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Baby & Toddler Bedtime



"How am I going to do bedtime with a newborn and toddler alone?"


This was me, the first time my husband was away at bedtime and I had a newborn and a 3-year-old.


If you're in a situation where you're often alone at bedtime, or you have kids that share a room, here are a few tips to help you out!



1) Baby goes down first, then the toddler/older child


Most infants under 12 months need a bedtime between 630-730 pm.


Toddlers to young school-aged children can be from 7-8 pm.


Instead of trying to get them in bed at the same time, stagger their bedtimes.


This can help to avoid an overtired baby that takes more time to settle down for sleep, and it can take some of the pressure off to 'lay down and be quiet.'


While you're putting your baby to bed, have a special activity that your older child can do such as a special sticker book, playdough, or a special set of cars that are only for bedtime quiet time.


2) Get consistent with your bedtime routines & timing


#IFKYK


Toddlers are notorious for their stall tactics, especially at bedtime.


Creating a simple and consistent bedtime routine can help you keep to your boundary, and let your toddler know that the rules won't change, and that helps them feel more secure.


Examples of a toddler bedtime routine:

  • Bath

  • Potty break

  • PJs

  • Brush teeth

  • Books- only 3!

  • Talk time (see below)

  • Hugs & kisses good-night



3) Help decrease bedtime protest with daytime connection.


Seeing lots of protests at bedtime, especially from your toddler?


Help fill up their love/connection tank by being intentional during the day.


"But Melody, I'm home with my toddler all day, isn't that enough connecting time?"


Maybe, but also, maybe not.


We can often be distracted by our phones (Guilty!), household duties, food prep, making 100,000 snacks a day, and trying to keep the tiny humans alive.


For intentional connection time, find 15-20 minutes of 1:1, no phones, no screens, to be with your toddler.


Ideas:

  • Coloring together

  • Reading a book together

  • Playing blocks

  • Playing dolls

  • Tickling

  • Wrestling

  • Jumping on pillows from the couch (if you allow that in your house...)


It doesn't have to be long, but rather what's important is that it's 1:1, and there are no distractions.


If laughter can happen, that's even better.


If there's physical activity, extra bonus!


We all need our 'connection' tank filled up, and it looks different for each of us.


Protesting behaviors tend to come out of a lack of boundaries, and a lack of connection.


Sigh.


But the good news is, you CAN make an effort that will pay off at bedtime!


Bonus tip: Talk time!


I LOVE doing this with my kids! You never know what they're going to say and it's really cute:)


When you're having a bedtime snuggle after reading books, ask your toddler some open-ended questions, for example:


What did you like about today?

What made you laugh today?

Tell me something funny!


The responses are sometimes hilarious and insightful.


I love this activity because it gives me children a chance to tell me something, instead of my always telling them something:)


I hope you can find some tools and tricks to incorporate into your bedtime routine!





Here for you!


Melody Patton






















Baby & Toddler Bedtime related blogs:

When bedtime isn't going well

20 Minutes crying before sleep

What toddler parents want to know

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