ads:8]
4. Set the mood for sleep.
According to Sleep.org, children need a calm, quiet, and dark room to sleep. Turn the lights off as you tuck in your toddler. If she resists, stall by reading her a story with a lamp on. You can also try playing soothing lullabies or a white-noise machine to help her drift off to dreamland.
5. Do a relaxing exercise.
Dr. Harvey Karp, a pediatrician and the author of Happiest Baby on the Block and Happiest Toddler on the Block, recommends a technique called “magic breathing,” where you help your child relax by taking deep breaths and exhaling slowly three or four times.
You can also try a gentle massage as recommended by Dr. Roselyne M. Balita, a pediatrician and the founder of the Little Lamb’s Pediatric Wellness Place, during SmartParenting.com.ph's "The First Year of Life Workshop."
As you massage your baby, use a moisturizing product like the Baby Dove Rich Moisture Lotion or Baby Dove Sensitive Moisture Lotion. These products help nourish your child’s skin while also helping keep it soft and moisturized.
It may sound like a lot, but consistency is all you really need to get your child used to a bedtime routine. This way, everyone sleeps better and gets ample time to get the rest they need.
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