Toddlers & Bedtime Tantrums: 5 Helpful Tips

Toddlers & Bedtime Tantrums: 5 Helpful Tips

With a toddler, bedtime can be a nightmare if your child is dreading going to sleep. Tantrums can make bedtime a frustrating experience, leaving everyone exhausted. 

There are multiple reasons why your toddler is throwing a tantrum before bed, maybe they are not sleepy and don’t want to go to bed, or their bedtime routine is unpredictable. Let’s look at some helpful tips in making bedtime a smooth and positive process for all. 

How Much Sleep Do Toddlers Need?

If your child is frustrated by the time bedtime rolls around, you may want to look at their sleep schedule. Depending on your child’s age, they may not be getting enough sleep or may be even getting too much rest.

For children aged one to two years old, 11-14 hours of sleep a day will keep them refreshed and active for children aged one year to two years. If your child is a little older, their sleep needs will be around 10-13 hours from three to five years. 

These hours include both naptime and overnight sleeping. 

If you find that your child is not getting enough sleep, you can increase their naptime or back up their designated bedtime to an earlier start. If your child is getting too much sleep, adjusting naptime is a great place to start. Your child may not need two daytime naps anymore and will be just happy with one. 

Of course, every child is different! If you decide to make changes to their sleep schedule, do so gradually with small incremental changes. Aim for small increments of 10 minutes until you are at the newly picked time. 

Doing small changes will help your child adjust to the new times more easily, and they may not notice the change at all.

Plenty of Playtime

If your toddler is not sleepy by the time bedtime rolls around, they may need more opportunities to get all of their energy out. Spending time outside is essential for your toddler, so they can get plenty of fresh air and run around. 

Going to the park and playing with others is a fantastic place to start practicing social skills and start learning how to be friendly to others. 

Of course, your toddler loves to spend time with you, and you can help your little one learn and solve problems through play. Pointing out the colors of flowers outside can get your little one’s brain whirling, and throwing a ball gets those little arms and legs a great workout. 

Aim for about an hour of unstructured playtime a day to allow your little one to make discoveries on their own. Keeping your toddler busy is hard work, but when bedtime comes, they’ll be ready for some shut-eye. 

Plan playtime at least a few hours before bedtime so your toddler isn’t too wound up before trying to go to bed. Keeping the evenings quiet and calm allows your toddler a chance to unwind and get ready for bed. 

Putting together an easy puzzle, or coloring are quiet activities that can be kept for the quieter evening hours. 

Limit Screen Time Before Bed

Although you may allow your toddler time with devices during the day to help keep them busy while you prepare meals or are waiting in the car, it’s important to limit screen time in the evening. 

The blue light that screens emit can affect the body’s circadian rhythms. Exposure to light causes our body to produce less melatonin, which is the hormone we need for sleep. Blue light, which is the light that is emitted by electronics, can suppress melatonin production even more than other types of light. 

As you witnessed when your toddler was a newborn, exposing your baby to daylight helped shift their circadian rhythm so more of their sleeping hours were during nighttime. 

Using electronics close to bedtime can throw off this circadian rhythm, and cause your toddler to feel less sleepy – ultimately damaging their sleep routine. You are probably well aware of how your toddler may feel when they haven’t gotten enough rest, so limiting screen time before bed is a definite must-do.

Set a curfew for any electronic devices two to three hours before bedtime, and keep lights in the home dim if possible. This will allow your toddler’s body to adjust to nighttime hours and produce the natural melatonin that helps make them sleepy. If you are able, it would also be beneficial if you can model this for your child. 

Not only will you be setting a good example for your toddler, but your sleep schedule will likely see a positive change as well. 

Let Them Make Choices

When it comes to bedtime, allow your toddler to be an active participant in each part of the routine and stretch a little independence in making their own choices. 

Give your toddler a voice when it comes to what bathtime toys they would like to play with, and what pajamas they would like to wear. Picking a bedtime story is also a great way to involve your toddler. 

Meet All Needs Before Bedtime

If your toddler has discovered the, “Can I have a sip of water?” trick to delay bedtime, being proactive will hopefully help keep your toddler from discovering things that they “need” before going to sleep. 

Go ahead and take your toddler on one last bathroom break and give them a sip of water before bed.

Create A Consistent Bedtime Routine

A consistent bedtime routine is the best bet for keeping your toddler from having too many tantrums before bed. Of course there are bound to be days where things just don’t quite go your toddler’s way and they may be grumpy, but bedtime should be a predictable and enjoyable part of the day for everyone. 

There is evidence to support a consistent bedtime routine for children. Not only do children thrive with routine, but a consistent bedtime routine also cultivates healthy sleep habits for children. This means they are more attentive during the day, less grumpy, and are able to communicate their needs better. 

A consistent bedtime routine is also beneficial for families as well. Parents of children with bedtime routines report being happier, and maternal stress is reduced. 

Keep it short and sweet with your bedtime routine. Bathtime, dress in comfy pajamas, a bedtime story, a cuddle, and off to bed. Keeping it simple allows your child to keep track of their routine as well. 

Ideally, your child will be sleepy and you can leave their room right before they drift off to dreamland. This helps with self-soothing techniques if your child wakes up in the middle of the night. 

This part may be challenging, but it’s essential to keep up with the bedtime routine on the weekends too! You can allow your child to sleep in, but no more than an hour. If you allow them to sleep in longer, this could throw off the routine you have worked so hard to perfect. 

Make Little Yawn Collective Part of Your Bedtime Routine

If you are wondering what products you should use during bathtime and after, Little Yawn Collective has you covered. 

Our bathtime products, like our Soothing Shampoo & Body Wash with Calendula and Nourishing Body Lotion with Oat & Shea Butter, contain our NaturalSnooze fragrance. Gentle scents of organic lavender, sandalwood, and cedarwood create a cozy and snoozy environment for your little one to get ready for dreamland. 

You can also incorporate these soothing scents after your little buddy is all dry and comfy in their pajamas. Spraying a Relaxing Pillow & Linen Spray is a perfect companion to a sweet bedtime story. 

Sometimes, toddlers can have tummy troubles that make bedtime difficult. Help calm those digestive upsets with our Calming Probiotic & Organic Chamomile Sleep Drops. Our naturally sourced drops can help to reduce fussiness and get your toddler ready to snooze all night long.

In Conclusion

When it comes to toddler’s and their bedtime, being proactive is the best way to reduce those bedtime tantrums. Giving your toddler plenty of time to be active and a consistent bedtime routine that they are involved in can do wonders. 

Here at Little Yawn Collective, we know that bedtime can be challenging. With some patience, love, and planning, your toddler will snooze off to better sleep…tantrum-free.


Sleep and Your 1- to 2-Year-Old (for Parents) | Nemours KidsHealth

How Much Sleep Do Babies and Kids Need? | Sleep Foundation

Toddlers: Learning by Playing (for Parents) | Nemours KidsHealth

Blue light has a dark side | Harvard Health

Perfecting Your Child's Bedtime Routine | Sleep Foundation

Benefits of a bedtime routine in young children: Sleep, development, and beyond | NCBI


Related Articles

Make bedtime a Breeze

Discover safe, effective, melatonin-free sleep help for your little one

Shop Solutions


Cart (0)