There comes in a time in every parent's life where they ask whether or not they will ever enjoy a full night's sleep again – and this question is usually asked through muffled sobs. However, there also comes a time in every toddler's life where he or she begins to settle into regular (and longer) sleeping patterns. Until that point, parents are often clueless as to how to get their sleep-resisting cherub to settle down for a good night's sleep.
Thankfully, we've got some Comfort-ing tips on how to handle a little one who treats bedtime as the opening act of an all-night circus performance. However, we'd like to be honest with you and tell you that getting your little one into bed can be a challenge, even when you're armed with the most handy tips and advice.
Despite the challenge, we do encourage you to rally – the chances are high that your little one will eventually wave his or her white flag in surrender the more effort that you make to enforce a bedtime routine. If you're wondering about the different ways in which to deal with a sleep-resisting cherub, take a look at the following tips:
Eat Right, Sleep Right
While experts suggest that babies should never indulge in foods that are jam-packed with sodium and sugar, the same can be said for toddlers. Not only does the sodium and sugar hype them up, it causes a crash that can lead to inconsolable tantrums before bedtime.
The best way in which to ensure that your little one makes it to bed before the sun rises is to come up with a healthy, nutritious and comforting meal plan. Opt for simple un-processed proteins like boiled eggs, chicken or beef strips or homemade fish fingers, tasty vegetables like pumpkin puree, home-made creamed spinach or sweet potato mash, and fresh pieces of vegetables like cucumber, carrots or tomatoes.
Resist the Urge to Play before Bedtime
Over stimulating your toddler's mind and imagination can lead to hours of begging mom and dad to play, even if it's right before the sun makes an appearance. An hour or two before bedtime, be sure to bring your daily routine to an end and settle for activities that are low-key. This includes reading and preparing for bed – avoid the television, games or anything that will get your little cherub's mind racing.
Create a Calm and Serene Environment
Bright lights, loud conversation and blaring music can convince your little one that mom and dad have more than enough time to sit up through the night. To ensure that your little one understands that it's bedtime, it is suggested that you create a calm and serene environment by turning off all of the major lights, switching off the television and music, and lowering your voices.
Add a few drops of lavender oil to your little one's bath and wrap them up in towels and linen that has been washed with a lightly fragranced fabric softener. The scent of the fabric conditioner and the softness of the towels and linen will comfort your little one, leaving them feeling calm and cosy.
Tucking your little one into bed can be tough, especially when they request a million different things – from a glass of water to another story. The challenge is to ensure this phase with the knowledge that your little one will eventually surrender to sleep, even if it is only at the age of three or four. Until then, practicing a bedtime routine is of utmost importance as your toddler can only benefit from it in the long run.