Avoid toddler tantrums at bedtime with these simple strategies

Bedtime can sometimes feel like a battle when you have a toddler. The combination of tiredness and unwillingness to end the day can easily lead to a meltdown.

However, with the right approach, bedtime can become a peaceful, tantrum-free experience. Here are some effective strategies to help ensure your toddler has a restful night.

The most important thing you can do as a parent to help your child sleep better is to create a consistent bedtime routine.

The routine should be based on the same activities that help your child relax, giving the baby a warm bath, reading a book, or singing a lullaby. 

If your child knows exactly what to do to get ready for bed, it will signal the body to prepare for sleep.

Also, try to set aside five to ten minutes before putting your child to bed for activities like cuddling, soothing music, and telling bedtime stories—all of which can help relax and calm an overactive mind.

Avoid toddler tantrums at bedtime

Creating a calm sleep environment can be very helpful for your child to fall asleep.

  • Choose a room temperature that is cool but not cold
  • Remove any noise generators such as televisions or appliances from the bedroom. If this is not possible, consider using a fan or white noise
  • Include calming elements in the room, e.g. dimmed lighting and soft colors, to calm your child before bedtime.
  • Place stuffed animals or other familiar objects in the bed to make it feel like home
  • Minimizing noise and light disturbances can be important in helping your child get a good night’s sleep. Here are some tips on how to do it:
  • White noise machines are a great way to help children sleep. The soothing, repetitive sounds block out loud noises.
  • Giving your child a night light can make it cozy and reduce anxiety during the night. Just make sure the light is low!
  • A good set of blackout curtains can also help reduce outside lighting.
bedtime checklist for toddler

It’s important to ensure that the length of the naps is not too long – if your child sleeps too much during the day, it may be more difficult to calm down at night.

The ideal length of a nap depends on the child’s age and individual needs, however here are some general guidelines:

Newborns (up to 3 months): 1-2 naps lasting 2-4 hours per day.

Infants (4-11 months): 1-2 naps 1-3 hours per day

Toddlers (1-3 years): 1 nap of 1-3 hours per day.

Preschoolers (3+ years): (3+3 years): No longer need to take a nap.

Also, try to avoid letting your child fall asleep at night while in the car seat or being carried – the quality of sleep is not the same as when they are lying in bed, and this can make it even more difficult to go to bed at night.

Toddlers usually show signs that mean they are ready for bed, here are some of the signals little ones give when they are tired. When you notice these signs, it’s time for them to go to bed.

  • Yawn
  • Move the eyes under closed eyelids
  • Relaxed body
  • Sleepy and heavy eyes
  • Rub eyes and ears

Implementing these strategies can transform bedtime from a time of struggle to a peaceful end to the day. 

Remember, each child is different, so what works for one may not work for another. 

Good luck and good night.