Bedtime Battles

Toddlers & Young Children

Haven’t we all dealt with bedtime battles with our little ones!??  

Any age can bring battles, and how we deal with these battles differ dependent on your little one’s age.  Toddlers and young children are usually more verbal so they can tell us how they are feeling, but also, they can go go go all day and night if they could! 

Bedtime battles can sometimes bring a lot of anxiety for parents – I completely understand as I have been there myself! 

It can cause parents to almost dread the thoughts of bedtime or nap time, because we are preempting what is going to happen, and of course, we do not want us, or our little one’s, upset.

Ensuring that your little one is content so they can have a restful sleep is so important, but not only that, parent’s mental well being is also so important.  We want to make bed time a time to enjoy with our children.

So, here are a few top tips to try and minimise these battles as much as possible:

  • Going to bed at the right time – many toddlers and children may be going to bed a little too late.  The summer months definitely can also cause later bedtimes due to the longer evenings. Yes, we absolutely want out little ones to have a great time playing, however, we also need to be mindful of ensuring that our young children are not overtired.  Putting your little one to bed even 15 minutes earlier at night initially, usually results in a longer night’s sleep. If this works well, you can try another 15 minutes earlier a few nights later.

  • Our little one’s going to bed later, does not mean that they will sleep later the next morning –  This is something that a lot of people have said to me over the years “try putting your baba down later at night, so they will sleep later in the morning”.  Unfortunately, this is a bit of an old wives tale, and will, more often than not, have quite the opposite effect. Your little one being overtired and going to bed too late can result in less restful sleep and early wake up’s!
  • If your little one has just dropped their nap – an even earlier bedtime will be necessary to bridge that gap.  Having been awake potentially 12 hours or so would be too hard for your little one initially, therefore increasing the chance of tears and tantrums

  • Try and eliminate screen time at least an hour before bedtime – the blue light that is emitted from screens prohibits the release of Melatonin, which is a hormone that is essential for sleeping.

  • Toddlers and young children will sometimes try and delay bedtime as much as possible – as much as we love spending this time with our little one’s, let’s face it – we do need want an end point to it, especially when we just want to go to bed ourselves! So ensure that your little one has been “fed and watered” before bed, so that they are not “dying” of thirst and that they have gone to the toilet also, if they are no longer using nappies.

  • Consistency is key with story time – Sometimes our little ones will ask for more and more stories to delay sleep time also,  which is absolutely fine if you are happy to do so.  However, if this is causing a little anxiety, I would recommend reading two stories every night.  One can be interactive, and the other a little more calming.  Communicating this with your little one is very important, so they know how many stories you will read with them, before it is sleep time

  • Be firm but kind – creating tears and upset is not what we want of course (for us and our little one’s!)

  • And finally – enjoy the time together!  Xx

My name is Fiona, and I am a Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consultant, specialising with baby’s, toddlers and young children. I am a Mum of two crazy and wonderful little ones! x

Sleep challenges can affect the whole family, and everything is so much harder when we are sleep deprived! (I have been through it myself).

I am passionate about supporting you with any sleep challenges you have with your little one.

Sleep science and emotional wellness for the whole family are the most important aspect of my support.

If you are ready to start sleeping, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Looking forward to helping you and your family sleep better xx

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My name is Fiona and mama of two wonderful (and mad!) children.  My daughter Cara, is 3 years old and my son Aedan, is nearly 2 years old.  I am also a Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consultant. Our household is absolute carnage most days, but I wouldn’t change it for the world....

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