Inside: Is your toddler bedtime routine a battle every single night? You might be making one of these toddler sleep mistakes. Trust me, I did everything wrong at first when it came to my toddler’s sleep habits. Are you making the same mistakes I did at first? Read on and get started on claiming your evenings back!
You’ve mastered the art of baby bedtime. Sleepy but awake, white noise, all that jazz. Then overnight your sweet little baby turns into an independent, play-till-you-drop toddler! Your child who used to head right to sleep is now intent on being the life of the party at 11 PM!
Luckily for you, I’ve been through the “toddler sleep school of hard knocks” and lived to tell the story! Trust me, I learned these steps the hard way. Bedtime was a struggle for us for a long, long time. When I think back on it now, I wonder how we survived at all.
But…there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, my friend! My little guy is finally going to bed like a champ. Here’s what my crew does to ace toddler bedtime. If you consistently follow these bedtime tips, I promise your little one will be a bedtime rock star in no time.
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Update: My son is now a preschooler and is an excellent sleeper! When my daughter was born, we started off on the right foot with good sleeping habits. If you also have a younger baby. be sure to read about the baby sleep mistakes I fixed the second time around!
Five Common Toddler Sleep Mistakes
Toddler Sleep Mistake # 1: Starting Bedtime with an Empty Belly
No, a good dinner does not mean pizza bites plus a bottle of milk. We’ve all been there with busy evenings, but if it’s at all possible try to give your child a quality dinner. Think high protein + high fiber + complex carb. Your goal here is to fill up that little belly without adding too much sugar. Excess sugar means your toddler could have a blood sugar spike about 15- 30 minutes after his meal. High blood sugar = one grumpy kiddo!
Toddler Sleep Mistake #2: Too Much Screen Time
I have found that screen time in the evening makes a hard transition to bedtime for my son. I know what you’re thinking: “A little TV won’t hurt! It will help him relax.” There is a better way! Take a short walk, read a book together, make bath time extra bubbly. The possibilities are endless. Trust me, we’ve tried both ways, and eliminating TV in the evening works 99% of the time. Just keep those little eyes off the screen!
So many of us need a screen-time reset now and then. It’s OK to need help! Steal my step-by-step plan to conquer screen-time battles from the inside out.
Toddler Sleep Mistake #3: Crazy Fun Evenings
Finally, you and your little one are comfy cozy in his room. It’s time to bring on the big guns. When my son was a toddler, our first step is to read two bedtime books. (Read here for some of our favorite bedtime books!) Next, we turn out the lamp and say our prayers. I love to recite Psalm 19 in its entirety over my son. It’s just the right length, has a calming rhythm, and is a beautiful piece of poetry in its own right. Be warm. Be loving. But be boring.
Struggle with finding a rhythm to your day? Feel like you’re always ending the day overly exhausted and overwhelmed, like you just can’t get ahead? You’ll love my eBook and printable pack, Everyday Calm. Find simple routines and habits to conquer the chaos at home with kids.
Toddler Sleep Mistake #4: No Game Plan
If there’s one things that will hinder your toddler bedtime routine progress, it’s inconsistency. One night you let him cry, the next night you can’t stand it and end up cuddling with him in bed. All these mixed messages make it impossible for your child to know what to expect!
Before I had my second baby, I read The Happy Sleeper. If you’re looking for a more in-depth plan on teaching your toddler or baby to sleep well, I highly recommend the book “The Happy Sleeper” by Heather Turgeon and Julie Wright. One of the techniques is called the reverse Sleep Wave, which is just genius!
I love that this book offers a balanced plan for nurturing great sleeping for your child from the newborn stage all the way up to school age! It was a lifesaver for my second baby. I have a solid game plan for continuing her great sleep habits into toddler-hood. Oh, how I wish I would have read this when my firstborn was a toddler, too!
Toddler Sleep Mistake #5: Neglecting Yourself!
Finally…Your toddler is asleep. You kept your cool and squeezed in some extra quality time with your little one along the way. Now relax and soak in the glory of your bedtime-warrior awesomeness! Make yourself a cup of decaf coffee before bed, or go take a hot shower and steam away that stress.
But, if things didn’t go as planned, just remember: practice makes progress! Follow these rules. You’ll soon be rocking toddler bedtime like a pro! And grab that cup of coffee anyway, you deserve it.
Do you feel like you just can’t win when it comes to toddler bedtime battles? Read here to find out why you’re still a good mom. No matter what.
Share with us below! What are you struggling with right now when it comes to toddler sleep?