Children generally do better when things are predictable. Establishing a nightly ritual teaches your toddler what is going to happen next, so there are no surprises. Whether you choose to read a book, play a game, watch a video, or play in the bath, make sure that you stick to it, even if you are away from home.
Here are a few suggestions:
• Some children do better when they are allowed burn energy before bed. So, let your toddler run and play vigorously for a while and follow it up with a very relaxing activity, like a bath. You may find that your toddler settle down for a good night’s sleep much easier without all the pent-up energy in his system.
• A bath is one of the best ways to make your toddler relax. Warm water is very soothing and it is a great time to spend one-on-one time with your child.
• Play a game on the floor such as building a puzzle or stacking blocks. Let your child decide on what to play each night and make sure they understand that the play will only last so long. Some parents use a timer that will ring a bell when play time is up. Again, this is so there are no surprises.
• Reading a story is the tried and true ritual that most children love. Allow your toddler to select the book to read and know that you will probably read the same book over and over and over!
Whatever activities you choose to include in your toddler’s bedtime routine, just remember that being consistent is key to avoiding the bed time battles.