A predictable bedtime routine can help set your toddler up for success. At the same time, life happens! I want you to have a great little sleeper so that you can thrive, and part of that is being able to have flexibility around life’s joys.
There will be times when your bedtime routine needs to be shortened or altered, and that’s okay. Maybe you’re out with family for a dinner, and you arrive home at 9:30 pm. Don’t stress about getting in every step of your bedtime routine; skip the bath and do a mini routine instead.
Maybe you have a night where you’re leaving your toddler with a sitter. That’s okay too! It can be helpful to talk to your child about it before the sitter arrives. Remember: toddlers thrive when they know what’s coming. That advance notice will help your toddler be more adaptable when bedtime approaches.
Now, will there be times when you have to change the routine without any notice? Of course! But, having routines and expectations established will help your toddler be flexible on the rare occasions when everything changes at the last minute. Just keep in mind that your toddler may need some extra grace when that happens!
It’s amazing all the different ways toddlers and preschoolers can find to stall bedtime! Whether it’s “I need to go outside. I can’t sleep without my stick!” or “Just one more book?” or “I need more water,” no one is more productive than a toddler at bedtime.
To help prevent stalling, here are a few tips you can try:
Remind your toddler bedtime is coming. A gentle reminder at 10 minutes and again at 5 minutes prior to starting the bedtime routine can really help with bedtime stalling.
Allow your toddler the opportunity to burn off extra energy by running some laps around the house before the bedtime routine.
Set the stage for sleep by dimming the lights and using quiet voices during the bedtime routine.
Before bedtime, anticipate your toddler’s needs – what do they usually ask for when stalling? Another trip to the bathroom, more water or snacks, or a certain lovey? Try to fulfill or handle these needs before saying goodnight.
If you haven’t already, implement a bedtime routine. Having a bedtime routine has been shown to improve sleep struggles in just a few nights!
A bedtime routine chart can also be a great visual tool and a reminder to help maintain a bedtime routine and reduce stalling.
Remember, it is perfectly normal for toddlers to push bedtime boundaries! In fact, I have a whole blog all about toddlers fighting bedtime.
A bedtime routine chart will work as a visual reminder that helps make bedtime fun and predictable. And it also helps reinforce loving boundaries and expectations!
Download my free printable toddler bedtime routine chart to get started! This downloadable chart includes BONUS tips on how to implement a visual bedtime routine with your toddler.