How to Get Your Toddler to Bed With No Excuses

Toddlers are smart little humans. By the time children are two-years-old, many have figured out exactly what to do or say to stay awake at bedtime. Parents of toddlers know that they are notorious for creating a plethora of excuses to stay up. “Just one more drink,” they plea. “One more song, puh-leease?” they beg. They might even try the divide and conquer method, “Mom said I could read one more story.” And who can really blame them? But at the end of a long day, parents need some time to recharge and rest. Become a bedtime guru today and get your toddler to bed with no excuses.

Feel like it takes FOREVER to get your toddler to go to bed? Try this strategy from, "How to Get Your Toddler to Bed With No Excuses." Toddlers are smart little humans. By the time children are two-years-old, many have figured out exactly what to say or do to drag bedtime out. Parents of toddlers know that they are notorious for creating a plethora of excuses to stay awake. Become a bedtime guru today by clicking here.

7 Ways to Get Your Toddler to Bed With No Excuses

1. Set Aside Time to Wind Down

Set aside time for your toddler wind down before bedtime. Ideal, low-energy activities for this time are things like reading books, putting together puzzles, or talking. This winding down time is important for toddlers as they prepare for bed. By providing time to calm down, parents are helping to create a successful experience for their child. Each child is different, so the length of time parents provide to calm down will be dependent upon the child. A good starting point is 15 minutes. Then, parents can adjust the time as needed.

2. Begin Early

Provide plenty of time for your child to complete the bedtime tasks at a natural pace. This will help to maintain the low-energy vibe and prepare your toddler for bed. If you find that you are typically rushing through the bedtime routine, add a few minutes each night, until you find a natural pace.

3. Teach Relaxation

There are many ways to teach relaxation to your toddler. This is an important skill that can help your toddler begin to learn how to self-regulate. Popular ways to teach relaxation include:

  • Turning the lights off or setting them on low
  • Playing relaxing music
  • Stretching / yoga
  • Breathing deeply
  • Taking a bath
  • Massage

4. Create a Routine

Creating a routine for your toddler will help them know what they can expect. Bedtime routines can even be created together, with your child. If your toddler likes to sing a song, read a book, snuggle, or rock in a chair, then create time to include a few of those items. Each bedtime routine may look different, but common elements of a toddler bedtime routine might include:

  • Going potty
  • Drink (water or bottle)
  • New diaper / pull-up
  • Changing into pajamas
  • Brush teeth
  • Sing song
  • Read a book
  • Time to talk
  • Good night prayer
  • Kisses / hugs / snuggles

As the parent, you can pick and choose what elements work best for your family. Once you have selected the elements of your routine, stay consistent. If you do choose to include songs or books, I recommend setting a specific number for each or timer for these activities so there is a clear ending.

5. Be Consistent

Children thrive on consistency. They enjoy having predictability and knowing what to expect. Being consistent with a bedtime routine will help to set your child’s expectations. If your toddler knows that every night there is a rhythm, they will be more likely to follow that routine, rather than fight it. However, if every night is different, they are more likely to test the boundaries and limitations to see what each night holds. Being consistent is key to eliminating bedtime excuses.

6. Offer rewards

Many parents have found success putting a toddler to bed with no excuses, by using rewards. The reward can be as simple as praising the child the next morning for following the bedtime routine and falling asleep. The reward could also be as complex as giving a child a set amount of tickets each night. For each ticket, the child could ask the parent to come into his/her room. If the child decides to instead save the tickets, he/she can then turn them in for a reward. As the parent, you know what will work best for your child, so you can create a simple or complex reward for your toddler following the bedtime routine.

7. Balance

Balance means making small adjustments as your toddler needs it. This means providing overall consistency of the routine, but also allowing space for your child’s needs. If they are sick, maybe they need to go to bed earlier that day. If they had a rough day, maybe they need extra time for snuggles or hugs.


Reviewing the Tips for How to Get Your Toddler to Bed With No Excuses

1. Set Aside Time to Wind Down

Provide time for your toddler to begin winding down before bedtime. You may begin with 15 minutes, and adjust from there.

2. Begin Early

Provide enough time for your child to go through the bedtime routine at a natural pace to maintain low-energy.

3. Teach Relaxation

Pick a relaxation technique to practice with your toddler to help him or her begin to learn how to relax before bed.

4. Create a Routine

Select a bedtime routine for your child to create predictability and stability for your child.

5. Be Consistent

Select a bedtime routine and stick to it. You will help your toddler by setting his or her expectations and eliminate excuses.

6. Offer Rewards

Reinforce when your child makes progress towards staying in bed and going to sleep with something as simple as praising the child for making a good choice, or create a more complex reward system of your choosing.

7. Balance

Stick to the overall routine to provide consistency, while also considering your child’s needs. Provide some flexibility when needed.

P.S. If you enjoyed this piece, you may also like the Positive Ways to Redirect Your Misbehaving Toddler.

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  1. Great article! Thank you for linking up at Nest Builders weekly link up. Your post will be featured on my next party. Be sure to come check it out on Thursday at 8pm EDT
  2. Such great tips, we have always found routine to be so important as they grew so they always knew what was about to happen. We now have a special book time in bed and read a chapter a night after teeth and toilet. Such a special time,
    • I agree, a routine can provide such comfort. I am always happy to hear about other parents reading to their children. It is so important.

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