Toddler Bedtime Routine: Establish Sleep Patterns

Toddler Bedtime Routine: Establish Sleep Patterns

Has bedtime been a source of friction in the evening hours? Do you dread putting your toddler to bed because of the fussiness you know coming? Establishing a consistent bedtime routine may take patience and practice, and your little one will be blissfully snoozing away before long.

Toddler Sleep Needs

The moment toddlers wake up, they are little balls of energy, and it seems to never run out! Add that with their ever-growing bodies and brains, and you have a toddler who needs the proper support to keep their minds and bodies strong. Sleep is a big need that toddlers require every night, and they need lots of it.

Every toddler is different, but on average, most young children between the ages of one and two need around eleven to fourteen hours every day. This can be spread across the day to include nighttime hours and daytime naps.

Younger toddlers typically take two naps per day, and as they grow, they will be able to handle longer waking hours. They’ll transition to one nap per day and then to no naps by the time they are four to five years old.

Plenty of Playtime

You’ve probably repeatedly thought to yourself, “I wish I had a teaspoon of my toddler’s energy.” They love to play and run around, but playing and running around too close to bedtime can make the ZZZs harder to come by.

To make sure that bedtime is calm and relaxing, your toddler should have plenty of opportunities to get their energy out during the day. Lots of outside playing and exploring should do the trick.

We don’t want to completely wear our toddler’s out, as they may be tempted to close their eyes earlier than usual and throw off that sleep schedule you are working so hard to perfect.

No Screen Time

At no other time in history have humans spent so much time looking at a screen. They are all around us. Many screens emit blue light, throwing our circadian rhythms off track. Many of us may end the day lying in bed scrolling on our phones, which is not great for our body’s natural production of melatonin. Researchers found that blue light caused study participants' bodies to suppress natural melatonin during nighttime hours.

So, what’s the difference between natural and synthetic melatonin? Natural melatonin is made from the pineal gland of animals. It can be mixed with unknown synthetic material free from animal tissues. Meanwhile, synthetic melatonin is free from biological contaminants.

The melatonin we produce naturally is vital in keeping our circadian rhythms stable. Without it, it may cause us not to feel sleepy and not get enough sleep overnight. This can cause an ugly cycle of sleepiness during the day and then experiencing a second wind when we climb into bed with our phones.

The same can be said for toddlers. With their circadian rhythms still developing, blue light can have more of an effect on their sleeping habits. If you allow your toddler to use a tablet during the day, it is likely one of their favorite things. They love playing games and watching their favorite shows.

Setting a curfew for screens can help minimize blue light's effects on your toddler’s circadian rhythms.

Circadian rhythms impact how much REM sleep we achieve during the night, which indicates our sleep quality. The less REM sleep we get, the less quality our sleep has. We want our little buddies to get all the REM sleep they can for their ever-growing little arms and legs.

Restful Environment

Having a sleep-friendly space can help your little one feel more at ease and ready for bed. Any distractions should be placed out of your toddler’s sight so their attention is not diverted during bedtime.

A warm cuddle in a comfy bed, their favorite nightlight, and a dark, cool room is the best environment to invite your toddler to dreamland. If your toddler’s room faces the morning sun or the car’s headlights are easily seen through the windows, investing in light-blocking curtains is a big payoff when your toddler is resting cozy and comfy.

If your child is a light sleeper when it comes to noise, a white noise machine may be your new best friend by blocking outside noises.

Following a Good Bedtime Routine

When it comes to getting your toddler ready for bed, a consistent bedtime routine is the most effective way to ensure that your toddler gets the quality sleep they need. A nighttime routine is simply a series of actions that you and your toddler take before getting tucked in and their light turning off.

Establishing a consistent bedtime routine also helps your toddler feel safe as it becomes a predictable set of events that your toddler is familiar with. They’ll know what is happening, and any fear of unknown variables vanishes away when they know the next step.

To prevent the bedtime battles, keeping your toddler’s bedtime routine short and sweet is best. Pick a few activities that you and your toddler can do every night.

Determine their bedtime, and then estimate how much time you’ll need for each activity. Count backward to determine what time you should start the bedtime routine. It is okay if you need to revise after seeing what works and what doesn’t. That’s the beauty of routine. You can make it your own and figure out the most effective ways to get your toddler unwound and ready for bed.

Establish Sleep Patterns

A consistent bedtime routine is also crucial in helping your toddler establish an effective sleeping pattern. With a bedtime routine, you can ensure that your toddler will be better rested and fall asleep earlier and sleep longer throughout the night.

Keeping your toddler calm throughout the routine is essential to foster feelings of comfort and sleepiness. Once you have determined when you should start your toddler’s bedtime routine, it may be beneficial to have a little pre-routine that includes dimming the lights in the rooms your toddler is occupying.

Cut off any loud appliances, and turn off any TVs or screens that your toddler can see. This signals to your toddler that everyone is starting to wind down, and pretty attention they will get to spend some one-on-one time with their favorite person, you!

More ZZZs Please

Let’s run through a sample bedtime routine so you can see how simple it can be to get your toddler ready to visit dreamland.

Little Yawn Collective’s melatonin-free sleep solutions are great tools to have in your arsenal of bedtime tricks when it comes to products. Let’s see how each product fits seamlessly into the bedtime routine.

Bathtime

A warm, soothing bath is just the ticket to getting your toddler squeaky clean and feeling relaxed. Our Soothing Shampoo & Body Wash with Calendula gently cleanses your toddler from head to toe with natural ingredients.

Pajama Time

A toddler pro-tip: allow your toddler to pick out which jammies they want to wear for the ultimate bedtime buy-in.

Before slipping them into their comfies, nourish and calm their skin with our Nourishing Body Lotion with Oat & Shea Butter. Your toddler will love a relaxing massage from you.

Bedtime Story

Get your toddler tucked into bed and read one of their favorite bedtime stories. Before reading, spritz our Relaxing Pillow & Linen Spray around the room and on their bed. This sleep mist will help create an environment that helps with falling asleep and staying asleep.

Fussiness? No More!

Occasionally our toddlers may be fussy and complain of an upset tummy. No worries here!

Our Calming Probiotic & Organic Chamomile Sleep Drops are just the thing to help your toddler get back to counting sheep. Our naturally sourced, melatonin-free sleep drops are specially formulated for kids to encourage restful zzzs. They can also help calm occasional tummy troubles that our toddlers sometimes get.

Big Hug, Kiss, & Night Night

The pinnacle of the bedtime routine is here. After going through all the steps, your toddler will hopefully be feeling loved, comforted, cozy, and sleepy. Give them a big hug, kiss, and say goodnight to your little buddy.

Conclusion

The more you run through this routine, the more predictable and ready your toddler will be ready for bed when you start going through the motions. If your toddler is having a tough time going to sleep independently, you may consider sleep training or using a bedtime pass to help your little buddy stay in bed throughout the night.

Of course, you can adjust and make changes that best suit your toddler and your family. As long as your toddler can get to a place where they are soundly sleeping, your bedtime routine is a success.

Your friends at Little Yawn Collective know that bedtime can be challenging, and we can help make bedtime a breeze. Check us out, and see how we can have you and your toddler rest easy in no time!

Sources:

Sleep and Your 1- to 2-Year-Old | Nemours KidsHealth

Blue light has a dark side | Harvard Health

Perfecting Your Child's Bedtime Routine | Sleep Foundation

How Does Blue Light Affect Children's Sleep? | Sleep Foundation

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