Step 1 – Establish a bedtime routine - I can’t stress enough how important this is. What time you put them to bed isn’t near as important as what steps you take to put them to bed. Toddlers have a difficult time with transition. When you give them a routine, it helps them know what’s coming next. BE CONSISTENT with this – do not deviate. For example:
- pick up toys
- take a bath
- get jammies on
- have a glass of milk
- go potty
- brush teeth
- read two books – not one, not three, not okay just one more this time (you pick it, one or two, but be CONSISTENT)
- night, night kisses
- tuck into bed and say goodnight
(this is just an example of a routine – whatever your routine is, is fine, just be as consistent with it as possible)
Step 2 – Stay very close by. If your child gets out of bed, quietly say ‘it’s bedtime’ and put them back into bed.
Step 3 – If your child gets out of bed again, repeat step 2
Step 4 – If your child gets out of bed again, this time don’t say anything, don’t make eye contact, just put them back into bed and walk out.
Step 5 – If your child gets out of bed again, repeat step 4 as many times as is necessary.
If bedtime at your house has gotten out of control, you may find yourself in step 5 for an hour, or maybe even two, with lots of crying, pleading, and clever tactics coming from your toddler. Stay the course – BE CONSISTENT!! DO NOT DEVIATE no matter how long it takes. I promise you, if you will stay consistent, tomorrow night will take less time, the next night will be even less, and before you know it your toddler will have a wonderful, peaceful ending to his day and so will you.
By the way – do the exact same thing for naptime. Just make sure to establish a routine for nap, and then follow the same steps.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Supernanny Jo Frost – watch these short video clips to see how she teaches these two families to put this technique into action.
Just curious – what’s the bedtime routine at your house?