When it comes to bedtime, it can be challenging to craft a soothing routine that is just right for your toddler. Young kids can be prone to sleep regressions and can be stubborn to lay down for a variety of reasons. By following a specific and gradual routine every night, it can aid you in minimizing potential sleep issues. Creating a consistent routine will help your little one achieve a smoother lay down and a more restful night.
Your specific lay-down schedule should be dictated by their age, the time they wake in the morning, and the timing of their naps. This toddler bedtime routine follows a 7 am to 7 pm wake and sleep schedule with one midday nap in between.
This routine is geared toward 1 1/2 to 4-year-olds. It should be noted that every child is different and may have different sleeping needs. In general, this takes an average approach to the sleep needs of a toddler.
Below is a recommended toddler bedtime routine schedule:
5 pm – All Screens Off
No TV, tablet, or overly stimulating electronic toys to be on after this time because the blue light emitted from these devices is known to be a melatonin inhibitor.
5:30 pm – Dinner Time
A well-balanced meal with protein and limited sugar is key.
6:00 pm – Bath Time
A warm bath with either lavender or chamomile bubble bath is a great choice to start the winding down process.
6:30 pm – Preparing for Bedtime
After getting out of the bath, gently massage either chamomile or lavender lotion can help to tire and soothe them. Then it’s time for pajamas and brushing teeth.
6:45 pm – Story Time
Take a few minutes to connect and wind down with a book or two. Again this is a soothing activity that allows for connection and comfort.
7:00 pm – Sweet Dreams
Finally, lay your child down calm and awake but ready for bed. Sweet dreams little one!
A Few Notes:
Consistency is key for an effective and happy toddler bedtime routine. Every night is not going to go perfectly to plan but try to strive for starting and ending bedtime activities at similar times every night. You may also find that telling your child what you are doing and what you will be doing next, helps to better prepare them and help the routine go smoother. For example, "Right now is bath time, and next we will get our jammies on," etc.
Stay calm, kind, and responsive but firm. Sometimes your little one might need an extra snack before bed, an extra bedtime song, or a cuddle. Allow them to exercise their autonomy but make sure to help guide them aptly through the winding down process.
Modeling calmness and even demonstrating to your child that you are feeling sleepy can provide them with guidance on how to act during this time. Every toddler's bedtime routine is going to look a little different but maintaining calm and consistent structure is key! Let me know in the comments your child's favorite way to unwind.