Your two-year-old is now more aware of himself/herself as well as the environment he/she inhabits. He/she is more enthusiastic to discover his/her surroundings and quite insistent on making his/her own decisions. Sometimes he/she might rub his/her eyes and give a great yawn, but still fight against falling asleep, and at other times he/she may become hyperactive and show no signs of sleepiness. Your youngster is happy to show his/her curiosity in the face of novelties and display his/her individuality. He/she doesn’t want to sleep for fear of the things he/she’ll miss and hates to go to sleep when his/her parents are still awake.
As your child tests his/her will against you; you still want him/her to stick to his/her bedtime since it is healthier and more beneficial to your child and you want some time to yourself and to spend time with your spouse. We have loving and affectionate suggestions on the subject.
SUGGESTION 1: Teach her to fall asleep on her own
Your child may fall asleep easier and have less interruptions to her sleep if she learns how to calm herself when she goes to bed or wakes up at night. You can start by establishing a bedtime routine consisting of built-in rituals. To give an example, the bedtime routine could include taking a bath, brushing her teeth, drinking milk and reading a book in bed before going to sleep. This routine will get your child ready for bed. You can accustom your child to falling asleep by himself/herself by telling her before you leave the room that you’ll be checking on him/her and giving him/her a kiss every five minutes.
Additional suggestion: Leave the child’s her room in stages (initially standing by his/her bedside, then by the door and lastly outside the door waiting for him/her to fall asleep), and using a soft toy that he/she can hug in her sleep as well as a soft night light to illuminate her surroundings could also prove to be helpful.
Furthermore, being prepared to accommodate your child’s pre-sleep habits could facilitate the process. Place a glass of water by his/her bedside, ask your child whether he/she would like to use the washroom again and add a few hugs to the good night kisses you give.
SUGGESTION 2: Draw the lines but let him/her make the choices
You can include him/her in your decisions regarding activities before bedtime. For example; he/she can choose the storybook you will read. You can offer him/her pajama alternatives and let him/her choose the one he/she wants to wear.
Additional suggestion: Offer at most two alternatives to choose from. It is important that both alternatives are acceptable to you. For example; don’t ask your child questions that you already know answers to, such as “Do you want to go to sleep now?” You may have to start the whole process from the beginning if he/she says “No”. Instead you can put the question to him/her as follows: “Do you want to go to sleep now or in 5 minutes?”
SUGGESTION 3: Move her to a bigger bed
After your child turns 3, the crib he/she has been using could start to feel small and confining. Moving him/her to a bigger bed both in width and length could make bedtime more interesting and comfortable. You can choose and buy his/her bed together; this may make him/her more enthusiastic in terms of sleeping in his/her own bed.
SUGGESTION 4: Keep calm and stand firm
If he/she reacts by crying, try to calm him/her down by talking to him/her in a soft tone of voice. Explain to him/her that it is bedtime and help him/her relax by talking to him/her. You can visit his/her room for short durations of time and then leave him/her by himself/herself again. If he/she continues to cry and scream, you can reduce the frequency of your visits to his/her room and each time you pay him/her a visit you could just talk and give a kiss to him/her and leave the room again.
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