There are several nap transitions during toddlerhood: your toddler will transition from two naps to one at around 15-18 months. Naps will (sadly) come to an abrupt end sometime between three and four years of age, and your child is now – theoretically – ready to sleep through a whole night (Also watch How Much Sleep Do Newborns Need?). As the word ‘’theoretically’’ might imply, its not all that simple. What do you do if your little one has become a professional bedtime staller? One more glass of milk, one more kiss and one more bedtime story – you get the idea.
Do not despair: we made it through it to the other side, and we are here to share our tale:
1. Institute a regular habit of a pre-bedtime count down, as one of the worst things you could do is to surprise your professional negotiator with a sudden cut off to all fun there is left to be had while being awake. Instead, start about 30 minutes before you plan to begin the bedtime routine. Also read Sleeping should be as high a priority as food for kids – are your kids sleeping enough?
2. Make a habit out of using the word ‘’goodnight’’ as the above process is well underway. Goodnight to the toothbrush, goodnight to the potty, goodnight to the cat, the books and toys – remind him or her that it’s a night-night for everyone in the household and it may help them to feel better about going to sleep. Children suffer from what social media (on an adult plane) has labelled as the fear of missing out, and as opposed to us image conscious reserved grown-ups they aren’t afraid of expressing it.
3. Be a little flexible and on instances when the process is extra lengthy, strike a small deal. Maybe you can agree that as long as they stay in bed and don’t call for you, they can listen to music or quietly play with some sleepy toys? This is a technique that works best for older toddlers who can communicate verbally and who have reasoning skills. Your skills in the art of negotiation will come in handy during the ‘’verbal years’’, and you’ll soon become quite the diplomat. Finally – while most toddlers are genuinely tired at bedtime but stall nevertheless due to sheer force of habit, other toddlers might be stalling because they simply aren’t tired at all. UAE weather permitting it is worth to add an al fresco activity to their afternoon – leave the iPad behind and go for a good old-fashioned walk or have a play in the garden or on the beach. Some creativity might be required from your end at first, but you’ll find the efforts will be rewarded when the amount of pre bedtime negotiations is cut in half.