Babies, Toddlers, Kids & Childrens
47 – Taming a
Tough Toddler at Bedtime
Putting your toddler to bed can sometimes be an exercise in frustration. If you have experienced this, you might want to consider one of the following techniques to make bedtime a peaceful time.
Be consistent about bed times and waking times. Your toddler is more likely to respond positively if he’s used to a specified schedule. The earlier your child’s routine is established, the easier it is to put them to bed without incident.
Make the activities the same every night, and make the time before bed quiet and peaceful. Whether a parent tells the child a story, provides a bedtime snack, puts in a short video, or plays quiet games before putting the child in bed, consistency is the key.
Try not to lie in bed with your toddler until he falls asleep. This might actually have the opposite effect, and might encourage your child to stay awake, and ask for drinks of water and more bedtime stories. An alternative might be telling your toddler you’re going to complete a chore and that you’ll come back in and check on them in a few moments. It’s most likely that the child will fall asleep while waiting for mom or dad to return. You might also want to talk about your child’s day with them. Keep your tone soft and quiet, and try not to excite your child in the process. Turning this into a nighttime story with your child as the main character is a fun option as well.
As the child grows older, if a consistent bedtime is maintained the task will become easier. The most important issue is consistency and repetition. If the child can expect the same thing every night, and these customary tasks are pleasant, bedtime can become a delightful family ritual. If however, your child is continually resisting sleep, talk with your child’s pediatrician, as their might be a medical problem at the root of it.
48 – Relaxation
Techniques for Toddler’s Bedtime
Though it may seem like your toddler does nothing but play all day, he’s working very hard and by no means is his life stress-free. As he’s learning to walk, talk, and climb, he’s pushing himself to the limits of his physical strength and mental learning. He's also falling down, bumping, surprising, and hurting himself over and over again each day. And since your toddler doesn't yet know how to roll with the punches or ease up on himself, he's constantly frustrated and angered by failure. All this activity is bound to make for an exhausted toddler.
If you find his favorite activities or routine tasks are frustrating him, he’s most likely overtired and in need of restorative and restful sleep. Physical exhaustion, excitement, and tension build up until he no longer knows he's tired. Then it is up to you as a parent to help him figure out how to stop and rest. You can help make the transition from busy, active, energetic day to tranquil, quiet and peaceful night by easing him into sleep with quiet activities in the evening after dinner. Coloring a picture, sitting down and watching a favorite, but quiet, video, reading books, singing, quiet play at bath time, or singing lullabies together helps your toddler disconnect and start winding down. If this is done within the framework of a consistent bedtime routine, your toddler will come to associate these activities with bedtime and find them comforting and he’ll be able to easily recognize when bedtime occurs.
It’s also important to relax with your toddler. If he sees you busy in the kitchen cleaning, outside gardening, or doing other busy activities in the evenings, he’ll be likely to want to do the same, making the bedtime routine frustrating for everyone involved.
Finding activities for toddlers is no big deal, but the difficult part is finding something that will keep them entertained for more than a few seconds. The problem with any activity for toddlers is that kids are so fickle and so moody. It really is hard to tell what children's activities will be appreciated and which ones will. If you pick the the right toddler activities, the kids will have fun for hours. But if you pick the wrong ones, they may become bored, or even upset. The important thing for a parent or caregiver is to be patient and ready to try many different activities.
Of course, when selecting an activity for toddlers, you have to keep in mind that many of the things that we take for granted and do every day and novelties for them. For example, taking a walk in a stroller is an activity for toddlers that provides endless amusement and entertainment. Similarly, something like peekaboo list adult has become a bit of a boring an obvious, for young children is still a source of great amusement.
Of course, sometimes the best activity for toddlers is the simplest and most obvious. I have noticed that little kids love to play with balloons. I actually cannot be credited with this activity for toddlers – I do not think of it on my own. I got it from a kids book, when older brother demonstrates for his younger brother and his brothers friends all the fun that can be had by dancing around with balloons. In the book, it keeps the kids busy for something like 40 minutes, which is impressive for any activity for toddlers. Although in my experience it doesn't work quite that well, it is still a good way to keep them entertained and teach the basic principles of hand eye coordination.
But in reality, the best way to find an activity for toddlers is to think back to your own childhood. What did you like to do? What entertained you? What excited you, and what relaxed you? And most of all what capture your imagination? Of course, when you start asking these kind of questions, you eventually find your way to the best activity for toddlers that there is: reading. Kids love books, and at that age it is the best time to introduce them to lifelong love of reading. Even before the have a good grasp of language, they will enjoy the pictures, and and pick up at least parts of the story. Read to them every day.