How to solve problems at bedtime
Set up the toddler bedroom to be sensory and appealing. If you are worried about your child getting out of the bedroom use a safety gate by the door.
- Don’t start the routine too soon otherwise you will be upstairs for hours wasting time and getting frustrated. The time from Bath to bed and sleep is 30 mins max . Have lots of cuddles and stories in the lounge before bath not after. Interactive books in the bedroom are too energising and not relaxing enough.
- I recommend a slumber buddie, Bella is lovey for a little girl, and Elephant for a boy. They only stay in the bed and toddlers only gets to play with them in bed. That is the slumber buddie rule, The same applies for a dummy or sleep comforter or Teddy.
- After bath go straight into the bedroom, don’t allow running about as that will energise your toddler. Encourage your toddler into bed, don’t lift him in. page 165 of my book has the most relevant information for you.
- Once he is in bed sit at the side leaning forward but not touching, if he reaches out for you put a teddy in his hand and fold your arms. Tell him a story about his favourite animals or toys. Say “lie down and I’ll tell you about ……”
- Keep chatting until he has lost interest and starts to yawn. Now switch of all lights but he can keep the slumber buddie light and play with the buttons. Sit by his side, say “night ” give a brief a kiss, then no more touching and ignore his conversation, occasionally say “sleep time” and wait until he is asleep.
- Don’t leave the room until your toddler is asleep, If he tries to get out of bed, say ” I’m still here and waiting for you to get into bed” Say nothing else, He will soon get bored and climb back into bed. Let your toddler do everything themselves, otherwise he has hooked you in again. Keep patient and wait and wait, There is no rush and tired children are asleep in 10 to 15 minutes.
What to do in the night
When he wakes at night, leave him for a few minutes, avoid rushing in at the first sound of movement. Go in say “back to bed” Let him climb in himself and then sit on the floor with your back to him and wait until he has gone back to sleep. He can play with the slumber buddies until he is ready to settle down.
This is tiring and requires patience but such a good investment of your time and reaps dividends….a full nights sleep!!
When your toddler has made significant progress at settling now start to do gradual retreat. Give your child a treasured personal belonging of yours, ” hold this for mummy, I need to go to the toilet and I’ll come back and get it”. Leave the room for 1 minute.
Do exactly that otherwise your child will be very hurt if you trick them and do not return. Is the best way to build up your Childs trust and confidence about being on their own. Once that works increase the time you stay out of the room by 2-3-4-6 mins until your child is confident and happy to sleep without your presence. This may take a week or two but well worth investment of your time as your child will have the confidence to sleep peacefully all night.
Best of luck