Relaxing Bedtime Routine for Toddlers

Relaxing Bedtime Routine for Toddlers

Establishing a relaxing bedtime routine is crucial for helping toddlers wind down before sleep. A consistent nightly routine signals to your toddler’s body that it’s time to relax and prepare for rest.

This can make bedtimes smoother and help avoid restless nights. In this article, we’ll explore 10 tips for creating a calming presleep routine that toddlers will love.

Benefits of a Relaxing Bedtime Routine for Toddlers

Establishing a consistent, relaxing bedtime routine benefits toddlers and the whole family.

Here are some of the top reasons to implement a calming presleep routine:

1. Promotes Better Sleep

A soothing routine signals to a toddler’s body and mind that it’s time to unwind and prepare for sleep. This facilitates the release of melatonin and other hormones that induce drowsiness.

Toddlers who follow regular routines are more likely to fall asleep faster at bedtime.

2. Reduces Bedtime Resistance

When toddlers know what to expect leading up to bedtime, they are less likely to stall or put up a fight. Predictable routines eliminate bedtime power struggles and make the transition into sleep more seamless.

3. Enhances Emotional Well-Being

Soothing activities like reading bedtime stories, singing lullabies, and exchanging goodnight kisses provide a sense of closeness. Positive routines make children feel secure and loved before falling asleep.

4. Develops Healthy Sleep Habits

Bedtime routines begun in early childhood establish patterns that can last a lifetime. Toddlers who learn to Transition into sleep smoothly are more likely to be good sleepers as they grow older.

5. Allows Parents to Unwind Too

With toddlers tucked in bed at a consistent time, parents gain valuable time in the evening to relax and focus on their own self-care. A relaxing toddler routine benefits the whole family.

baby book reading before sleep

Sample Relaxing Toddler Bedtime Routine

Here is an example of a relaxing 30-45 minute bedtime routine for toddlers:

7:00 PM – Calm playtime. Read stories or play with quiet toys together.

7:15 PM – Warm bath with lavender bubble bath. Keep lighting soft.

7:30 PM – Get into pajamas and brush your teeth.

7:35 PM – Read 2-3 calming, short picture books together.

7:45 PM – Turn down overhead lights, turn on the night light and soft music.

7:50 PM – Give a gentle foot massage with lotion while talking softly.

8:00 PM – Get into bed, exchange kisses and hugs, say goodnight.

The key is keeping activities soothing, calm, and predictable. Minimize bright lights, noise, and stimulation during the last hour before bedtime. Be consistent and soon your toddler will embrace the routine as a cue to relax for sleep.

Tips for Creating a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

1. Choose a Consistent Bedtime

Having your toddler go to bed around the same time each evening is vital for regulating their sleep-wake cycle.

Aim for a bedtime between 7-8 PM, when your toddler shows signs of tiredness like rubbing their eyes or becoming fussy. This anchors their circadian rhythm so their body prepares for sleep.

2. Create a Predictable Routine

Follow the same sequence of activities leading up to bedtime every night. The predictability will be soothing and reduce bedtime resistance.

Your routine may include bathing, brushing your teeth, getting pajamas on, reading books, and singing lullabies.

toddler sleeping

3. Make Bathtime Relaxing

A warm (not hot) bath can be very calming before bed. Keep bathtime mellow by using soft lighting, playing gentle music, and keeping toys to a minimum. Lavender or chamomile bubble baths can promote relaxation.

4. Get Into Pajamas

Let your toddler choose fun pajamas to look forward to wearing at bedtime. Having pajamas be part of the routine signals that sleep is coming soon. Soft, comfy pajamas help Toddlers feel cozy and ready for bed.

5. Read Calming Books

Reading is an essential part of any bedtime routine. Choose slow-paced, soothing stories to wind down. Books about saying goodnight, journeys to dreamland, or bedtime prayers can relax your toddler before sleep.

6. Dim the Lights

Bright overhead lights can overstimulate your toddler before bed. Turn them off and use a soft lamp, night light, or string lights to create a calming ambiance. Light-blocking curtains also signal it’s time for sleep.

7. Play Soothing Music

Playing tranquil instrumental music, lullabies, or nature sounds can relax your toddler’s body and mind. Music with about 60 beats per minute aligns with our resting heart rate. Avoid overly stimulating tunes before bed.

8. Do Breathing Exercises

Try simple breathing techniques to instill calmness. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4, and breathe out for 4. Have your toddler inhale through their nose, fill their belly with air, then slowly exhale through the mouth.

Bedtime Routine for Toddlers

9. Give a Gentle Massage

A gentle back or foot massage with lotion helps toddlers unwind before bed. Use light, soothing strokes and avoid vigorous rubbing. Lavender lotion can promote drowsiness.

10. Keep Noise Down

Noise and stimulus after a certain point can disrupt your toddler’s wind-down period. Keep things quiet, with no loud music, TV, or rambunctious play before bedtime. Quiet fosters an atmosphere of rest.

11. Be Consistent

It takes time for new routines to stick. Follow your bedtime routine consistently for at least 2-3 weeks before expecting your toddler to embrace it fully. Consistency and repetition are vital to creating new sleep habits.

Establishing a relaxing bedtime routine requires some effort upfront, but the payoff is less bedtime resistance and better sleep for everyone.

Wind-down routines like these help toddlers transition smoothly into dreamland. Pleasant evenings pave the way for restful nights. Learn more about bedtime habits and routine-building tips.