#1. Preparation matters
Talking about what will be happening at bedtime (maybe at dinner time) is very helpful and may give your striving-for-independance toddler sense of predictability. It will also prevent a meltdown down the road.
I mean – if you just put them to bed and walk out the door most kids are not gonna be happy about that!
Giving them small tasks, like picking the book may be helpful as well which also will give them sense of control and inclusivity.
#2. Create a bedtime routine
I say this often but it is super important so I will repeat: KIDS THIRVE ON CONSISTENCY.
Pajamas, toothbrushing, book reading – the bedtime routine’s super important for getting kids ready to sleep. Repeat it every day.
As a matter of fact, the way the whole day goes is important – and if you have a hard time getting your toddler to sleep at night, switching up your daily habits and routines can make a big difference.
#3. Make them feel secure and happy
It’s a good idea to have your little one feeling happy and relaxed before you leave – because if they’re anxious then tears are pretty much guaranteed.
If they’re warm and cosy, and they understand what’s going on (again: consistency) and where you’ll be, bedtime will be a whole lot more successful .
#4. Support them to go to sleep alone
Yes, you’re leaving them alone to go to sleep – but that doesn’t mean you’re not gonna support them. So let your child know where you’ll be – and make it close by. Right outside or the room opposite.
Be ready to give a quick ‘Shush,’ if they start to get upset – often that’s all it takes and it’s way less disturbing than going back into the room. You’re letting them know that you’re there and everything’s okay.
Even go back in after a bit for one more hug.
They have to go to sleep in their room alone but that doesn’t mean you can’t be there for them – just in a different way now because they’re getting bigger.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR PARENTS OF NON-NAPPING TODDLERS:
Again, the key to successful.. anything 😉 is consistency. I know it can be hard to keep up with the routine sometimes, or it may feel easier to just give in. And even if it does (happens to everyone), just start over. You’ve got this!