OK, so we may have dressed these tried and tested bedtime techniques up with slightly exaggerated names just for fun but that doesn’t mean they don’t work.
The aim, at this age, is to get your toddler falling asleep by themselves. There is no ‘right way’ to get there – if it works for you, it works.
At a glance
- Giving them options and control
- Follow your child's cues
- Encourage your little one to fall asleep by themselves
1. The evil genius technique
Around this age your toddler is looking to start asserting some control over their life and don't want to be told what to do all the time. It can help to give your little one options during the bedtime routine. The trick here is to keep the options limited to a couple of choices both of which are equally OK with you. Questions like these can help:
“Do you want to wear these PJs or these ones?”
“Do you want this book, or this one?”
“Do you want to go to bed now, or in five minutes?”
It helps toddlers to feel they are making some decisions in their little lives. (But they’re not really). Clever eh?
2. The hypnotist technique
This little technique’s all about keeping an eye on the clock. When your little one shows signs of being tired, note the time and make that their bedtime. Talk to them about the bedtime routine so that they understand it’s to help them. You may want to try ways to help them sleep longer at night either by waking them when you go to bed, cuddling, feeding them and putting them down again, or by making afternoon naps earlier or shorter. As always, this is about finding what works for you.
3. The Jedi mind control technique
At this age, it's a good idea to encourage them to learn to fall asleep on their own. There is no definitive age at which this happens but some techniques can help things along. The Jedi mind control technique is one of these but is a controversial one. The aim of this technique is to leave your toddler in the cot when they are sleepy but still awake enough to help them adjust to falling asleep on their own. If they cry, the idea is to go back into the room; explain gently but firmly that it’s time to go to sleep. Reassure them with a gentle pat on the back, but avoid picking them up. And leave the room again. If they continue to cry, the technique suggests you wait five minutes and repeat the process. Continue but leave longer gaps between going back into the room. This technique can also be used to help settle little ones back to sleep when they wake in the night.