Any mother can attest to the fact that there is nothing worse than a toddler who isn’t sleeping properly. Not only do they keep you up in the middle of the night but it can make the waking hours absolutely unbearable. If your child frequently has temper tantrums and you are unable to determine the cause, it is very likely that they are not sleeping properly. Thankfully, in most cases, there are very easy methods of promoting better sleep patterns.
We’ve all heard time and time again that children can benefit greatly from a set routine. This couldn’t be any truer than at bedtime. I find with my own daughter that it’s best to start preparing her for bed at least an hour to an hour and a half before her actual bedtime. (In our case, we begin at around 6:30-7 PM to prepare for her 8 PM bedtime.) Having a set bedtime routine has been shown to mentally and physically prepare your child for sleep. It helps them unwind and gives them an overall sense of the expectation of sleep.
Below is our bedtime routine and why we have chosen to include that step. We have been using this routine for over a year now and I can say that it has saved my sanity. My daughter now only wakes up in the middle of the night once every couple of weeks, thankfully.
Right after dinner, we head to the bath. I find the best way to use these Epsom salts is to take 1/8 cup of salts and combine them with 2 cups of water (I use our pyrex measuring cups) and put them in the microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds. This dissolves the Epsom salts so the bottom of the bath isn’t all rocky feeling when my daughter gets in. I just put this mixture into the bath when I’m filling up the tub. If you’ve never used Epsom salts before, I highly suggest that you try it. You’ll melt like butter. It’s very relaxing. Just make sure that the salts that you use are made with magnesium sulfate. They also sell bath salts that are made with sodium and it doesn’t have the same soothing effect.
Right after our bath, we brush our teeth and head to the living room for relaxing lavender lotion massage. My daughter loves this step! Not only does the lavender lotion calm her down but I find that it helps us bond. We really like the Aveeno Baby Calming Comfort Lotion. It smells amazing and does a really good job at moisturizing. I even use this myself after I get out of the shower at night.
After our bath, I also put on relaxing lullabies. I know it can be hard to shut off the TV for kids so we have a compromise of putting on lullaby videos on YouTube. The video playlist shown below is from Super Simple Learning. We love this YouTube channel. My daughter loves curling up on my lap and watching these with me at night.
For those nights when my daughter is extra wired, I give her this melatonin supplement 15-20 minutes before bed. It is not habit forming and completely safe for toddlers but I reserve it for nights when I really feel that she needs that extra push to go to sleep. It kicks in pretty quick and it’s a great supplement to have during the Winter when they are not producing as much melatonin naturally from being in the sun.
The last tip in this list is controlling the bedroom temperature when ever possible. Keeping it around this temperature helps facilitate a proper R.E.M. cycle. Try to keep their crib or bed away from windows and doors so that the temperature can be more easily regulated. Another helpful trick is to make sure that all light is eliminated from the room. We use blackout curtains on our windows and I’ve also taken duct tape and put it over all of the electronics in the room that emit light.
Well that sums up our night time routine! I’m sure that some of these tips will be able to help you and your little one. Do you have any other sleep tips that work for you and your child? Let me know in the comments below! Until next time Kangas! Stay strong, radiate positivity and love fiercely!