Has your toddler’s bedtime become a full night-time shift? Is your toddler constantly stalling for time at bedtime? Perhaps this sounds all too familiar, “Mommy, I love you” “I need a hug” “Just one more story, Just one… I sleep then just one story, I need water, I need milk, mommy I’m hungry…
If you bought into it, “Sucker!” ha ha. Seriously we have all been down that path and got sucked in.
Toddler bedtime can bring all kinds of shenanigans, that can keep you beside their bed until you fall asleep! All these requests, asked in the most loving way, are delayed bedtime tactics. Tried, tested, and approved by many toddlers that I feel share a special code when briefly meeting! Its most likely my second most requested consult after baby sleep… Toddler Shenanigans! This behaviour is more often than not solved with a few corrections with bedtime sleep and routine.
Starting bedtime at 7pm and having a sleeping toddler by 8.30pm does not = good sleep or good bedtime routine. It is quite possible that the long drawn out antics are making for a bedtime that is too late and you are missing the sleep window!
How to overcome delayed bedtime tactics
1) For your own peace of mind, give your toddler a substantial snack before bed. Such as a banana and glass of milk, or a peanut butter sandwich.
2) Enforce the usual bedtime routine, brush teeth, go toilet / potty time, etc.
3) Decide on what book to read, keep it short and explain prior that its just the one book. Sip of water at end of book and tuck in with a hug and kiss.
Now for the tough part, letting your toddler know who is the boss! Remember, up to this point your toddler has pretty much called all the shots, now it is time to take the power back. Get firm, stand your ground, and now after the story time, exit. If your toddler gets out of bed, march him/her right back to his/her bed, and in a firm voice say sleep. Yes that’s it, just one word, sleep. Do not speak or be pulled into a little chit chat about his/her wants, needs, or how daycare was, sleep, one word just as a mantra. If the shenanigans continue, stay in his/her room until he/she sleeps. The key is not speaking, no eye contact, no chat, just one word every time he/she speaks… sleep. In time sleep will be with you.