When you’re just starting to learn about all the amazing things the world around you has to offer, calling it a night is probably the last thing on your mind. But without an adequate amount of sleep, your toddler can be cranky, have trouble focusing and even develop health problems down the line. The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that toddlers get about 10 to 13 hours of sleep every night. Here are a few simple ways to establish a bedtime routine to make sure your wee one gets their forty winks.
The key word in bedtime routine is “routine.” Providing your little one with structure and familiarity can make bedtime go more smoothly—your child will know what to expect and may find the experience less stressful as a result. Start by choosing a specific time for the routine to begin—say, an hour before your want your child to be in bed, lights out—and stick to it every night.
Spend Some Time in the Tub
After a long day of playing and excitement, there’s nothing like a soak in the tub to help your wee one wind down. The warmth of the water and gentle bathing will be soothing for your little one, and the addition of a few favourite tub toys can keep things fun without getting your child too energized before it’s time to hit the hay.
Turn It into a Game
Even the most daunting task can seem more bearable when there is some kind of game or reward system attached. If your child completes the necessary elements of their bedtime routine without a fuss, brushing teeth and putting on pajamas for example, they can be rewarded with their choice of a bedtime story, or a sticker for an activity board that you create together.
Settle in with a Good Book
There really is something magical about a bedtime story. Whether you’re reading Goodnight Moon or making up a whole new story of your own, this nightly activity is a great opportunity to bond with your wee one, and can provide your child with wonderful memories for years to come.
End the Day with Gratitude
Before you switch on the night light and tuck your little one in with their favourite stuffie, take a quick moment to reflect on the day. Ask your child to tell you one thing or person that they are most grateful for on that day. Not only does it give you a chance to share a special moment together, but it also ends the day on an uplifting note and helps them to focus on something positive before drifting off to sleep.