Are there really little ones who go peacefully to sleep moments after you lie them down? Most kids seem to fight sleep as if their very lives depended on it. If your child is a bedtime resister, it's probably tempting to give in every now and then, and many parents do. But when a family's schedule requires a little night-owl to be up in the morning in time for daycare or preschool, that late bedtime has to give.
Circle of Moms member Lydia F. has been wrestling with this problem. Her 16-month-old daughter's bedtime has crept from 7pm to 10pm! She wants to know how to change a bedtime that's not optimal for the child or family, but still well-established.
1. Shift Bedtime or Wake-Up Time Gradually
Tyrae O. suggests the classic technique of slowly moving back bedtime by a half-hour each night, with five to seven days in between each half-hour shift. Brianna J. suggests a different approach: Wake the baby up closer to her former wake-up time, which, for Lydia's daughter, was 7am.
2. Make Nap Time Earlier or Eliminate It
There's also the possibility of cutting nap time back, or scheduling nap for earlier in the day, suggestions from Jodi A. and Lori L., respectively.
3. Tire Them Out with Physical Fun
My 28-month-old son was going to bed at 8pm — before we went on an overseas trip. Even five months after we returned, he still doesn't go to bed before 9:30 pm. We'd like to push it back to 8:30, and we're using the shorter days to help us. And we do our best to wear him out before bedtime!
We used to pick him up at preschool at 5pm, then come home, play a bit, eat dinner, have bath, and then go to bed. Now, instead of playing at home, we take him to the nearby schoolyard and let him run, climb, play and explore — for at least an hour. Now, he doesn't get dinner until 7pm, but by the time we go upstairs at 8pm, he's ready. Physical exhaustion and the darker evenings seem to be a winning combination.
4. Look for Your Child's "Sleep Window"
Still, Olin only sleeps about nine hours a night, a lot fewer than many kids his age. Lisa T. is in the same situation with her daughter, who has never been a long sleeper. She has given in to her daughter's schedule, figuring that she just doesn't need as much sleep as other toddlers.
Cassie H. also suggests that it's common for parents to miss a child's "sleep window," and bedtime should perhaps be much earlier than you currently have it. She tells the story of her own mother discovering, when she couldn't get her down before 8:30pm, that she was actually really tired during dinner at 7pm. So she bumped up dinner and put her to sleep when she showed the first signs of being tired.
One common denominator among moms who've dealt with this is: Routine is key. Once you find a routine that works for your family, stick with it!
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.