You might fantasize about having a sleepy 1-year-old as the evening rolls around, but your little one probably has a different version in mind on how this scenario will play out. Counter that anti-bedtime attitude with some strategic, sleepy-time preparation, routines and activities. With some time and persistence, you can reduce the number of nighttime complaints and resistance.
Establishing a daily bedtime routine is useful if you want to avoid nightly bedtime meltdowns. If you continually implement an evening schedule and bedtime, it will signal to your 1-year-old’s body and mind to start prepping for sleep around the same time each day. For this sleep-inducing aspect to be successful, you must keep to a regular time and routine as much as you can. The nightly routine should also include a set of rules for yourself about limiting the times you go in to comfort and reassure your baby. Remember, it’s bedtime not playtime; calmly remind him of that. The KidsHealth website suggests making these reassuring trips short, uneventful and boring. If you’re just starting to establish a bedtime routine, don’t expect overnight result. Be patient and give it time.
You can’t expect your baby to go from exciting, upbeat activity to bedtime without fuss -- he needs time to wind down and relax. Start with some quiet activities, such as reading a book. A nighttime bath can help calm your baby, too.
You’d be hard put to find anything that can top Mommy snuggles when it comes to soothing and calming a child. Wrap you and your baby in a cozy blanket and snuggle him close. You can add an extra special treat by rocking him or calmly sing a lullaby.
Setting the sleepy-time mood can help get your little one ready for bed. Dim the lights and draw the curtains to prepare your child’s room. Putting on some relaxing kid’s music, fan or other white noise is more relaxing than complete silence. If you hear bothersome noise coming from other parts of the house, such as loud music from your teenager, you should turn those down to a lower level, too.
Not only will cozy jammies help relax your little one, having a bedtime buddy can encourage your child to snuggle up and prepare for sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests letting your child choose a doll, stuffed animal, blanket or other soft object for bedtime. These objects offer security and comfort.